At Info-Tech’s LIVE member conference in Las Vegas last November, I had the chance to sit down with Jared Gorai and the team from the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA). It was a great time to catch up and see not only what the last year had brought them but more importantly what their plans and concerns are for the future. IIBA is the only association dedicated to supporting the discipline of business analysis. It offers a comprehensive body of knowledge (the BABOK® Guide) as well as practitioner support, local chapters, and certifications.
As in most organizations, the adoption of business analysis practices in Agile has been a challenging cultural change according to Jared and team, particularly since bad Agile tends to remove the business analyst or any analysis out of the sprints in favor of speed over quality.
One of the reasons for this is that every project is approached slightly differently and we’re not seeing full lifecycle tools. IIBA has addressed part of this concern with the release of the Agile Extension to the BABOK® Guide, which provides a framework to help practitioners understand the role of the BA in Agile teams rather than being prescriptive in its approach, as not all practitioners tackle the same problem in the same way.
IIBA continues to see a lack of consistency in the work that's being done and the struggles for its members who are trying to translate many techniques and best practices into shorter cycles and much smaller pieces of work. The key to resolving this has become proper requirements planning so that the same amount of work can be broken into a series of sprints that allows design development and testing forward while the BA works on future epics and stories.
Another focus for the organization is supporting senior practitioners. Organizations often focus all their effort on new and junior users and struggle to provide a value proposition to power users. Certification provides value for career advancement and mobility, but how can the organization provide support and value to individuals who have already mastered the body of knowledge? In Agile fashion, IIBA will pilot changes this year to see where it can provide value to this audience.
This mirrors a concern for many organizations as well. Organizations need to provide opportunities for mastery and growth, or they will lose their top talent. Mentoring and coaching programs allow senior practitioners to develop management skills and open up future leadership opportunities within their organization. For some practitioners, there has always been a value in being able to contribute content to IIBA, whether it’s through updates to the body of knowledge, articles, or webinars.
The final area of interest was the ongoing discussion on supporting not only techniques but also tools. With increasing speed and delivery, requirements management tools are critical to the success of your development effort and are also part of your strategic toolchain. Jared and team agreed that they are not seeing any full lifecycle tools that really address the needs of the business analyst and product owners as well as all downstream delivery activities. They continue to work with tool vendors to ensure requirements management tools align to their best practices and recommendations, which leads to an increase in adoption for the tool vendors as well. This is an example of an organization finding an extension to their value proposition that doesn't conflict with its value realization. By helping vendors in the space become more successful, IIBA is supporting the members and their continued growth.
Build a Strong Approach to Business Requirements Gathering: Poor requirements are the number one reason that projects fail – take a strategic approach to optimizing requirements gathering in order to give the business what it needs.
Build a Strong Foundation for Quality: Drive product satisfaction by validating and verifying quality throughout your delivery pipeline.
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