Building the Foundation: The BOK on BA

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A new collaborative blog featuring the contributions from the core team members of PMI's Foundational Standard in Business Analysis. This blog will provide the community with insight into PMI's development of the standard to generate professional discussions about the content in advance of the scheduled reviews.

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Laura Paton
Joy Beatty
Cheryl Lee
Sue Burk

Recent Posts

The Link Between Business Analysis and Project Management Processes

Party Like a Business Analysis Rock Star!

PMI’s Business Analysis Standard – What You Have to Gain

Adapting Business Analysis Processes for Adaptive vs Predictive Life Cycles

Sorting Out Overlapping vs. Complementary or Supporting Processes

The Link Between Business Analysis and Project Management Processes

Check out the discussion on Project Management.com entitled: “Is Business Analysis Properly Linked to Project Management within the PMBOK® Guide?".   The PMI® Guide to Business Analysis (Includes The Standard for Business Analysis), slated for publication later this year, will be a great resource to identify and clarify the linkage between business analysis and project management efforts. The upcoming guide to business analysis also speaks to the relationship between business analysis and program and portfolio management.     

We’ve offered a lot of entries in this blog which let folks know that that the business analysis guide and standard will cover the relationship between project management and business analysis efforts and the collaboration between those responsible for them.   For example, please see Laura’s recent blog entry PMI's Business Analysis Standard - What You Have to Gain  and Cheryl’s entry  How-Business-Analysis-Compares-with-Project--Program-and-Portfolio-Management, just to name two. 

But, if you don’t have time to go back through all of our blogs, here is quick summary of some of the ways The PMI Guide to Business Analysis and the included Standard will provide the link:

  • It presents business analysis thinking organized by business analysis process groups and knowledge areas, a structure which will be familiar to anyone who has spent time with A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge: (PMBOK® Guide). At the same time, the business analysis process names are clear enough that those business analysis practitioners who are less familiar with the PMBOK® Guide will be able to see the linkage as well.
  • It reminds us that the business analysis thought process can be undertaken by anyone who has responsibility to help an organization identify and define problems and opportunities and think through potential solutions, not just by someone who has the title or role of business analyst. Indeed, some of the work which project managers do requires business analysis thinking, and the Guide and Standard point out PMBOK® Guide processes which align with business analysis processes.
  • It reminds us that while some business analysis efforts are totally focused on business analysis, others are complementary to project, program and/or portfolio management tasks and still others support project, program and/or portfolio management tasks.
  • It points out the necessary collaboration between those who are responsible for project management and those who are responsible for business analysis.

It’s been absolutely necessary and important for The PMI Guide for Business Analysis to articulate the link between business analysis and project management.  And, do keep in mind that the Guide is more than a linking document; it will provide an understanding of business analysis which applies to all delivery lifecycles, from predictive to adaptive.  It will stand together with its previously published companion volume, Business Analysis for Practitioners: A Practice Guide as a great resource for learning about business analysis practices and business analysis thinking.

 

 

Posted by Sue Burk on: April 21, 2017 02:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

Party Like a Business Analysis Rock Star!

The PMI TORONTO chapter is proud to be home to the first business analysis community within a PMI chapter. We have seen the community steadily grow over the last 3 years and its success represents additional proof that a need exists for project management and business analysis to be under one roof as there is a strong correlation between these professions. The PMI TORONTO chapter hosted a public review party titled “Party Like a Business Analysis Rock Star” at the Hard Rock Cafe within the public review window. Dave Bieg, Program Manager for Business Analysis and Requirements at PMI, came in to co-host the event with me. Here are a couple of photos from the event, the first is Dave and me partying like a BA rock star!

Highlights of the presentation included:

  • Insight on PMI’s latest products/services supporting business analysis
  • An overview of the layout and components of The PMI Guide to Business Analysis (Includes The Standard for Business Analysis)
  • Tips on applying this new standard in your organization on projects of varying size/complexity and of different project life cycles, including agile

I had used the cooking analogy I blogged about last year to illustrate how to use the upcoming publication and provided many examples from the guide, including collaboration points and tailoring tables that Joy recently blogged about. Folks were super excited about the idea that this upcoming publication will be one stop shopping – all in one standard!

