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From Analyst to Leader

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Become equipped with the principles, knowledge, practices, and tools need to assume a leadership role in an organization. From Analyst to Leader: Elevating the Role of the Business Analyst uncovers the unique challenges for the business analyst to transition from a support role to a central leader serving as change agent, visionary, and credible leader.

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8 Chapters

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Chapter 1 - Project Leadership

ePub

In This Chapter:

Twenty-First Century Leadership

Twenty-First Century Projects

Management versus Leadership

Combining Disciplines Leads to Success

The Power of the Project Leadership Team

The New Project Leader

The Core Project Team

Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without strategy.

Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf

Leadership is one of those concepts that is recognizable when you observe it in action but is otherwise somewhat difficult to define. Books about leadership abound, each describing the concept in a different way. Leadership can be defined as:

The art of persuading or influencing other people to set aside their individual concerns and to pursue a common goal that is important for the welfare of the group

The ability to elicit extraordinary performance from ordinary people

The capacity to integrate the goals of the organization with the aspirations of the people through a shared vision and committed action

 

Chapter 2 - The Business Analyst as Project Leader

ePub

In This Chapter:

The Business Analyst as Change Agent

The Business Analyst as Visionary

The Business Analyst as Credible Leader

The business analyst, serving as one of several project leaders, closes the gap on areas that have historically been woefully overlooked in business transformation and innovation projects. Some of the areas that the business analyst directs more attention to include:

Integrating strategic planning with planning for the information systems and technology directions

Defining business problems and identifying new business opportunities to achieve the strategic vision

Understanding the business need and impacts of the proposed solution on all areas of business operations

Maintaining a fierce focus on the value the project is expected to bring to the enterprise

Using an integrated set of analysis and modeling techniques to make the as-is and to-be business environments visible for all to see, understand, and validate

 

Chapter 3 - The Business Analyst’s Leadership Role: throughout the Business Solution Life Cycle

ePub

In This Chapter:

The Business Analyst’s Role in Strategic Planning and Enterprise Analysis

The Business Analyst’s Role in Requirements and Design

The Business Analyst’s Role in Construction and Testing

The Business Analyst’s Role in Solution Delivery

The Business Analyst’s Role in Operations and Maintenance

Throughout the Business Analysis Essential Library, we have used the business solution life cycle (BSLC) model as a framework for our discussions about the role of the business analyst. This model, shown in Figure 3-1, depicts the major deliverables produced, as well as the skills and techniques employed by the business analyst during each project phase. The business analyst partners and collaborates with other key project leaders, the project manager, business representatives, and technical leads during all phases of the BSLC.

Figure 3-1—The Business Solution Life Cycle

The business analyst is largely responsible for providing information, processes, and tools, as well as for facilitating an organizational focus on strategy execution through projects. During the strategic planning and enterprise analysis phases, the business analyst conducts competitive analysis and benchmark studies, identifies potential solutions to business problems, conducts feasibility studies to determine the optimum solution, and prepares the business case for the proposed new initiative to arm the executive team with the information it needs to make quality project investment decisions. A high-quality decision is one that is likely to attain the goals of the organization, is well reasoned, and is consistent with available information and with organizational goals and objectives.

 

Chapter 4 - The Business Analyst as Team Leader

ePub

In This Chapter:

The Power of Teams

Team Development through Stages

Traversing the Team Development Stages

Team Leadership Roles through Stages

Best Team-Building Practices for the Business Analyst

Quick Team Assessment

The need for effective team leadership cannot be overlooked. Technology, techniques, and tools don’t cause projects to fail. Projects fail because of people. Team leadership is different from traditional management, and teams are different from operational work groups. As we discussed in Part I, when leading high-performing teams, it is no longer about command and control; it is more about collaboration, consensus, and leadership.

As discussed in The Art and Power of Facilitation: Running Powerful Meetings, another volume in this series, team leaders must have an understanding of how teams work and the dynamics of team development. Team leaders develop specialized skills that are used to build and maintain high-performing teams. Traditional managers and technical leads cannot necessarily become effective team leaders without the appropriate mindset, training, and coaching.

