As a senior BA I’m obsessed by 2 very simple questions:
- didn’t we forget anything in our to do list?
- do we have an owner for each to do?
Fellow BAs might find this a bit short. Well indeed those 2 obsessions do not define my job at all. I’m also writing requirements, business rules, information models, getting people around the table and creating the conditions of dialogue, designing solutions, making sure they’re built properly and within budget etc etc. What I’m pinpointing are simply my 2 biggest concerns. And frankly, I dare to say those are the concerns of any entrepreneur. I’m also very much aware that it overlaps with the PM concerns, but neither is this the point I want to make.
If you accept my 2 statements that
- each IT project is a change project (from the most evident user facing app till the hidden network software upgrade)
- impacts are potentially everywhere (everything is linked to everything in complex organisations!)
Then I expect you would agree that the business analyst and the project manager have to look at the whole organization if they really want to get the change project done and delivering value and satisfaction.
Okay, so far, so good.
What do we observe on the workfloor during project ideation or scoping?
Simple: IT teams up with ops and accounting for instance. They quickly identify prominent impacts, liaise with a selection of concerned people, sketch a budget, get it approved, form a project team and there it starts. Professional work, no doubt. Delivered in a very short timing, with the people you managed to mobilize. I.e. there are missing parts? By definition.
Now, let’s look at the mission of the newly created project team a bit. Is it “get that scope implemented” or “make everything necessary for that change to happen”? And, most importantly, are team members entrepreneurs or executing roles?
If you ever were responsible for a project, you know exactly what I’m coming to, because we all suffered from it at one time or another in our career. It’s the stupid, dangerous and so much engrained belief (or implicit assumption) that if we deliver the scope then the change will happen. And sorry for change managers, but you believe that too.
Even more inconvenient that this very common assumption is solidly locked by a number of bad organizational habits of cultural shortcomings.
- job descriptions
- yearly objectives
And it is also true that there’s nothing you can do as a consultant to change your client culture or organization. And by the way it’s not your mandate.
What can you do then?
- Make sure you’re enthusiastic for the change yourself
- Make sure you’re straight in your boots, do your homework!
- Find allies at the highest level you can reach
- Accept no barriers and do what must be done
Are you ready?
I wish you a New Year full of fantastic results!