11 Tips from Business Analysis Superheroes
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Meet our Business Analysis Superheroes from IIBA’s webinars, Why Business Analysts Wear Capes and Why Business Analysts Wear Capes Part 2: The Unsung Heroes. These individuals represent some of the amazing work being done by our business analysis community. In an open-ended question session, we asked participants to share their tips for dealing with change during COVID-19 and upvote their favourite responses. Below are 11 tips based on those responses and the experiences of our four guest speakers on rethinking your business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adrielle Houweling, Business Analyst,
Canadian Centre for Computational Genomics (C3G) at McGill University and Calcul Québec, and volunteer Business Analyst, COVID-19 Resources Canada
Lavanya Reddy, Lead Business System Analyst,
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Dayne Benjamin, Senior Business Analyst,
Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA)
Kevin Crampton, Business Analyst,
World Health Organization (WHO)
1. Moving from Waterfall environment to Agile
during the pandemic more organizations are moving to an agile decision-making model that supports rapid change. Lavanya Reddy, Business Analyst Lead at UNC at Charlotte found switching to Agile was necessary for a comprehensive approach to identify and implement effective ways to achieve de-densification on campus when welcoming students back to classes in the fall of 2020.
2. Simplify terminology
Using non-business analysis terminology to educate business teams that are unfamiliar with business analysis. Adrielle Houweling from the McGill Genome Center in Montreal and a volunteer with COVID-19 Resources Canada, a group for researchers and clinicians fighting COVID-19 in Canada, found she needed to simplify business analysis terminology when working with researchers, scientists, clinicians, and other professionals not familiar with business analysis and its terminology. On a side note, since Adrielle started volunteering with COVID-19 Resources Canada the group has hired a business analyst on staff to support ongoing work.
3. Leverage the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK® Guide)
to create a standardized approach. IIBA members can easily search for business analysis techniques using the digital edition of BABOK Guide.
4. Defining project scope
start less and finish more! This was the top-rated thought from the open-ended question. Start by setting expectations early in the process to ensure everyone is aware of the timeline expectations and their responsibilities uploaded in an easy to find location. Align on key priorities and build a better [product] by focusing on requirements.
5. The evolution of the practice
COVID-19 has meant the business is open to more rapid changes in order to respond to a continuously changing situation. This allows business analysis professionals to be empowered by Agile - to respond and adjust, continue, and adjust.
6. Being a trusted partner
to the lines of business and stakeholders. COVID-19 has created immediacy giving business analysis professionals the opportunity to demonstrate value, accelerate the process, and move conversations forward.
30% of communication is non-verbal cues. When you can’t meet face to face or see the person’s body language and other visual cues, listening is more critical. Use context-based conversations to paint a picture of the user’s needs to understand their goals, the problem, the opportunity and the desired results.
Empathy allows you to better understand the right solution for a particular situation. Kevin Crampton, Business Analyst at the World Health Organization (WHO) said working on project delivery for emergency response in the Democratic Republic of the Congo during Ebola, the technology solutions developed in the WHO offices didn’t work the same in the field. While Ebola was a top priority for the WHO, individuals in the DR Congo didn’t see it as their top priority on their list of concerns due to a number of factors including political unrest and low resources. It was important when in person to listen to the citizens' priorities and adapt the solution when testing in the field. Could they use an app? Could they easily charge their devices? Did the touch screen work in wet conditions? These were just a few of the questions the team had to explore with the users in the field.
9. Redesigning the process
There’s a level of agility and proactivity that COVID-19 has introduced to the business analysis role across all industries because existing processes simply do not work as-is. Dayne Benjamin, Senior Business Analyst at the GTAA (Greater Toronto Airport Authority) shared how the airport had to look at the public’s experience going through the airport with new health controls in place to identify which process changes needed to be made (again, agile).
Interviewing stakeholders has changed during COVID-19. In the open-ended question participants shared the following methods for gathering information including whiteboarding, video, chats in tools like Microsoft Teams, email, break-out rooms online, diagrams, flows, visuals, shared docs, phone, shorter meetings, one-on-one meetings, detailed meeting agendas and pre-work, and informal chat to get more information, and brainstorming and mind mapping to organize information. The use of visual models and context-based conversations have become the best approaches during the pandemic and going forward for elicitation and analysis.
11. Defining Capabilities
Asking the line of business to identify capabilities is critical. What is it? How can you close the gap between current as-is and to-be? Trace back the initiative to the organization’s goals. Why are you doing it? Is it aligned with business objectives? What resources, strategy is needed to realize the goal?
The underlying theme of the above advice is to focus on people through good communication to resolve business challenges. If you are dealing with technology challenges, ensure the technology solutions are helping solve problems and not creating new ones. Staff need to understand how to use software and understand how it can address their problem to be effective. Listening to the user’s goals, understanding in what context the solution will be used, learning about the user’s journey, and identifying the desired results are what’s important.
What are you doing differently during COVID? Are you managing business disruptions like a superhero? Tell us on social using #WhyBusinessAnalystsWearCapes
Watch the recording of the webinars here: