IIBA Business Analyst Europe Conference 2011: Keynotes

Two of my highlights of the event came in the form of keynote speakers.

Ivar Jacobsopn – Use-case 2.0

Firstly, was the impressive Ivar Jacobson discussing the topic of Use-case 2.0. Unlike other methodologies and brands that have jumped on the 2.0 bandwagon, the latest version of the use-cases include a rework to allow for quick adoption by smaller software teams (without having to invest a career in trying to understand how to properly document them).

Perhaps most impressive for me was Ivar passion for using use-cases as a way for agile teams to generate user stories by slicing through the use-case workflows. He was able to show some great examples of how this approach can be used in support SCRUM and Kanban.

We have learnt one thing, we don’t need to document as much… People won’t read it anyway!

Ivar Jacobson 2011

Euan Semple – The Impact on Social Networks on Business

Secondly came Euan Semple (@euan). Now as a former digital marketer and user of social networks I have to confess to not being very excited about this keynote. Yet, what I had anticipated was going to be Social Media 101 was actually something much, much better.

Euan’s background as former Head of Knowledge Management at the BBC made me sit up and pay attention. What was to follow was an insightful and well constructed presentation of Social Networking Tools and how, using examples and anecdotes, they can be used to bring us closer together. Euan made the point that it didn’t matter if we were employees co-located in the same open-plan office or if we were a customers of a multinational, the tools could allow us to engage.

Now I know that there is nothing new in this thinking but what I loved was Euan’s views on using social networking tools as a way to capture knowledge, aid collaboration, break down one-way communication channels in organisations and empower employees. So many times I have seen poorly managed B2C social media failures, and Euan showed us a few, but the real value came in considering what an organisation could do with these tools that Euan suggests “are already being used” to radically change an organisations culture. Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

Knowledge Retention sounds like something you’d take a laxative for!

Semple 2011

Conclusion

  • Never underestimate the power of passion and humor when presenting – even if it is on a nerdy subject
  • We live and work in a rapidly evolving environment. Both Ivar and Euan showed examples of what had been and gone in the past 10 years. Our ability to learn, adapt and overcome new problems with everchanging tools will be what diffenciates us from those that don’t succeed.

IIBA Business Analyst Europe Conference: Roundup

This week I attended two days of the IIBA BA Europe Conference 2011 (#BA2011).

It was an excellent event and one that attracted practitioners and suppliers for right across the BA spectrum. These included: Business Analysts, Process Managers, Change Managers, Business Engineers, Systems Analysts, Business Architects, Enterprise Engineers and even a few PMs/PMOs!

What will follow in the next few days are my thoughts and notes from sessions I attended and things that I learnt while I was there. These are likely to be broken down into the following key areas:

  • Keynotes
  • Models, Tools & Techniques
  • Networking & Mentoring
  • Case Studies

I read and heard a lot while I was away and am likely to be digesting it for a few more days to come. Hopefully the write-up will be of interest to some of those that also attended.

IIBA Membership

This week I signed up to become a memeber of the IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis).

Some of the attractive things about joining the IIBA were:

I’m looking forward to attending some of the events and getting access to some of the great resources that the IIBA have to offer.
Giveaway iPhone 7 Plus

Becoming Riders of Paradox

ThoughtWorks Live 2011Last week I had the pleasure of attending ThoughtWorks Live 2011 in London’s St Martin’s Lane hotel. The conference, entitled Continuous Delivery: Push the button, was a showcase of ThoughtWorks thinking on how to become truly agile through the implementation of Continuous Delivery and Continuous Deployment.

Among the speakers were heavyweights such as Martin Fowler, ThoughtWorks Chief Scientist & Roy Singham, ThoughtWorks Founder & Chairman – positioning ThoughtWorks as not only global experts but as global educators, both practically and aspirationally.

