Business analysis: focus on creating business value

IIBA_LEYSOn June 30 we flew with the business analyst team of USG ICT Professionals to Geneva to attend the BAFS 2014 Symposium. An international conference on business analysis organized by IIBA France and IIBA Geneva.

Of course we were teased by well-known speakers like Kevin Brennan and Kathleen Hass, but we appreciated as well a lot of other presenters on a variety of BA topics.

For me, the most important presentation was the one given by Kevin Brennan on the new BABOK v3. I like the idea that the role of the business analyst is restored by IIBA from pure ‘solution requirements manager’ to ‘business value creator’. This is reflected in the new BABOK: the focus is now on creating business value!

However, nowadays most organizations consider the business analyst as a requirements engineer only: the person who is responsible for trying to find out what a solution should be capable of and how the solution should look like.

This is definitely a missed opportunity and a waste of talent: many organizations involve the business analyst not to define the problem or business opportunity, but to design the solution only.

I am interested to know about your experience. Does this sound familiar? Are you involved in defining the business problem or opportunity? How would you persuade top management to get the BA on board much earlier in the decision process?

For those interested in de BAFS2014 presentation slides, they are available on slideshare:
The program:




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3 reasons why you should read the BABOK

Recently, the International Institute of Business Analysis launched a new review version (3.0) of the BABOK, the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge. A body of knowledge is a reference work containing the core knowledge of a profession. Google ‘body of knowledge’ and you are likely to find hundreds of search results: PM BOK, APMP BOK, BPM CBOK etc.

Value for business analysts

Let’s be clear about it: no body of knowledge (I will use the acronym ‘BOK’ from here) is ever going to make it to the Amazon top 100 bestsellers. Difficulty to fall asleep at night? Try reading the BABOK and the sleep hormone melatonin in your body will rise like never before. Any BOK is dull by nature, just because it contains so much information on almost a back of a napkin. Despite the ‘dullness’, the BABOK is still a very valuable document for us business analysts. Here are 3 reasons why you business analyst should read the BABOK.

Reviewed by experts

First, the BABOK is the result of a democratic process written and reviewed by business analysis professionals, therefore it has authority. A simple research which involved counting the names of the BABOK 2.0 version contributors revealed the following result: A Body of Knowledge Committee of 9 people, 24 content contributors, 17 expert advisors and reviewers, 67 practitioner reviewers and 9 supporting contributors. You are not likely to find any other book on business analysis with so many authors and reviewers.

Benchmark with other professionals

The BABOK describes the commonly accepted scope of business analysis work. For us business analysis professionals, this enables benchmarking of our own BA activities with the BA work performed by other BA professionals worldwide. Example: are you mainly involved with requirements elicitation? Then you might be interested in reading the part on elicitation and on the tasks and techniques commonly used by your peers. An opportunity for learning if you find a gap between the common knowledge and your own experience.

If you are not a member of IIBA yet, the BABOK might be your entry point to the wealth of resources IIBA is offering through its website. That is how I got started with my IIBA journey. IIBA membership comes with free webinars, articles, access to the online book library and even an online BA competency assessment tool. What I also find particularly useful is the monthly newsletter with BA tips and new insights. It reminds me every time of my duty as a business analyst: never stop learning and exploring new things!

Convinced of the value of the BABOK? Not a member of IIBA yet? Then your starting point might be review version 3.0. Access it here

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