One of the great things I get to do as the Principal Business Analyst at Laterooms.com is attend events and engaging with the BA community, promoting the great work that we do here and identifying quality people who share a passion for analysis and want to join our growing BA Practice.
I’m doing a bit of a tour of the country to attend some of the IIBA branch events and meet more of the community, learn some new skills and get inspired by some of the amazingly talented Business Analysts up and down the country.
If you’re about for any of the following events, come and find me and have a chat:
We’re really excited for the opportunity to present and to represent Laterooms.com at such a great event. Previous years conferences have been critical in my development as a BA and I’m thrilled to be speaking there for the first time this year.
If you’re going to be attending, give me a shout!
Delivering value is at the heart of the Business Analyst role, but how easy is it to identify tangible value and prove the success of a project or program?
In agile projects we’ll often define a “definition of done” or ask the question “what does success look like”. At LateRooms.com, we’ve developed a toolkit for our Business Analysts to support the business in using data to define what success looks like, and track it throughout the project lifecycle.
This presentation will look at the ways LateRooms.com collects, analyses and uses data to better define the problem space, setup up KPI driven Critical Success Factors and present Benefits Realisation.
The session will cover:
Leveraging the most out of the data you already have
Setting up baselines and real-time KPI dashboards
Making better decisions from your data
Presenting Benefits Realisation in a way the business will understand
So I’ve not had chance to update my blog recently. A lot has changed in the months that I’ve been away…
Earlier in October I took up a new and exciting role at Laterooms.com, the UK’s leading hotel booking company. It’s an exciting role for a number of reasons:
I’ll be joining a team of 10 other great BAs, so expect more posts and maybe even some collaborations
It allows be to focus on a single product, or at least a single organisation for a while
It’s based right here in Manchester, so I can balance work and home life a little better
The job move coincides with a house move too. Then family and I have moved to a larger house with plenty of room for the kids to grow up in. We’re still surrounded by boxes but as soon as we’re settled I’ll be blogging again.
Some blog posts coming up include:
Paper prototyping with the UX stencil
Writing effective User Stories for backend systems and APIs
Defining success and measuring business benefits
Decoupling UX from Development in Scrum
If anyone has any blog requests please let me know.
Last month I attended a fantastic course to become a Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) with the legendary Mike Cohn.
What are Product Owners?
To quote the Scrum Alliance:
“Certified Scrum Product Owners® have been taught the Scrum terminology, practices, and principles that enable them to fulfill the role of Product Owner on a Scrum team. CSPOs are typically the individuals who are closest to the “business side” of the project. They are charged by the organization to “get the product out” and are expected to do the best possible job of satisfying all the stakeholders. CSPOs maintain the product backlog and ensure that everyone knows the priorities.”
The course covered
Overview of Scrum
Scrum is empirical
The Scrum project community
Roles and Responsibilities
Team / ScrumMaster / Product Owner
Your role in the four Scrum meetings
Things that are not your job
Chartering the Project
Creating an “Igniting Purpose”
Estimating the size of work
The Product Backlog
User stories on the product backlog
The product backlog iceberg
User stories in a formal contract
What is potentially shippable?
Changes during the sprint
Sustainable pace & over commitment
The proper level for prioritizing
Four factors to consider
Theme screening and scoring
Extrapolating end dates
Fixed-scope and fixed-price projects
Scaling the Product Owner
Sharing one product backlog
Visualizing a large product backlog
The scrum of scrums meeting
The chief product owner
I loved the course and would highly recommend it. I particularly found the session on Prioritisation one of the most valuable with the section on Kano Analysis being used in my recent presentation. I’ve also taken what I learnt in the Estimating session and delivered something internally with colleagues at Sigma to help the whole team to estimate better.
@JamieClouting Thanks, Jamie. I appreciate you participating this week. Now go order the team around just like I said a PO should do 😉
Last week Sigma hosted the first in a series of mini or ‘bite sized’ Camp Digital events in the run up to next years annual conference. The event at MMU’s mew business school explored emerging trends, best practices and real world advice for the digital and UX community.
The evening of presentations and networking was a great success with colleagues, peers and students from across the digital industry. The three presentations covered the topics of:
Guerilla UX Techniques
Using Analytics to Drive UX Strategy
The Creative and Innovative Business Analyst
Chris Bush – Sigma
Guerilla UX Techniques
Chris has developed Sigma’s services in user research, testing and user experience consulting. As well as heading up Sigma’s UX practice in the UK, he is often the Lead Designer on many projects, helping to shape a project from the initial pitch, through user testing to the final release.
Chris presented some tips, tools and techniques used in iterative, guerrilla UX testing. Reviewing which of these activities gave the best ROI against more formal testing strategies.
Simon Wharton – PushON
Using Analytics to Drive UX Strategy
Simon is managing director of award-winning digital marketing agency, PushON and a founder of the market leading SASCon conference. Since its launch in 2005, PushON has grown into one of the most highly regarded digital agencies in the UK with a team of 25 digital experts and an annual turnover in excess of £1m.
