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Book Report: Business Analysis and Leadership: Influencing Change by Penny Pullan and James Archer

By Maureen McVey, CBAP, Head of Learning and Development, IIBA
Business analysts are often referred to as “change agents” and business analysis plays an important part in any change initiative. Business Analysis and Leadership: Influencing Change encourages business analysts to take a leadership role in managing change by analyzing the current state and using innovation to work strategically toward the future state.
This book consists of 26 chapters in four parts. Each part covers leadership for the business analyst based on a different context, with an opinion piece written by different authors. For example, Part I “Leadership of Self”, covers the skills needed by a BA and introduces the reader to “the cultivator business analyst” who is a BA that: 
  • challenges;
  • teases out issues;
  • anticipates change in the organization and the marketplace; and
  • overcomes resistance. 
This statement sums it up nicely: “'cultivator business analysts' need a lot more courage than their 'hunter-gatherer' predecessors. They frequently debate sensitive subjects at a senior level. They probe current functionality and infrastructure, asking lots of 'Why?' questions. They actively listen for what's not being said, as much as for what they are being told.”
I like the opinion piece in Part I, “Are You Waiting to be Anointed?” in which Joseph Da Silva discusses the value of business analysis and how to promote the role. Leadership includes promoting the value of business analysis within your organization, even if you are doing it alone.
Part II, “Leadership Within Your Project”, covers the role of the BA in projects with helpful information about dealing with difficult stakeholders, discovering the essence of the problem, and visual thinking, among other topics.
“Leadership Within Your Organization” is Part III. These chapters are relevant for many of us in business analysis who are now, more than ever, working in global and virtual teams. My favourite topic is covered in this section, “Dealing with Power and Politics”. This section provides valuable information for anyone new to an organization or for anyone looking to enhance his/her strategic thinking and approach to internal relationships.
Part IV, “Leadership in the Wider World” addresses becoming a thought leader and contributing to the broader community by volunteering. There are many opportunities for you to contribute to the wider community—speaking at an IIBA® conference or volunteering at your local chapter. Many of you have contributed to the development of IIBA’s A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK® Guide) v3.
This book is certainly worth bookmarking in the IIBA Online Library. Each part, chapter or opinion piece can be read on its own without losing context, and this provides a convenient text to access when looking for advice.
The IIBA Online Library is one of the most popular member benefits with over 300 books at the click of a mouse. Visit the library today