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IIBA.org Professional Development Knowledge Centre 2016 Outreach Chapter Award Winner
IIBA® UK was the 2016 recipient of the Community Outreach Chapter Award for demonstrating the highest level of community outreach and a strong commitment to social responsibility.
 
Congratulations to the UK Chapter on their successful execution of a number of community engagement activities to help grow and strengthen their local business analysis network and add value for their Members. 
 
What are the highlights of your community outreach activities?
 
IIBA UK Chapter’s most significant activities included creating an inclusive network of professionals, launching a virtual business book club and a mentoring program and engaging with the Department of Work & Pensions.
 
How did you engage the broader business analysis community?
 
IIBA UK supported new fledgling BA community initiatives. Rather than actively compete with other organizations that run BA events, we set out to help and engage with them. For example, we saw on Twitter that a group of BAs in Cambridge were arranging an event. IIBA UK helped them promote it, provided them contacts in the area, and one of our board members attended. This was a win/win, the other organization gained publicity and additional attendees—IIBA UK gained wider exposure. We continue to maintain the relationship and anticipate that they may become an IIBA UK branch in future! 
 
IIBA UK found working with other communities helps to create greater understanding of the business analysis role. Chapter representatives spoke at the Corporate IT Forum (a Members group with senior stakeholders from IT departments), an organization with which IIBA UK is continuing to build a relationship. The Chapter also engaged with the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) BA community – a large community of BAs within a government department. One of the Chapter's board members spoke at their internal BA event, and we are working to build a closer relationship.
 
How else has IIBA UK engaged with the UK Government?
 
The UK Government held a public consultation entitled “Fit for the future: a review of the public health workforce”. IIBA UK carried out specific research into the strategic challenges faced in the public health system (both in and outside of projects), and interviewed a number of BAs who had specific experience. Additionally, research into failed projects was carried out. This insight, alongside other research, was compiled into a series of actionable recommendations that were submitted to the UK Government. These recommendations included an increased focus on business analysis, developing a career BA development pathway (including certification), and also made other specific but more general recommendations (including an increased focus on benefits and business cases). 
 
To amplify the significance of the recommendations, IIBA UK was keen to showcase to the government that this is not just the Chapter's view, but also the view of other professional associations. With the new MOU with BCS in place, the Chapter approached BCS and asked for their ‘signature’ on the paper too – which was provided. They also approached the BA Manager Forum who ‘signed’ the paper too. 
 
IIBA recently launched a Mentoring Pilot program with Chapters. Can you share the UK Chapters experiences pioneering a Mentoring program?
 
In response to demand from the BA community, IIBA UK pioneered a mentoring scheme for 86 professionals. We wanted to provide mentoring opportunities for as many people as possible, in as many locations as possible, and to do so in a sustainable manner. We engaged an expert external facilitator to help them, and spent significant time and effort developing written resources that will ensure that the mentoring relationships themselves stand the test of time. 
 
Those involved in the mentoring scheme receive ongoing support through specific Chapter meetings, virtual sessions, specific online content and support (plus they can always contact a facilitator if they need further help). The take-up from the initiative has been phenomenal, and the feedback has been extremely positive. 
 
This is a significant membership benefit, with the cost being minimal for Members (£39 for enrolment in the annual mentoring program as a mentee), but significantly higher for non-Members (£399). This creates yet another reason to join IIBA! 
 
What type of work have you done with local Universities?
 
We have a new, and ongoing, initiative to engage with universities to help match future BA skills and knowledge with employers' future needs, promote use of BAs within universities, influence business analysis courses and content, obtain insight into upcoming management and technology thinking, and arm students with a real-world view of business analysis. We provide speakers for university events and leverage the relationship to secure university speakers for IIBA UK events. This also gives IIBA UK access to university venues for IIBA UK events. 
 
This initiative is in its early stages, but significant progress has been made (including an IIBA UK event at a university, and a number of key contacts being established.) We are continuing to build relationships and links with universities. We’ve seen an increase in IIBA UK Members!
 
How did the virtual business book club get started?
 
Following the success of our virtual event program (which started as an experiment, but has accelerated in popularity), we are experimenting with more interactive events. We felt that there might be some interest in a virtual book club, where attendees will be invited to read a book, and meet to discuss and critique the book (and discuss how they will apply the learning in the real world). This would not be limited to purely business analysis books, but would be open to any business-related book, providing attendees the opportunity to broaden their horizons. Having a date in the diary to discuss the book often acts as a driver to ensure that the book is read! This is another professional development opportunity which may be more appropriate for Members and guests who cannot get to physical events. 
 
Before launching ‘head first’ into the initiative, we carried out a survey. We had over 160 responses, most of which were over-whelmingly positive. We then sought information on the types of technology platform we could use to make this work, and formulated a plan of how to facilitate the session. As with any initiative, it was key that this is sustainable and that we can keep up the momentum. The first book has been chosen, and the date of the first meeting has been set. This exciting initiative will allow more people to be part of IIBA UK, and will also create re-usable artifacts (as we are planning to create output from the session which can be shared with people who cannot attend).
 
Congratulations to the UK Chapter. Next month, we profile the Calgary Chapter, 2016 Engagement Chapter Award Winner.