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Mastering Business Analysis
25 minutes | a month ago
MBA219: How To Be an Agile Business Analyst
Kent McDonald shares his thoughts on what it takes to succeed as a Business Analyst in an Agile environment. Show Notes To be successful as a Business Analyst in an Agile environment, you need to apply your same traditional skills and techniques differently. Kent McDonald characterizes an Agile Business Analyst as those who take on the perspective of product people having the five characteristics below. Understand your context and use that information to determine what kind of techniques to use (and what not to use). The context is the structure of your organization, how the team is organized, and the nature of your product. Focus on figuring out what problem you’re trying to solve and finding ways to solve that problem (your outcome) with the least amount of work (output). We want to minimize outputs (documents, lines of code, etc.) while maximizing outcomes (the business goals and objectives). Look at the traditional business analysis techniques as a way to build a shared understanding with the team and others with whom you’re working. Instead of using many of the techniques simply for your own understanding, use them to get the entire team aligned and on the same page. Making sure decisions get made. If you are the decision maker, you need to make the right decisions at the appropriate time. Otherwise, help decision makers make timely decisions. Always learning through short feedback cycles and use the feedback to adapt. Shortening the feedback loop allows you to get input sooner so that you can adjust as needed and build the right solution while minimizing risk. “It’s not a thing or a methodology, it’s a way you can approach knowledge work.”Kent McDonald Being Agile is about solving a problem as quickly as we can (or at least small bits of the problem as quickly as we can) and learning from our experiences and adjusting going forward. Listen to the full episode for all of Kent’s tips and advice on being successful as a Business Analyst in an Agile environment. YOUR HOMEWORKMake sure you have a clear understand of what problem you’re trying to solve. Implementing project X isn’t the problem. What is the underlying problem that project x is intended to solve? Links mentioned in this episode Kent’s website kbp.media Get Kent’s Book and Save 15% Go to kbp.media/book and use coupon code MasteringBA and get 15% off the cover price. This book helps business analysts be an effective member of a team working in an agile fashion. It explains how to add value to your team and how to apply your business analysis skills. It will help you understand how you can use your business analysis skills to make sure your team builds the right thing. Kent McDonald Kent McDonald writes about and practices software product management. He has IT and product development experience in a variety of industries. Kent is the author of multiple books including Product Ownership in the Wild, Beyond Requirements, and his latest book, How to Be an Agile Business Analyst. He also provides just in time resources for product owners and business analysts at KBP.media. Thank you for listening to the program To get more valuable content to enhance your skills and advance your career, you can subscribe on iTunes. Also, reviews on iTunes are highly appreciated! I read each review and it helps keep me motivated to continue to bring you valuable content each week. The post MBA219: How To Be an Agile Business Analyst appeared first on Mastering Business Analysis.
4 minutes | a month ago
BA Toolbox – A3 Report
In this episode of the BA Toolbox, we explore the A3 report and it’s use in problem solving. Show Notes What’s an A3 report? An A3 report has several uses including business proposals and process improvements. However, it’s most commonly used for problem solving. If you have a tricky problem in your organization of with your project, perhaps an A3 report can help. The name A3 refers to the European paper size, which is similar to 11 by 17 inch tabloid paper in the United States. It’s big enough to fit a summary of the problem and solutions on a single page.There’s more than one format for an A3 report and it’s usually broken down into sections to help the team think through the problem and potential solutions. Those sections are usually: Define the problem or needUnderstand the current stateCreate a goal statement or determine the target stateDetermine the root cause of the problemIdentify potential countermeasuresDetermine which countermeasures you will implementCheck the impact of your countermeasuresUpdate work processes These problem solving steps are similar to W. Edward Deming’s Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle, Six Sigma’s DMAIC process (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control), and even elements from Design Thinking. Beyond taking the team through the problem solving approach, an A3 report is also a communication tool. It helps tell a story about the problem and what you’re doing about it. To get the most out of an A3 report (or any problem solving approach for that matter), you need to start with the right mindset. The team should view this as an opportunity to build their problem solving skills. It’s an opportunity to bring together a group of people with diverse viewpoints and knowledge to do something that matters; to work together to solve a tricky problem. If your organization doesn’t have an open and collaborative culture or if problems are seen as something to avoid instead of something to expose and solve, it’s going to be difficult to apply creative problem solving. If that’s the case for you, start by creating safety within the team. Be vulnerable yourself and thank people for raising concerns and issues. Help them shift from fear to a continuous improvement mindset. Listen to the full episode for more information on using the A3 report and click the button below for a sample A3 Report template. A3 Report TemplateDownload Thank you for listening to the program To get more valuable content to enhance your skills and advance your career, you can subscribe on iTunes. Also, reviews on iTunes are highly appreciated! I read each review and it helps keep me motivated to continue to bring you valuable content each week. The post BA Toolbox – A3 Report appeared first on Mastering Business Analysis.
