Economist Inspiration

Coffee Cup

Today I had the great fortune of talking to many people passionate about the BA role. It was a mentally satisfying sort of day in that regard, and for that I am appreciative.

In one of the conversations someone referenced my blog, and thanked me for the writing I had been doing. It was at that moment I shrieked inside thinking, “Oh goodness, I don’t write as much as I should.” After politely acknolwleding their praise I was asked, “How are you inspired to write what you do?” It was an easy answer, “Nearly everything.” So, perhaps that brief moment within a lovely day was enough to get me back on the wagon. I have probably 20 posts fleshed out with bullet points within the drafts of my content management system, and pink flags throughout my trusty notebook marking where I jotted down blog post ideas. It just might be the time to start writing again.

So here I am at the moment, sitting in a Starbucks in Mooresville, NC watching the rain pour (litterally) and listening to the thunder roar (very nasty). After logging on to the free Wifi I was directed to the Starbucks Digital Network and was quickly attracted towards a call-to-action for an article from The Economist titled “Back to the Coffee House” and it was within the second paragrah I found the most random inspiration…

…The news industry is returning to something closer to the coffee house. The internet is making news more participatory, social, diverse and partisan, reviving the discursive ethos of the era before mass media. That will have profound effects on society and politics.

I’m not entirely sure why my brain took that and contorted into a business analysis related concept, but it did – and here it goes. :-)

Technology projects started somewhere, right? Like back in the early days of IBM (wow, 100 yrs ago!) when companies started exploring technology projects and how they could change their enterprise…  As The Economist article stated, “THREE hundred years ago news travelled by word of mouth or letter, and circulated in taverns and coffee houses in the form of pamphlets, newsletters and broadsides. ‘The Coffee houses particularly are very commodious for a free Conversation.’” You have to think that back then it was much more ad-hoc, almost like a coffee house. Project needs travelled by word of mouth, there were no guiding tenants for project management (PMI), IEEE standards for operational exellence or SixSigma signs of efficiency and quality. There certainly were not professional authorities driving requirements analysis (IIBA).

Perhaps the advents of these governing bodies, massive PMOs, and never ending cumbersom processes some of us face within our IT organizations are a little bit like what mass media has done to the spreading of news. And this brings me to ask, what are you doing as a BA to keep your work personal and relative to your stakeholders and your organization?

Are you allowing your analysis activities to become bogged down with the feeling that you just have to put a check in a box? Or are you creating a coffee house of conversation that encourages differing opinions and offers the opportunity for the ah-ha moment of true innovation and inspiration where bright minds come together to solve the world’s (or your organization’s) problems?

Please don’t take this to mean that I am not in favor of the process that allow us to have consistency and standardization. Those qualities are very important. I simply challenge you to allow yourself to be free when doing requirements analysis. Take the time to develop quality relationships with your stakeholders (both business and IT (as “The Business Analyst’s ‘Other Customer’” on PracticalAnalyst.com so well stated)), and avoid being quick to judge. Proper solutions analysis will set the stage for solution optioning with divergent thoughts before you determine the best way to proceed and in the end you will add true value “That will have profound effects on (your organization).”

So here’s to you BAs – embrace your role, keep and open mind, be results oriented, and enjoy a cup of joe. Who know’s what inspiration you’ll find along the way.

One thought on “Economist Inspiration

  1. Hey Leslie, nice article to resume your rhythm of blogging. I think you definitely need to get those DRAFTS out of that state into being published. :)

    We have indeed come a long way from a project execution standpoint and the advent of all the organizations you mention has been instrumental, indeed. IIBA for sure changed a lot in my life, not just from an affiliation standpoint, but also from a contribution to the (BA)community perspective.

    Its interesting that you talk about relationships and stakeholders, because I did a podcast interview yesterday with Pam Stanton (Author of Project Whisperer) and we spoke for an hour about how projects are about people not methodology. While not all of us have the opportunity to get the a-ha moments from improving a process, there certainly can be very gratifying a-ha moments from understanding and solving your stakeholders small problems, solving the soft-skills realm of a project, and also with creating a positive working synergy within the team.

    I am a firm believer in something my friend told me once, where there is a will, there are 1000 ways! :)

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