Paul's Interview at the Building Capabilities Conference
Regarding his presentation at Building Business Capability in Orlando, Nov. 6-10, 2017, Paul answers questions about transforming the business. Check out this interview in relation to his BBC presentation entitled, Fail Fast — Fail Safe! — League of Analysts Inc.
Q: In what ways do you help your client organizations handle business transformation?
A: For four years in a row Bob the BA has been rated one of the best business analyst speakers and trainers at conferences around the globe with training and workshops that are engaging, offbeat and insightful. At Bob the BA we offer training courses that are flexible, focused & affordable business analyst training. Bob the BA helps you perform an assessment of your organization’s current state and to build a strategic map forward. We create a customized training experience that focuses on your organization’s needs and cut out the fluff you don’t need. With a fresh new modern approach to Business Analysis, your team will be empowered to reach its goals more effectively with onsite, virtual, and our new product launching at BBC 2017 in Orlando. Look for our booth at BBC and don’t miss Bob’s spotlight presentation!
Q: Can you describe the challenges you face or have already overcome in establishing more robust business transformation capabilities for your clients?
A: Strategic Enterprise analysis is a big hurdle to overcome. Strategic Enterprise Analysis is taking the business problem or opportunity and understanding more fully and deeply to develop rich robust and innovative solutions. Most Organizations projects start with a project charter that summarizes the goal or problem being faced but rarely gives insight into root-causes or current situations. Scope confusion immediately starts for the project. Implementing a Strategic Enterprise Analysis approach allows projects to start off stronger and finish faster because it gets the business and IT on the same page before the project even starts. It also builds more reliable financial models to help determine which projects in the portfolio are the most important. Business Analysts play a fundamental role in being strategic and in developing project scope in a more meaningful way with Strategic Enterprise Analysis.
Q: What are your top suggestions for companies looking to become more agile?
A: Agile comes in many flavors, and one size doesn’t fit all. At Bob the BA we believe in helping your organization to adopt those agile techniques and processes that work best in your organization by providing assessment, training, and coaching. Assessment of which methods work best for your organization is a great start down the path to a more productive Agile experience.
Q: What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned in the past year?
A: You hear it all the time in Silicon Valley. Fail fast, fail often! While it appears to be nothing more than a slogan, this approach to business is based on the experimental learning theory of David Kolb and others who have done significant research into the area of how we learn and why we learn. Emerging business world is the approach that projects aren’t just about getting stuff delivered. They are about innovation and learning to bring about real business value.
Q: What do you see as the most important goal or trend for business analysts and other professionals to keep in mind?
A: Project Management, Business Analysis, and Strategic Enterprise Analysis are on a path of changing into more core competencies that must be understood by the whole team. In today’s flexible environments rigid roles of Project Manager and Business Analyst are fading away. Individuals are taking on multiple roles in the same project or multiple roles across multiple projects. People that can perform well in multiple disciplines such as Project Management and Business Analysis will be more valuable to organizations and equipped to create meaningful organizational change. Significant changes in individual autonomy will become a higher priority to address
Another key trend is micro deliverables. These deliverables for a project or initiative are the smallest possible amount of work that can be done to deliver a capability for an organization. These micro deliverables can be picked up by almost any members of the team to move the project forward. This technique sheds traditional roles completely. Micro deliverables are easier for organizations to handle in development, testing, and implementation. Critical to making micro deliverables work is a more comprehensive level of planning by taking capabilities and breaking them down into smaller features, functions, and sub-functions or by taking a user story and breaking down even further into very fine or small deliverables. The trick is to make sure your long terms strategy never leaves your sight so that small changes don’t take on a life of their own and begin to deliver capabilities outside of the organization’s vision.
Q: What’s the latest method/process/tool you’ve implemented to help your client’s business operate more effectively? Have you seen any results yet?
A: Bob the BA provides training and coaching on over 100 techniques. Our most popular are the context diagram and hot air balloon techniques. Context diagrams provide an excellent way to visualize scope and communication more efficiently on the extent of a project or initiative. It’s been very successful in the organizations that have adopted it. Requirements prioritization technique called hot air balloon in a very popular way to collaboratively prioritize requirements and work. Clients love the interaction and how quickly a prioritized list can be generated.
Q: If you could go back five years in time and give some professional insight or advice to yourself, what would it be?
A: Think visually and be flexible with all types of methodology. Human beings can read and understand a picture in 1/10th of a second. Not only is an image more easily understood, but it can also be more memorable. Creating documents that are more visual speeds collaboration by getting the team on the same page. Flexibility with methodologies allows you to pick and choose the best techniques and approaches for a specific project and your organizations work flow. Taking a technique from one methodology and combining it with another is perfectly fine. You don’t need to go hog wild on the latest methodology. Never stop striving to find a process that works better for your organization to deliver business value.
Q: What’s one question you wished you were asked in this interview but were not? And how would you answer?
A: What new surprising product is being launched by Bob the BA this fall at BBC? Well, I can’t tell you, but you can swing by our booth at BBC and hear the announcement first hand!
Q: Please tell us a takeaway that you provided during your talk at the Building Business Capability (BBC) conference this year?
A: Be fearless – we learn from failure more than success. Be safe – create a soft landing when you aren’t sure of success. Be Innovative – create solutions that transform organizations.