27 minutes | 2 months ago
MBA218: Customer-Centric Transformation
Melissa Boggs discusses how the Scrum Alliance transformed into customer-centric teams and how you can have a greater customer focus. SHOW NOTES Over the past several years, many organizations have transformed the way they work and the way they’re organized. With Digital and Agile transformations and shifting from projects to products, organizations are trying to find better ways of working and deliver more customer value. Some forward-thinking organizations have even transformed to organize around the customer. This allows them to have greater customer focus and deliver value faster through fewer dependencies and hand-offs. The Scrum Alliance recently went through such a customer-centric transformation, which allowed them to focus on customer needs at their specific point in the journey. This also helps that organization better align with organizational priorities. They reorganized into customer-centric, interdisciplinary teams serving different customer segments. This allows them to discover new products and services that better meet their customers’ needs. Challenges One of the challenges faced by the Scrum Alliance when they transformed was the fear of changing the way they are working when they’re been successful. This required understanding the value in shifting to a customer-centric focus and saying ’no’ to some things. Another challenge is in the area of alignment. If you have a skill or discipline spread across several teams, how do you ensure alignment and consistency and avoid duplication of effort? Creating shared guiding principles and creating communities of practice help with alignment and consistency. Enabling the Transformation To enable the customer-centric transformation, the Scrum Alliance shifted their Sprint Reviews to include real customers. This allows them to get rapid feedback from customers, which helps them adapt to customer needs. They also created open-mic events every two weeks for teams to showcase their work to the rest of the organization. This helps with alignment and consistency between teams. In addition, teams shared stories of success and learnings through storytelling. The Scrum Alliance used their Slack storytelling channel to share stories about accomplishments, failures, and what they learned along the way. Storytelling also helps create psychological safety within the organization. Listen to the full episode to discover how your organization can shift its focus on the customer and increase customer value. “It starts with you, because when you embrace your own uniqueness, so will your team. When you demonstrate self-confidence, self-worth, and your strengths, they will feel the permission to do the same. When you tell your stories, so will they. At this intersection of strength, vulnerability, and uniqueness, that’s where thriving begins.”– Melissa Boggs YOUR HOMEWORKStart by getting clarity about who the customer is and their customer’s story. Then reflect to understand yourself and your relation to that customer. Melissa Boggs Melissa Boggs offers a unique blend of coaching expertise and executive experience. She is a leadership, agility, and culture coach and executive with background in leadership, business, and product development. She has worked with executive teams, software teams, marketers, and educators in domains such as healthcare, public education, technology, and finance. She is a former nonprofit executive and board member, having served on the Board of Directors for both Scrum Alliance and Agile Denver. Thank you for listening to the program To get more valuable content to enhance your skills and advance your career, you can subscribe on iTunes. Also, reviews on iTunes are highly appreciated! I read each review and it helps keep me motivated to continue to bring you valuable content each week. The post MBA218: Customer-Centric Transformation appeared first on Mastering Business Analysis.
