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The Hard Skills Precede the Soft Skills for BAs

You may have noticed that I value soft skills (BA Fundamentals) very highly. The ability to work with (and at the highest levels, influence and negotiate with) people is a key success factor for senior BAs that the CBAP test cannot measure directly, but the world will always measure first.

I call on IIBA education providers to step up to this challenge – people classes are harder to do well, and look pretty flaky when done well, but they work (witness Dale Carnegie’s ongoing success, in spite of their “flaky” program).

In the meantime, soft skills without BA hard skills do not result in good BA practice. Promotions, recognition, a chance to jump to the next project before the first has collapsed, yes. Good BA practice, no.

This month is pure hard skill (thanks to blogger John Dean last month for an excellent presentation of the “sky level” overview of the problems I am presenting, and the importance of solving them).

In prior months we looked at a stakeholder type of breakdown (i.e., a top down analysis). We got individuals, businesses, governments, non-profit/non-government, and a sense of what they wanted (hire, do business, enforce the law, etc.).

There were still too many questions (what do you do if DNA is planted at a crime scene?) and too many gaps in understanding (all stakeholders need to identify employees when they hire them – what is the same, what is different).

The proposal for a new technical approach (i.e., in this case a bottom up analysis) is to move away from stakeholders for the moment, and consider actual identity transactions. Then we will see if any structure suggests itself when we consider the detailed transactions (did I say bottom up?).

There is no easy precedent for this analysis: it is huge. If anyone can suggest a technique for organizing the following list, I will try it out next month. Otherwise, I will do what I want, so there!

Here is one brainstorm – by the way, I think I’m smarter than my readers – prove me wrong!

How well does your brain compare with mine – what important transactions did we miss? What are the categories or structure we can use to organize this unruly list?

Identify a qualified BA (the CBAP is the current standard – are you helping to set it)?

  • Cross a Hostile Border
  • Cross a Welcoming Border
  • Cross a Border at some level of gradation in between (is there any set of statuses that is simpler than the exponential combinations of relations between individual countries)?
  • Identify a friend in person Identify a friend remotely Identify an enemy in person
  • Identify an enemy remotely
  • Identify family for daily stuff
  • Identify family for inheritance stuff
  • Identify the owner of an object
  • Identify the owner of non-physical property
  • Identify DNA at a crime scene
  • Identify the actual criminal regardless of DNA, which is portable
  • Paternity
  • Maternity (an issue for modern procreation, no doubt)
  • Buy candy
  • Buy cigarettes or alcohol
  • Buy medical marijuana
  • Buy stocks
  • Set up a trust
  • Create a will Identify a conspiracy group
  • Perform Identity theft
  • Counter Identity theft
  • Perform successful witness protection
  • Hide from an abuser
  • Identify an abuser
  • Control or prevent spam, viruses, worms, spyware, etc.
  • Hire a janitor
  • Hire an FBI agent
  • Hire a fast food worker
  • Hire a dockworker
  • Hire a government worker
  • Hire a CEO
  • Hire a doctor/nurse/health provider/hospital
  • Hire a CIA worker
  • Hire a CIA spy
  • Hire a black budget spy
  • Hire a president, congressman, etc.
  • Hire a police officer, detective, TSA screener
  • Buy weapons at a swap meet
  • Trade weapons for drugs on the street
  • Obtain permit to own a weapon
  • Obtain permit to carry a concealed weapon
  • Obtain permit to use a weapon in public with backing from law enforcement (this is NOT just cops)
  • Give blood
  • Give sperm
  • Adopt a child
  • Put a child up for adoption
  • Be convicted of a crime
  • Be acquitted of a crime
  • Be left in limbo re: a crime (mistrial, hung jury, never charged, never caught) omigod.

What are the categories, if any?

What did I leave out (participate in a one night stand? – follow-up one night stand if VD is detected?).

If you can’t think about this, you may be struggling with what you are working on – test yourself! ©

©2008 Marcos Ferrer