Monday, July 23, 2012

BA Applied Capability: You Are Only As Strong As Your Weakest Link.

by Kitty Hass, PMP and Lori Lindbergh, PhD

In a recent BA workforce capability assessment we conducted, the group average scores for the application of BA skills and competencies were fairly high. Based on our BA Workforce Capability Model (See our February 13, 2012 entry), the organization’s BA workforce consisted of three groups of BAs: Project Focus BAs who worked on moderately complex projects, Enterprise Focused BAs who worked on highly complex project, and Competitive Focus BAs who work on innovation projects and programs. Each groups’ overall average scores met or exceeded the associated BA model expectations and the current BA benchmark scores for each group. What does this mean for the overall organization? Do these findings translate into mature BA practices at the organizational level?

This is where BA Applied Capability comes into the picture. BA Applied Capability examines the consistency of the application of BA practices across the organization and is not affected or masked by computing average scores. What we found in the situation described above was moderate practice consistency across the organization aligned more with Level 2 BA practice maturity. A few BAs in each group (outliers), who indicated higher skills application, were raising the overall averages for each group. By examining BA Applied Capability, the organization was able to identify critical areas of inconsistent skills application and focus its BA improvement efforts.

However, examining BA Applied Capability is only possible if you have integrated and aligned BA measurement models, such as our research-based BA Practice Maturity Model and BA Workforce Capability Model. Just as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, an organization’s BA performance outcomes are only as strong as the least-consistent BAs. This inconsistency is often a symptom of knowledge and/ skill gaps and lack of organizational support for effective application of critical BA competencies and supporting competencies. BA Applied Capability translates these individual weaknesses into the weakest links in your BA Practice Maturity. Armed with this information, an organization will be better able to focus its improvement efforts on strengthening the chain and creating improved project outcomes and realization of business value for stakeholders.

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