We received overwhelming support and positive feedback from the crowd of about 200 project professionals that attended the event and are being encouraged to throw a second celebration when The PMI Guide to Business Analysis (Includes The Standard for Business Analysis) is launched later this year, and I invite you to do the same at your local chapter! We have many resources that we can share with you if you’re interested, just send me a note!

After witnessing the excitement and enthusiasm for the guide and standard from the folks here in Toronto, I was pumped to see the comments from the public review! The core team jumped right into adjudicating the responses the day after the public review window closed. We are so grateful and impressed with the effort and insightful feedback provided by the community! Thank you!

Did you participate in the public review process? What aspect of the new standard are you most excited about? 

Posted by Cheryl Lee on: April 07, 2017 11:23 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)

PMI’s Business Analysis Standard – What You Have to Gain

PMI’s Business Analysis Standard – What You Have to Gain

By Laura Paton

If you are reading this blog chances are you are interested (dare I say passionate) about business analysis. Whether you have been following our blog or not, it’s worth re-announcing that something really BIG is on the horizon. Later this year, PMI will be publishing their full consensus based standard on business analysis - The PMI® Guide to Business Analysis (Includes The Standard for Business Analysis).

Why should you care? Well there are a lot of reasons, but here are my top 3…

  1. Our profession deserves a standard - a body of knowledge that helps us discuss the work we do and the value we provide; this standard can serve as the start to those conversations. 
  2. Many professionals have been super excited about PMI’s business analysis credential, the Professional in Business Analysis or PMI-PBA® and have been eager for PMI to publish a body of knowledge to back the credential. You asked and PMI is delivering.
  3. Despite many years of preaching the need for PM/BA collaboration at our chapter events, many project teams still don’t understand how business analysis supports project, program, and portfolio management. This in turn continues to impact the level of success and value achieved on our projects. The answer to your questions lies within the pages of this newest standard!

But there are other standards in the market, so how will this product be different?   Let me provide you the top 5 reasons.

  1. PMI’s standard is new and fresh, developed from extensive research and the time to market has been quick. This means you are receiving the ‘latest’ thoughts and practices making this product timely and relevant, especially if you work on agile projects. 
  1. Speaking of agile or adaptive life cycles, the development team made sure adaptive life cycles were equally considered as were predictive life cycles when this standard was written. Not only will you understand what business analysis looks like on agile projects but you will receive a clear comparison of business analysis work between life cycles helping you quickly gain the knowledge needed to apply your business analysis skills  regardless of which life cycle is being used.  One stop shopping – all in one standard!
  1. If you hold other PMI credentials or if your organization has adopted the PMBOK® Guide as your organization’s core standard to quality project management practices, you will find PMI’s BA standard a perfect fit. That’s because business analysis is described in terms of process groups and knowledge areas; taking on a similar structure to the PMBOK® Guide. By defining the business analysis processes in this manner BA work can easily be compared to project management, which this guide does beautifully.  You know those conversations you have heard regarding who is responsible for stakeholder analysis, planning, or risk management - the PM or BA?  Confusion be gone!  This new standard makes the connections and clears the air on areas of overlap between the PM/BA roles.
  1. If you are a fan of PMI’s Business Analysis for Practitioners: A Practice Guide (and chances are that many of you are since the product has been very well received) you’ll love the synergy and compatibility the new BA standard provides. Many practitioners are turned off by hard to follow academic publications, and I feel your pain. The easy to follow and understand language provided in PMI’s business analysis practice guide has found its way into this newest standard making your reading pleasurable not laborious.
  1. Lastly, PMI is known for quality in the areas of research, standards development, and certification. If your organization or you personally are confused about how to get started in business analysis, how to discuss this important work, or how to establish standard business analysis processes on your projects - PMI provides a suite of business analysis products and services to support you. Check out the list of tangible PMI member benefits for those interested in learning more about business analysis:

We often talk about defining the ‘value proposition’ when we perform business analysis. Perform your own analysis about business analysis and determine what is of value to you.

Think new, think fresh, think PM and BA synergy – there is a new BA standard coming to the BA community in 2017! How will you leverage the value?Let us know we would love to hear from you!

