Professionalizing Business Analysis
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Professionalizing Business Analysis

Breaking the Cycle of Challenged Projects

Kathleen B. Hass

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  2. English
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eBook - ePub

Professionalizing Business Analysis

Breaking the Cycle of Challenged Projects

Kathleen B. Hass

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About This Book

A Volume of the Business Analysis Essential Library Series Uncover the role of the business analyst as the business and technology strategist who provides the executive leadership team with the information, process, tools, and capability to make the best decisions. The Business Analyst as Strategist: Translating Business Strategies into Valuable Solutions outlines the first two phases of the business solution life — strategic planning and enterprise analysis –– that the future vision of the enterprise is established, strategic goals and measures are set, and the most viable programs and supporting projects are initiated to achieve the strategy. Learn how to set the stage for change, and how to translate your strategy into operational terms through a portfolio of programs and supporting projects. Understand the five-step process to set well-formed strategies and how to execute them. Through this book you will master business analysis competencies, learn how to react effectively, anticipate changes in the marketplace, and flow value through the enterprise to the customer, thus achieving competitive advantage.

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Part I

Introducing the Business Analyst

T he first section of this book lays the foundation for professionalizing business analysis. In Chapter 1, we discuss the nature of projects in organizations today, the reasons for the rather dismal project success rate, and the need for more rigorous business analysis to increase project success. We then define business analysis and explain how it is different from other analysis activities that occur in businesses today.
In Chapter 2, we explore the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to be a successful business analyst. We also discuss the collaborative relationship between the project manager and the business analyst, and finally, we discuss where the business analyst is placed in organizations.
In Chapter 3, we discover the importance of understanding project life cycles and provide an overview of the role of the business analyst throughout the business solution development life cycle.

Chapter 1

What Are Business Analysts and
Why Are They Needed?

In This Chapter:
  • The Problem with Projects
  • Business Analysis Defined
  • The Business Analyst and IT
  • The History of Business Analysis
Change is the norm, fierce competition is the driver, and lean thinking is the latest call to action. Corporate survival depends on an ability to be nimble and to react appropriately and swiftly to change. It’s even better to drive change, thus maintaining your competitive advantage in today’s continually transforming marketplace. Organizations in both the public and private sectors are struggling not only to react to the high velocity of change in the economic, political, and global landscape but also to proactively stay ahead of the curve.
It is through projects that organizational leadership teams react to and plan for change. Projects play an essential role in the growth and survival of organizations today, for it is through projects that we create value in the form of improved business processes and new products and services. To manage change through projects, organizations need to professionalize business analysis knowledge, skills, and abilities so that they can (1) establish business strategies and goals, (2) identify new business opportunities, (3) determine solutions to business problems, and (4) select, prioritize, and fund major change initiatives to meet business needs and achieve strategic goals.

The Problem with Projects

Projects today are large, complex, and high risk. Consider the characteristics of typical projects that are underway in virtually all public and private organizations of any size:
  • Business process improvement and/or reengineering ventures to replace inefficient and outmoded legacy business processes and technologies
  • Significant change programs to continually tune the organizational structure, capabilities, and competencies as the business model changes, including initiatives like organizational restructuring, outsourcing of core business processes, down- or right-sizing, staff acquisition and/or retooling, establishment or relocation of business operations, and mergers and acquisitions
  • New lines of business requiring design and implementation of new business processes, organizational structures, and technologies to support the new operations
These projects are further complicated by their significant technology component. Since data and information are the lifeblood of virtually all business processes, the information technology (IT) systems that provide the supporting technology to operate the business processes efficiently are often a major part of the business solution. As organizations engage in large change initiatives that depend more and more on technology for communications and operations, the business analysis contributions are becoming more and more essential in turning an organization’s vision and strategy into reality.

A Track Record of Failure

It’s worth looking at the track record for completion of complex projects that are accompanied by software-intensive IT systems. An abundance of surveys administered during the past decade reveal a rather dismal record of project performance, particularly for significant IT projects. The Standish Group’s 2006 CHAOS Report exposed the difficult nature of managing IT projects today: 46 percent of projects were challenged, meaning they were over time or budget, and an additional 19 percent of projects failed altogether, meaning nothing of value was delivered to the organization.1
Figure 1-1—Results of the Standish Group’s 2006 CHAOS Research Report
Source:
The ...

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