Riding Paradox

Paradox Horse
"Paradox" by Michael Bergt

A real favourite for me was a presentation given by ThoughtWorks Studio’s Managing Director, Cyndi Mitchell on Adaptive Leadership: Accelerating enterprise agility, based on Jim Highsmith’s whitepaper of the same name. In the presentation Cyndi discussed a number of challenges that leaders face in being adaptive. The real eureka moment for me, in both the presentation and the whitepaper, was the concept of Riding Paradox. We were encouraged to be ‘And’ rather than ‘Or’ leaders, inclusive of elements from multiple methodologies that can add value and work together for the benefit of the project. No one methodology has it 100% right and we should look to take aspects of different practices and thinking and incorporate them more. A quote from Rotman summed it up well “Integrative Thinking is the ability to constructively face the tensions of opposing models, and instead of choosing one at the expense of the other, generating a creative resolution of the tension in the form of a new model that contains elements of the both models, but is superior to each“.

Highsmith discusses in his whitepaper “The paradox horse seems always to be going in opposite directions at the same time. Furthermore, the leader is exposed, drawn by the traditional norms of many organizations in which it’s OK to be wrong, but not OK to be uncertain“.

As a Business Analyst I often find myself in a similar position, for two reasons. Firstly, due to the nature of my role I report into my Managing Director for the purpose of sales targets and planning, while reporting into my Technical Director for the purpose of scoping and quality assurance. It can often feel like attempting to serve two masters, serving two areas of the business who sometimes have opposing expectations.

Secondly, clients can sometimes be prescriptive about the methodology that their software project should use. This is rarely based on thoughtful consideration of stakeholder needs, rather that the client has heard a buzz word or has used that methodology on a previous project and feels safe with it. As an example, I have had clients come to me and say “We want to use Prince2”, for no other reason then a third-party advisor has suggested it would ‘be best’. This leads to lengthy planning and scoping phases of work up-front which the client is happy with. However, once the project moves into production the development team opt to take an agile approach to the job, breaking down my long specification into chapters – renaming them iterations and delivering little and often.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

At the same conference one of the speakers, Dave West from Forrester, coined the phrase “Water-Scrum-Fall” that perfectly describes this idea that scoping happens, the development team run off with an agile approach and then the final mile of the project reverts back to a very formalised sign-off process.

I’m excited by what I’ve heard at the conference and challenged to implement changes in my working practice. Lets hope I can attempt to ride paradox without falling off!

Rotman. (n.d.). Integrative Thinking. Retrieved from Rotman Business School [online]. Available from: http://www.rotman.utoronto.ca/integrativethinking/definition.htm

Highsmith, Jim. 2011. Adaptive Leadership: Accelerating enterprise agility [online]. Available from: http://www.thoughtworks.com/articles/adaptive-leadership-accelerating-enterprise-agility

Image from: Jim Highsmith: “And” Leadership.

2011: The Year of Professional Development

I decided this year that 2011 was the year of some professional development. Well, I decided at the end of last year and opted to renew my lapsed student BCS membership for 2011.

Having studied on a BCS approved degree in Manchester, I knew about the BCS’s work and acknowledged them as a group how act as a common forum for both academia and industry. It is the professional qualifications that I was particularly interested in, many in the areas of Business Analysis and Business Systems Development.

I liked the BCS’s definition of CPD, that focused on maintaining competencies:

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is the organised continuation, improvement and broadening of knowledge, understanding and skills, as well as development of personal qualities necessary for an individual to maintain their competence in order to undertake their duties throughout their working life.

On graduation in 2009 I though I was set, that I had everything that I needed and knew all I needed to know for my career. I’ve since learnt that what I studied was both excellent and dated in equal measure. Some of the tools I studied are no longer in common use and others are no good unless adopted by the whole organisation. In short, it was time to do some more learning.

I hope that there will be some more posts to come on the topic of CPD this year as I look to keep the blog updated with lectures, courses and conferences I attend.

I’m also keen to get along to some of the BCS Manchester events this year. The weekly email I get from the branch is always packed full with some great events and opportunities to get along and meet more like minded professionals. No doubt more posts will follow on this.

Launch: JamieClouting.co.uk

Its been a while in the making but it’s finally here! If you’re reading this then you’ve stumbled across my blog.

This is my personal blog about Business Analysis. It’s my intention to write about things that I find useful in my day to day job as BA, tools, books and methods. I’ll probably also aim to comment on some of the things I experience along the way.

Please have a look about and let me know what you think.

Jamie.