Posted by Laura Paton on: March 26, 2017 05:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (25)

Adapting Business Analysis Processes for Adaptive vs Predictive Life Cycles

Categories: Business Analysis

As you’ve likely heard, the SME review is complete for PMI’s business analysis standard and we will soon be in the public review stage. With that we want to share a little more of what you’ll find under the covers. We have included a variety of helpful things in our attempt to come up with a product that is friendly to the adaptive, predictive, and the “anywhere in between” members of the community. One of the critical constructs we created to address this very topic is what we on the team colloquially call “the tailoring tables”.

Let me back up a moment and explain that for each of the processes, we certainly try to explain in text how the process might vary depending on whether you use an adaptive or predictive life cycle on the project, program, or portfolio. However, we wanted to also offer a tool for readers to quickly summarize the essence of how each process might vary, so it’s not buried in text – that tool is the set of tailoring tables. Within the guide, these tables describe three common aspects of how business analysis could be tailored based on your selected project life cycle:

  • Process Name – what the process is called can vary
  • Approach – how or timing of when you perform the process might vary
  • Deliverables – the things you produce when performing the process might vary

Every process includes a table describing how the process is commonly tailored with regards to the topics above for adaptive versus predictive life cycles.

One key phrase in that previous sentence is “commonly,” which means this content is not a rule or policy, but rather a guideline. For example, if we said that in adaptive life cycles, requirements are typically represented in user story format, and your organization has reason to write them in use cases instead, then by all means you should produce use cases. Similarly, there is nothing in this guide indicating that user stories cannot also be used in predictive life cycles, even though we don’t explicitly say they can. I mention this because this is probably the most prevalent feedback we got about these tables. Some of the SME reviewers felt like the predictive tailoring suggestions might be helpful in an adaptive project or vice versa. We agree! We just had to also offer something more useful than saying “you can do anything in any life cycle” so we reflected on common practice and used the reviewer feedback to help tweak what we missed.

Here is an example of what this table might look like for the Define and Elaborate Requirements process.

©2017, Project Management Institute, Inc.

That is “tailoring tables” in a nutshell. Whether you love or hate them, we welcome your feedback. You can formally (or informally!!) share your thoughts in the public review process of course, too.

Posted by Joy Beatty on: February 23, 2017 04:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)

Sorting Out Overlapping vs. Complementary or Supporting Processes

 

As Cheryl mentioned in her recent blog entry, business analysis is a competency needed across projects, programs and portfolios.  She gave you a sneak peek at how we clarified the relationship between business analysis and project, program and portfolio management (which I’ll refer to as "management" for the remainder of this blog).   But wait, there’s more!  As the core team began to frame the content we were developing, we realized that we were delving into areas where we referred to work which is often considered part of management.  And so we had to think hard about how we would distinguish, for example, how business analysis efforts figure into creating  a project charter or deciding how to engage stakeholders.   We were sure that the efforts were not overlapping in a redundant way, so how best to explain the differences? Certainly, the product focus of business analysis and the project/program/portfolio focus of management is one difference, but what else would we need to call out?

Two patterns emerged for us for situations in which there was overlapping effort, both of which were based on collaboration of business analysis and management:

  1. Some business analysis efforts are complementary to management tasks.  So, for example, management has a strong and primary role in determining a stakeholder engagement and communication approach.  Whether determined in a formal or informal manner, those responsible for business analysis define aspects of that approach for business analysis in collaboration with management and with stakeholders. 
  2. Some business analysis efforts are supporting tasks for management.    For example, business analysis is needed  for the preparation of a project charter, where those responsible for business analysis “collaborate on charter development with the sponsoring entity and stakeholder resources using the business analysis knowledge, experience, and product information acquired during needs analysis and business case development efforts.”   As we have mentioned in earlier posts, we are trying to focus on business analysis as a discipline rather than the role of the business analyst. We use Ellen Gottesdiener and Mary Gorman’s, It’s the Goal, Not the Role as a motto on our team to remind ourselves of this important distinction.  Seen in this light, "business analysis thinking" in support for charter development is performed by everyone who has responsibility for the necessary analysis, regardless of role or title.

All and all, thinking through how to present the relationship between business analysis and management reinforced for us the  value of having PMI address business analysis: by looking at the nature of the relationship between management and analysis efforts, highlighting how some aspects of management efforts involve business analysis and also aligning the vocabulary between the disciplines,  PMI will help improve the collaboration between management and business analysis that is so critical for successful projects. 

Posted by Sue Burk on: February 09, 2017 08:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)
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