 

Chapter 5 - The Business Analyst’s Role in Communications

ePub

In This Chapter:

Communication Building Blocks

The Sender

The Receiver

Active Listening

Miscommunication

Best Communication Practices for the Business Analyst

Accurate, usable information is the currency of business analysis because the responsibility for planning and conducting requirements elicitation and validation sessions lies with the business analyst. The goal is to learn to use effective communication techniques that lead to clear, accurate information about the business requirements. While the responsibility for good communication is shared by all participants in the requirements sessions, the business analyst leads the way. The business analyst constantly looks for concerns and areas where confusion rather than clarity reigns.

To understand the critical skill sets that any business leader must have to communicate effectively, the communication process can be broken down to its basic elements. In this chapter, contributing author Kimi Ziemski discusses how important it is for the business analyst to understand and effectively use communication building blocks.

 

Chapter 6 - Customer Relationship Management: Politics and Stakeholders

ePub

In This Chapter:

Power and Politics

Stakeholder Identification

Stakeholder Categorization

Best Stakeholder Management Practices for the Business Analyst

In this chapter, contributing author Richard Vander Horst discusses how important it is for the business analyst to understand project stakeholders, analyze their ability to influence the success of the project, and operate effectively in the context of the power and politics that are always present in the organization.

One of the most important responsibilities for a business analyst is to identify key stakeholders—individuals and groups who are involved in or will be impacted by the project—and draw them appropriately into the requirements definition and validation activities. Three primary truths are key to this responsibility:

Politics are real. Whenever groups of people are involved, there are politics manifested in views and opinions that drive behaviors. To suppose that a project will not be affected by politics is unrealistic and will ultimately degrade your ability to deliver quality results.

Humans are fairly predictable and, when left to the influences of evolution and culture, will succumb to the pressures and allure of power and control. That is not to say that best intentions are not always at play, for they usually are; the question comes down to whether the best intentions of participants are aligned with the project goals and objectives.

The challenge for the business analyst and other project leaders is to acknowledge that the project will be affected by politics and power struggles, and to implement strategies to manage the political dynamics by: (1) conducting an analysis to determine those who can influence the project, and whether they feel positively or negatively about the project; (2) identifying the goals of the key influencers; and (3) defining problems, solutions, and action plans to take advantage of positive political influences and to neutralize negative ones.

 

Chapter 7 - Carving Out Your Leadership Role

ePub

In This Chapter:

Leadership Development for the Business Analyst

The Business-Savvy and Technically Savvy Business Analyst

Business Analyst Leadership Opportunities

Getting There

The global marketplace has significant impact on professionals working to build and sustain careers in the ever-changing modern work environment. To succeed in today’s workforce, it’s important to welcome change, develop strong leadership skills, and embrace lifelong learning. Careers are very different than they were in the twentieth century. Successful careers in today’s environment are more dynamic than in the past, when people tended to move up rather narrow functional hierarchies, performing essentially the same job function for most of their careers.

Many of today’s professionals cling to the twentieth-century career model that says if you are a good employee, you will succeed and grow within one organization and within a single job category. Many of us don’t think in terms of developing our leadership potential and helping our organizations cope with the transformation process from functional hierarchies to team-based work. Clearly, organizations are beginning to value business analysis leadership skills, realizing that they are essential not only to manage critical projects but also to deal with organizational change.

 

Chapter 8 - Establishing a Business Analysis Center of Excellence

ePub

In This Chapter:

Centers of Excellence

Business Analysis Centers of Excellence (BACoE)

BACoE Scope Considerations

BACoE Organizational Positioning Considerations

BACoE Organizational Maturity Considerations

BACoE Implementation Considerations

BACoE Implementation Best Practices

Final Words of Wisdom

Centers of excellence are emerging as vital strategic assets to serve as the primary vehicle for managing complex change initiatives, and are being recognized as a business support function just as critical as accounting, marketing, finance, and human resources. A center of excellence (CoE) is a team of people that is established to promote collaboration and the application of best practices.1

CoEs exist to bring an enterprise focus to many business issues, including data integration, project management, enterprise architecture, business and IT optimization, and enterprise-wide access to information. The concept of CoEs is quickly maturing in twenty-first century organizations because of the need to collaboratively determine solutions to complex business issues. The project management office (PMO), a type of CoE, proliferated in the 1990s as a centralized approach to managing projects.

 

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