Simon presented some tips and techniques of using analytical tracking tools to give meaningful insight to user behavior and how to use data to validate your iterative UX strategy. Based on a case study from alternative music news website, Louder Than War.
Ian Richards – Serco
The Creative and Innovative Business Analyst
Ian has over 15 years worth of experience in the business analysis field with many large Blue Chip Companies, including Fujitsu, IBM, The AA and British Steel. However, he is currently a Principal Business Architect within Serco’s public and private sector, involved in both bid and transitional work in the services industry.
Using thought provoking material, Ian’s presentation examined how “unleashing the potential of the mind” can bring about new ideas which can be applied in the world of analysis. Using examples, quotations and different perspectives, Ian showed how analysts can still be creative, even when restricted by numerous constraints.
Back in April the IIBA NW&E branch, in partnership with the BBC Academy, ran a successful event for over 100 Business Analysts at the BBC’s new MediaCityUK building in Salford. The presentations on the evening were recorded and made available via BBC Academy’s YouTube Channel.
Niko Vijayaratnam, BBC Future Media – News
The Business Analyst (aka. The Generalist-Specialist)
Most products in BBC Future Media are built by teams implementing Scrum yet Scrum doesn’t define a BA role… so what exactly does a BA in a Scrum team do? Niko Vijayaratnam, Senior Business Analyst in BBC Future Media – News, explores this subject looking at the work that BAs in BBC FM produce and discusses their importance to the success of recent projects.
Niko has been a Senior Business Analyst at the BBC since 2010 working on a range of projects from developing new in-house facing tools for editorial to audience facing products to cover events like the 2012 London Olympics.
John Taylor, ITV
Facing the challenge of working in a virtual office
John started his career 12 years ago working in an IT role, before moving into management accounting and finance. Eventually John found an ideal role to combine both of these areas working as a business analyst, specialising in ERP/corporate systems, which unknowingly his previous roles and experience had provided him the skills for.
Angela Stevenson, BBC Technology Solution Design
Angela is new to Business Analysis, or is she…
Angela began her journey into projects twelve years ago in the IT department of a car manufacturer, where the analysis phase was comprehensive, the objective closely guarded and the requirements rigorously tested.
Being an impressionable apprentice Angela believed all projects must be this way and so set off through a decade with variable success before finding the term ‘Business Analysis’ to neatly describe the way she worked.
Having just studied the academic side of the discipline in recent months Angela presents a light hearted look at how she is reconciling wearing both the BA and PM hats in her current role and how she aims to make the two happy bedfellows for successful projects.
Design and build projects are often difficult to kick-off, especially when you’re struggling to convey your ideas and understand the solutions being suggested. This can lead to delays, confusion and potential rework.
Rapid prototyping provides a quick and visual solution to identifying, documenting and validating project requirements in an interactive way.
In this session Jamie will take you through examples of rapid prototypes and show you how this approach can bring your projects to life and reduce development time, costs and help to maintain your relationship with your clients.
This month I was fortunate enough to have been asked to speak at a conference, alongside my colleague Chris Bush, on the topic of PET ™ Design Theory, “Persuasion, Emotion and Trust”. The conference was being hosted in Gothernburg, Sweden by Maverick, a Swedish based digital agency by Sigma.
PET design uses research-based techniques to leverage the science of Persuasion, Emotion, and Trust to make websites more engaging, compelling, and effective. This innovative methodology complements classic usability, empowering companies to achieve their business goals.
Presentations and Resources
We presented two sessions on the topic, an introduction to PET and then a session looking at some examples of the PET design applied.
Introducing (PET ™) Design Theory, “Persuasion, Emotion and Trust”
Applying Persuasion Design and PET ™ Theory in the Real World
6 Months ago I joined Sigma, a User Experienced design agency. I joined as a BA, to support the team and the their clients, designers and developers to evaluate, specify and deliver successful solutions.Movie Passengers (2016)
I had initially thought that I would be part of the development team, having over 5 years experience of delivering software projects, but I’ve found myself working with the UX designers. While design is not what I would have traditionally called my domain, I’ve been surprised at the amount of cross-over my BA skill-set has with that of a UX practitioner.
Both BAs and UX practitioners use analysis, design and research to identify and document business goals and user needs. While their titles might suggest that their roles are focused on opposing areas there is a great amount of overlap.
Academics at Berkeley have suggested that the overlap can be viewed on a continuum:
So what competencies and skills do a BA and UX practitioner share?
I’ve attempted to map a number of core competencies and skills against the Berkeley Continuum as a way of illustrating what divides and unites the BA/UX roles. It could also be used to identify who is better placed in your team to undertake certain activities. It could also be used to help individuals who wish to transition between the roles, identify which skills they need to develop.
I should note that these are very general classifications of competencies and are not always strictly followed in practice. Just as an example of my own work experience, as a BA I’ve spent a lot of time working in the area of Interaction design (traditionally a UX competency) and yet I have never done a Business case.
But as it’s often said, “It’s not what you’re called, it’s what you do that counts”.