Monday, January 30, 2012

Not Your Grandmother’s Assessment.

by Kitty Hass

I’ll never forget my grandmother’s cooking. No matter what she prepared, she was always able to pull together the right ingredients to create a mouthwatering meal or desert for everyone to enjoy. She didn’t use recipes, simply her experience and intuition: a little bit of this, a pinch of that, and a handful of the other. She didn’t care about counting carbs, measuring fiber content, or how many omega-3s and antioxidants were in her meals. As long as her food tasted good and satisfied everyone’s appetite, she was content.

In today’s complex business world, applying grandma’s cooking methods of experience and intuition to BA performance improvement will only take you so far. You need more. This is where science enters the picture. Because an organization is a complex system made up of interrelated subsystems, you need to be sure the BA assessments you use contain the exact mix of ingredients and science that your organization needs.

So what does a world class BA assessment look like? After more than 20 years in the IT, PM, and BA space, I think I have honed in on the most important characteristics of a truly superior assessment, one that produces a roadmap that leads to success in terms of value to your customers and wealth to your organization. (Grandma would be impressed.)

Mature business management practices focus on alignment with and achievement of business strategies, goals and objectives. Mature and capable business practices are directly correlated with higher organizational performance, value added to the customer, and wealth to the bottom line. With this in mind, then, world-class BA assessments should:
  • Appraise both BA/PM organizational maturity and individual/workforce BA capability based on validated reference models
  • Align with industry professional standards for BAs and PMs and with standards and best practices for quality and fairness in educational and psychological assessment
  • Incorporate the dimension of work complexity based on the skills and knowledge needed to work successfully on the complexity of current project assignments 
  • Benchmark results against a global data base of BAs and PMs performing comparable work, against our models, and against the individual peer group results
  • Examine critical relationships between competency, project complexity, organizational culture, and project outcomes.
  • Focus analysis and findings on critical recommendations and produce a roadmap to fill the gaps.
(In future postings, we will examine each of these characteristics in more detail. See the monthly blog theme tab for more information.)

To provide value, assessments need to balance experience with science and offer a more holistic, systems perspective versus examining competency, practices, and outcomes in isolation. By sharing this blog with you, we want to help you evaluate your assessments with a critical eye and not believe everything you read. Even though the Sara Lee package read, “It tastes like homemade,” I could always taste the difference between grandma’s homemade apple pie and the store-bought version. I think a balanced, scientific assessment is a recipe for success that even grandma would be proud of; kind of like grandma’s recipe on steroids.

Please tell us about your recipe for BA assessment success. As always, we look forward to your comments and questions.

No comments:

Post a Comment