Want to be an IIBA Board Director? Learn More About What That Really Means…
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Being on the Board of IIBA has been an interesting, challenging, and rewarding experience. When I was elected in 2016, I had never been on a governance Board before, so everything was new to me. I was nominated because the Board always wants directors who are IIBA members and experienced business analysis practitioners as part of the Board composition. IIBA sets term limits for directors in its by-law so the Board is looking for new directors to represent the membership in the coming years and I wanted to share my experience with any Member who might be interested in this volunteer role.
Governance: What does this really mean?
I had heard the word “governance” used many times before I was elected to the Board but didn’t really understand its meaning. There are many descriptions of governance with respect to Boards, but most don’t give great examples or really help to explain the process. Using the word “governance” is a bit deceptive because our Board is not governing the IIBA; we don’t make its laws or rules, we don’t decide how work gets done. Before you consider volunteering for a governance Board, try to imagine your involvement.
Governance is Really About Oversight, Not Management
As a director at IIBA you will not be telling the CEO or staff what they should be doing. You are not there to give the staff ideas for new products or better member services (although they may ask for ideas, and you may be involved in some of these kinds of discussions). You are not helping them run the organization or giving suggestions on the next version of the BABOK® Guide or suggesting changes to the certification renewal process. Effectively you “do” very little. You review operating and financial reports, you ask questions, and you discuss your impressions with the other directors. Your job is not to run IIBA but to make sure the CEO and staff are running it well – not necessarily running it the way you would!
This is not to say that you will not be busy. Being a director requires a commitment of about 10 hours per month, more when you are a committee chair or officer. It requires some travel and remote meetings, sometimes on weekends and evenings.
The IIBA Board’s Main Responsibility
The IIBA Board of Directors is responsible for making sure the CEO is leading the organization according to its by-law (which you should read before you consider being a director) and following the law in the jurisdictions in which it operates – which in our case is 140 countries! Since IIBA is organized as a Canadian not-for-profit organization, the Board also makes sure that IIBA follows Canadian law for not-for-profits. We make sure the organization is using its money legally and wisely, and we make sure employees are being treated legally and fairly. You can see how that word “governing” is about directors making sure the IIBA follows government and the organization’s mandates.
In addition to legal regulations, the Board makes sure the CEO has a long-term vision and strategy and that she or he works towards the long-term goals supporting the future of the organization, and the future of business analysis. The Board approves the vision and strategy and verifies that expenditures and staff time is focused on work towards the vision. To ensure that money is being spent wisely, the Board is periodically asked to review business cases for large initiatives and after approved, the Board makes sure the money is spent as planned.
The Board has three critical annual tasks: one is the Annual General Meeting where reports are provided to the membership on the state of the association (including nominating new directors), the second is the review and approval of annual budgets and operating plans, and the third is the performance assessment of the CEO.
Two Types of Directors
As IIBA and the Board have matured, we have learned that we need two types of directors on the Board:
- Experienced professional leaders in key business areas like HR, finance, and IT
- Directors who represent the business analysis community such as members, Training Partner leaders, Chapter leaders, and Corporate Program leaders.
This gives us a balance between legal and professional governance while supporting our complex ecosystem of partners, chapters, members, and other related professional associations. As our Members know, business analysis is a complex skill set and new directors from outside our community rely on the directors from the community to confirm that good business decisions for the organization will also be good for members and the business analysis community.
An Opportunity for Growth
The value I received from serving on the Board was the opportunity for learning and personal growth. If you are interested in making sure IIBA meets the needs of its community while operating within legal and ethical guidelines, please consider nominating yourself for a director position. You will learn an enormous amount of information about not-for-profit organizations, and work with smart, experienced professionals from different professional areas (Human Resources, Financial, CIO) who generously give their time to help our community. I have learned an enormous amount from my fellow directors and IIBA staff about the complexities of running a global membership association. I am grateful to the directors who help guide our association and position it to support our professional for many years to come.
Interested in Being an IIBA Board Director?
Are you an experienced business analysis professional with board governance experience? Consider becoming a volunteer director for IIBA! Our directors govern the association, reviewing financial controls, monitoring IT processes and cybersecurity, overseeing human resources practices, verifying legal reporting requirements, and monitoring risk. The Board makes sure the association is working for its members and other stakeholders.
About The Author:
Barbara Carkenord, CBAP, IIBA-AAC, past Chair and Vice Chair of IIBA Board, is on the board of directors for the International Institute of Business Analysis™ (IIBA®). During her career Barbara co-founded two successful companies and worked in varied industries including manufacturing, financial services, and software development. Barbara has worked as a leader, mentor, consultant, trainer, and instructional designer. She has written numerous books, articles, blogs, and training manuals all aimed at helping professionals enhance their skills including Seven Steps to Mastering Business Analysis.
Throughout her career Barbara has been passionate about enabling people and organizations to succeed through analysis. Analytical thinking allows organizations to increase their process efficiency and improve the quality of their products. Beginning her career in software development, early assignments allowed her to design systems which streamlined employee processes, increased the quality of information, and improved customer relationships.