Monday, September 3, 2012

Why Should I do a BA Assessment? Know If Your BAs (and Organization) Are Equipped for Innovation.

by Kitty Hass

This belief is held by many managers and executives.  The problem with “what you already know” about your business analysts’ capabilities is that you don’t have actionable information

The Devil is in the Details
Conducting a BA (or PM) Individual or Workforce Assessment based on a validated reference model (see below) provides insights as to your teams’ strengths and opportunities.  The summary report provides details about specific gaps in capabilities that are most likely preventing your team from attaining higher levels of project success, accompanied by actionable recommendations to close the gaps.

BA/PM Workforce Capability Models
I designed the BA/PM individual/workforce capability models to help my clients determine the level of capability that currently exists within their organizations, and the level of capability needed to successfully execute projects based on the complexity of the initiative.  From this information, I are able to identify the gaps in skills and competencies and draft a recommended PM/BA Learning and Development Plan. 

As described in prior posts, my model is four-tiered for both project managers and business analysts as described below.  The levels of the model are based on the escalating complexity of typical BA/PM project assignments, as follows:

Most organizations know they have projects that align with the first three areas of focus. However, many organizations fail to realize a number of their projects are competitive focused; traditional BAs with enterprise-level skills using standard processes and methodologies may not achieve success on competitive-focused projects. Business/Technology Optimization PMs and BAs are business and technology visionaries who serve as Innovation Experts, Organizational Change Specialists, and Cross Domain Experts. Business/Technology PMs and BAs focus outside of the enterprise on what the industry is doing and design innovative new approaches to doing business to ensure the enterprise remains competitive, or even leaps ahead of the competition.  Business/Technology PMs and BAs forge new strategies, translate strategy into breakthrough process and technology, and convert business opportunities to innovative business solutions.

It’s about Innovation
According to the 2010 IBM Global CEO Study, Capitalizing on Complexity, creativity and innovation are essential for a business to remain competitive.  So, if projects bring about innovation, how are we doing?  Only 37% of projects delivered on time, on budget, with required features and functions according to the 2011 CHAOS Report by the Standish Group.  And we don’t even measure business value or benefits in terms of innovation and the resulting competitive positioning.

Achieving innovation requires very different PM and BA competencies.  Enterprise Business Analysis to arrive at the creative idea, and Complex Project Management to implement the innovation.

We must change the way we do projects!

Clearly, the current BA and PM practices are deficient as revealed by our success rates.  To elevate our game, we need to focus on innovation and value; adopt iterative project approaches; and begin using integrated BA tools. That’s how a BA capability assessment can help your organization. You will have the roadmap to achieve the change necessary to ensure your BAs and your organization are equipped to handle innovation.

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