Badass BA Techniques

The Skeptical Business Analyst – 9 Tools to Build a Baloney Detection Kit

The Skeptical Business Analyst – 9 Tools to Build a Baloney Detection Kit

Skeptical is a highly-charged word. Are you skeptical? In business being skeptical is akin to being a nay-sayer, difficult to work with, not being a team player or a trouble maker. Skeptical does not need to be destructive or negative. You do not have to be a jerk to be skeptical. Skeptical can mean looking at things with a critical eye respectfully and politely to create thoughtful and meaningful discussions to elicit business requirements and build business solutions.

Spring Has Sprung

Spring Has Sprung

The first day of spring is March 20th.  The whole world seems to wake up and bring forth green grass and colorful flowers.  Spring just seems to be the time of renewal and of rebirth. Do you find yourself thinking about summer?  Or do you start thinking about your career development?

Watch Bob's TED Talk

Watch Bob's TED Talk

Bob's "TED Talk" from IIBA Minneapolis - St Paul Chapter's Professional Development Day on September 2016.  Find out how Blooms, Balloons, and Beatles work to make you a better business analyst in a career that is constantly under siege and changing.  Bob is a highly respected business analysis and leadership speaker at North American conferences and this video shows you why. Watch it today to Think, Learn and Work Differently.

You Suck – And That’s Good

You Suck – And That’s Good

No one wins a gold medal without practice.  You don’t just pop out of the womb with the ability to throw a discus or javelin to new world record lengths.  Of course a natural talent in that DNA of yours helps, but in the end, it takes practice and time.  The same applies to business analysis or any other skill.  It takes time, experience and practice to be the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree.  Nobody created a perfect context diagram or process flow the first time they did it.  We all started from the place of not knowing and started learning.

Scope Visualization and Pablo Picasso

Scope Visualization and Pablo Picasso

Scope – the last frontier.  We are on a mission where no business analyst has gone before.  To explore strange new diagrams and to have the project scope clearly understood.  Extra credit to those who remember which TV show that was from!  Scope and context are the number one reason business expectations about a project are not met and projects fail. The business wanted a global CRM solution but all they got were pigeons and index cards. Yeah that is why context is important.

Adaptability: Creating Transforming Understanding

Adaptability: Creating Transforming Understanding

Helping others understand your role as a Business Analysts has many benefits.  Primarily it helps you work together with other roles in your organization more effectively.  This was outlined in my previous blog, so I won’t go into a lot of detail here about being adaptable. 

Adaptability: Walking in Someone Else’s Shoes

Adaptability: Walking in Someone Else’s Shoes

To learn more about someone, you need to walk in a mile in their shoes.  Or so the old proverb goes.  Well hopefully not literally walking in someone’s shoes.  I know there are a few pairs of shoes I wouldn’t want to walk in like Bomb Disposal, Neuro Surgery or Manure Spreader.  Walking in the shoes of Broadway Singer, Best Selling Author, and Sci-Fi Geek is more my style. What that proverb is really saying is that if you really want to know and understand someone you need to walk in their shoes or at least follow them around in a non-stalker this-won’t-get-a-restraining-order-put-on-me sort of way.

Scope Visualization: Moving to the Same Beat

Scope Visualization:  Moving to the Same Beat

That beautiful context diagram you created is truly a work of art.  The color, shapes and words all carefully chosen and displayed like the Mona Lisa in Louvre Museum in Paris.  As the old story goes, “You’ll have to forgive me I’m in a hurry – I’m double parked outside the Louvre”.  If you are the least bit French, you’ll get it.  It’s always faster, faster and even faster these days.  So how do you communicate project scope or context in a world where everyone has a 3 second attention span?

Collaborating Large and Small – Sharing Knowledge Far and Wide

Collaborating Large and Small – Sharing Knowledge Far and Wide

Being a good collaborator means sharing the knowledge you have gained, lesson learned and how you overcame roadblocks.  Sharing our knowledge gives our colleagues a leg up so they can learn from our success and failures.  How can you be a better at sharing your ideas to get buy-in and agreement?  Sharing is caring!

Fail Fast - Fail Safe

Fail Fast - Fail Safe

In business we are told from the very first day on the job that failure is bad.  Avoiding failure is more important than succeeding and we go to great lengths to avoid it.  We put ourselves into a make believe world where no mistakes can be made and we over work ourselves to the point of exhaustion all in the name of 'not failing'.  Deluded in the belief that failure isn’t an option, we are at a loss on how to handle failure.  How can we fail but still succeed?

Measure What Matters: Sensible Measurements and Metrics

Measure What Matters: Sensible Measurements and Metrics

We love to measure things.  How many steps we take in a day, how many emails we have in our inbox, how many miles to work, how long it took to commute and the weather. But do those measurements have meaning?  Are they adding value?  Let chat about metrics and business analysis.

Transparent Collaboration: Becoming a Learning Team

Transparent Collaboration:  Becoming a Learning Team

We get busy.  So many details are flying around that cubicle.  Knowledge and information gets gathered up into emails and files on hard disks.  The amount of information that we human beings produce on a daily basis is staggering.  So how can we collaborate and share information within our teams and with our stakeholders more effectively?

Being a Minimalist - Minimal Viable People

Being a Minimalist - Minimal Viable People

As business analysts we face the question when setting up a meeting for discussion or decisions: “Who really needs to be here?  Who has the power to make the decision?”.  Good communication and effective meetings require those questions to be asked but that invitee list could wind up being hundreds of people in a large organization.  If you are looking for a specific decision to be made on a specific issue or capability, then getting the meeting down to a small core team is important in order to ensure the decision is being made quickly.  This is where Minimally Viable People comes into the picture.  Minimally Viable People is the concept that a small group performs better by making decisions with higher quality while being representative of the larger group.

Maximize the Minimal – Minimally Viable Deliverables

Maximize the Minimal – Minimally Viable Deliverables

Being required to produce documents that create massive information bloat and don’t add value is frustrating as it slow projects down and creates additional project cost that isn’t needed.  It’s a headache for Project Manager, Business Analyst and everyone on the team.  What information or deliverables do we really need for the project but that won’t bury us in information overload.