Leadership & Management

Jun 13, 2021
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Culture determines how people behave. If you want to change behaviour, you have to look to changing the culture. This is the story of how we changed the culture of a team of business analysts.

We inherited this team; they worked in an organisation where the culture was pretty poor. People were uninterested in their work. They resented the time they spent at work; they cheated on timecards; they simply did not do any work whenever they thought they could get away with it. Naturally enough, performance and productivity were abysmal.

Jan 03, 2021
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Is there a hidden pitfall in your business analysis efforts? Could unconscious bias be reducing your effectiveness as a business analyst?  Consider a meeting when someone from a different cultural background is quiet throughout the meeting.  We can easily favor more talkative participants and overlook the individual’s contributions in the process. 

Nov 29, 2020
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I could not help but observe in awe the agility of this monstrous wing. My mind could not stop analyzing how an airplanes uses the agility of its wings to control the pressure of the air that flows through them and manipulates the latter to enable it to navigate its journey into the skies.  The aeroplane does not change the physical or scientific formation of the air, but it changes its wings to adapt to this natural phenomenon. How intriguing. Adaption. Agility. 

Oct 25, 2020
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This article first provides a reference for defining small businesses. It then, focuses on two aspects of business analysis for a small business: Strategic Planning and Requirements Management. I use a graphic note-taking technique called Mind-Mapping to set the BA context for this article and then pursue the above questions for small businesses.

I am sure we have all heard the cliché, “size matters.” So let’s start with why does size matter for business. 

Aug 09, 2020
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It is strange how something that is supposed to be simple is actually so complex.  Something that is supposed to be a matter of linear career progression can actually end up in a state of a continuous loop, with no way of terminating such a loop.  A point of stagnation and frustration. This is a quandary facing many intermediate business analysts. They do not know how to shift gears and move one notch up and be senior business analysts - who play a strategic role in helping their business stakeholders bring their strategies to life through the right initiatives.

Jul 12, 2020
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I spent a lot of time in the past half-century doing software work: requirements, design, user experience, programming, testing, project management, writing documentation, process improvement leadership, writing 7 books and many articles, consulting, and training. Sure, there were some side trips along the way,.... But basically I’m a software guy. Over all that time, I’ve accumulated numerous insights about the software business. Here I offer 66 of those lessons. Perhaps you’ll find them as helpful as I have.

May 11, 2020
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The COVID-19 crisis is reshaping businesses and livelihoods, and seasoned and new BAs alike have an unparalleled opportunity to put their analytical skills to great use. Whether you are still employed, or has been laid off or furloughed, now--while we navigate the pandemic crisis—is a good time to demonstrate the value of business analysis and the contributions you can bring to your current or future employer. Here are three examples of how you can accomplish that.


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Everyone’s crazy busy when you’re launching a new project, and taking the time to study existing bodies of knowledge doesn’t seem like real work. However, “doing nothing” while you examine the lessons of the past is a high-yield investment in your own future. An overconfident project manager, in contrast, will rely solely on personal experience, memories, and the team members’ intelligence and experience to weather any crisis and master any challenge. Hubris, arrogance, and cockiness aren’t solid foundations for project success.
Mar 29, 2020
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As the pandemic continues to upend life around the world, data, big and small, takes a central role in mobilizing the right efforts to prevent a much greater calamity. And as people and organizations face unprecedented hardships, business analysts, data scientists, and data analysts are going to be integral to the solution. We have the skills that the world is counting on to arm our leaders with the best possible information as they are tasked with making immediate choices, allocating resources, and anticipating the next obstacles to overcome.

Mar 01, 2020
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Has society become so unimaginative in the products, services, organisations and societies that we choose to create? Have we started giving up on ‘inspiration’ and ‘excitement’ as values with the way in which we create schools, workplaces and organizational cultures? My personal belief is that Business Analysts are ideally and uniquely positioned by make an incredible and positive difference in the world.

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In Part 1 of this series John Seddon argued that Agile, as practiced, is bereft of knowledge, hence its ubiquitous failure. Here he argues that ‘get knowledge’ is the starting-place for effective change.

Part 2: Knowledge: the prerequisite for profound change

It may seem heretical to suggest that we make change without knowledge, but, as Deming pointed out, experience is not equivalent to knowledge; you can spend 20 years in an organisation without knowing how to change it for the better. Leaders, clients and stakeholders describe requirements or problems to solve on the basis of their current world view, governed by information from their current control systems, but what if their world view is flawed? What if there are bigger and different problems to solve?

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This question has been asked several times before, and various answers have been advanced to settle this matter. A short answer is ‘Yes’. But, unfortunately, this answer is not good enough to the ‘naysayers’, who think a business analyst has no place in Agile teams.  To answer this question in a long way, we have to take the bull by its horns and talk about the elephant in the room. This article is an attempt to contribute to this ongoing debate. Whether you agree with me or not (as I tackle this elephant in the room), the truth is - this argument is apposite and has to be had.

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John Seddon launches an attack on the value of Agile as practiced and charts a better way to analyse and design for improvement, making information technology the last thing to be concerned with, not the first.
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Estimation is a chronically thorny issue for software practitioners. Most people need to prepare estimates for the work they do, but in our industry we don’t do a great job of estimation. In this article I offer six safety tips to keep in mind as you prepare estimates for your project and for your individual work... These six safety tips might not help you create estimates that all of your customers, managers, and coworkers will dance to, but at least they will help you and your team hear the same music.

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Learning about mental models and how to apply them to their work is one of the best investments for business analysts interested in achieving the level of deep thinking that leads to better outcomes for their projects and organizations.
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