6 minutes | 2 months ago
Lightning Cast: Agile Planning
Understanding the different levels of Agile planning and what they mean for you will help your team stay aligned and focused on achieving the right outcomes. Show Notes Responding to change over following a plan. This value listed in the Agile Manifesto doesn’t mean that we don’t do planning in Agile. In fact, we plan more in Agile than in traditional methods; we just do it differently. A common metaphor for planning in Agile is an onion. Each layer of the onion reflects another level of planning – from strategic to tactical. Let’s take a look at each of these layers and what it means to you. Strategic Planning The outermost layer of the Agile planning onion is the strategic level. At the strategic level of planning, organizations set their direction. It involves the mission and vision as well as long-term goals. This is multi-year planning. If you’re a Product Manager, Business Architect, or in another strategic role, you might provide input into the strategic plan by helping organizational leaders understand where the market is going and your organization’s capabilities. Common tools are SWOT Analysis and PEST or PESTLE Analysis. Portfolio Planning The next layer of the planning onion is the Portfolio level. This is where the organization decides what products or initiatives to work on. This is essentially where and how much the organization will invest. We can support this level of planning by providing input through business cases, business models, and other approaches. You may also be involved in the ideation of new products or new initiatives. In some cases, you may even recommend that certain initiatives be stopped due to changing market conditions or changing customer needs. Once portfolio planning is complete, the plan should serve as an input as to where we should focus effort and resources. Product Planning The next layer is Product planning. At this level, we determine the goals and objectives of the product and how we’ll achieve those outcomes. You’ll likely develop Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) for the product as well as a product roadmap. This level of planning provides context to the teams working on the product and is usually developed by a Product Manager in collaboration with stakeholders and subject matter experts. Remember that an Agile Roadmap isn’t just a Gannt Chart showing timing or different initiatives. A good roadmap is outcome based and may include options to achieve those outcomes as well as certain milestones such as a contractual or compliance required date. Your roadmap should also allow you to respond to changing market conditions. During Product Planning, you’ll also define the Product Goal and start building and ordering your product backlog. The innermost planning levels of release, iteration, and daily are considered team level planning. Release Planning At the Release level of planning, the team plans for the next major release. Even if you deploy continuously, this level of planning looks at the next coherent set of features or pieces of functionality. This is often where you may define the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or Minimum Marketable Features (MMF). Depending on your organization, at this level you might break down Epics into Features or help the team determine what can be achieved in the release. In some Agile scaling frameworks, a Feature is a larger set of work that can be completed within the release time box. You’ll also want to start breaking down the higher priority features into User Stories or other backlog items. Iteration Planning The next layer of the Agile planning onion is Iteration planning. If you’re using an iterative approach, this is where you plan for the next iteration or time box. In Scrum, this is known as Sprint Planning. If you’re a Product Owner or Business Analyst on an Agile team, you’ll need to get the User Stories and other backlog items to a ready state. This means they’re small, testable, well understood by the team, and meet the other definition of ready criteria. You might also be involved in helping the team refine and size the product backlog items prior to iteration planning. This helps ensure the team can properly forecast what they can complete in the iteration. If you use Scrum, you’ll define a Sprint Goal with the team as part of Sprint Planning. The Sprint Goal helps bring focus and alignment to the Scrum Team and encourages them to work together as a team rather than individuals. Daily Planning The final and innermost layer of the Agile planning onion is Daily planning. On a daily bases, team members get together to discuss the progress they’ve made, where they need help, and what they’ll do next taking any needed adjustments into account. If you’re on a Scrum Team, this is the Daily Scrum. Many teams make the mistake of turning the Daily Scrum into a status meeting. It’s actually a quick planning meeting that creates transparency into where we are and allows us to inspect progress and adjust. If you’re a Product Owner, Business Analyst, or someone else not working on the tasks associated with completing the work planned for the iteration, daily planning or the Daily Scrum is an opportunity to help the team adjust plans and remove impediments that are slowing down or stopping the team’s progress. You can also clarify any misunderstandings about the details or intent of the backlog items. Understanding the different layers of the Agile planning onion and the different levels of planning will help you and your team stay aligned and focus on the right things. Listen to the full episode to better understand the different levels of planning in Agile. Thank you for listening to the program To get more valuable content to enhance your skills and advance your career, you can subscribe on iTunes. Also, reviews on iTunes are highly appreciated! I read each review and it helps keep me motivated to continue to bring you valuable content each week. The post Lightning Cast: Agile Planning appeared first on Mastering Business Analysis.
23 minutes | 3 months ago
MBA217: Objectives and Key Results
Paul Niven helps us to understand Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), a goal-setting tool to set ambitious goals with measurable results. Show Notes Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) is a goal-setting system to help drive strategic execution. It’s a critical thinking framework and ongoing discipline to focus efforts to drive the company forward. In short, OKRs help your organization align and achieve important goals. OKRs go beyond simple goal setting in that there is a build-in approach for reflection and ongoing improvement. Many organizations use a dual cadence. That means that the highest level of the organization, they have longer term OKRs (typically annual) to set context. From there, other areas set 90-day OKRs that allow for frequent inspection and help to achieve the longer term OKRs. Teams will often use weekly check-ins and mid-quarter reviews to ensure we’re focused and achieving results. Objectives When crafting an OKR, start with the objective. An objective is a statement of a broad qualitative goal designed to propel the organization forward in a desired direction. It’s what the organization aspires to be. There’s an art and science to creating a good objective. There are three components to an effectively worded objective. Objectives should start with a verb. By their nature, objectives are action oriented.The objective should state what we aspire to do.Effective objectives should state the ‘why’ or ‘so that’. It explains why we want to do what we’re trying to achieve. Key Results The Key Results portion of the OKR tell us how we’ll measure progress and how we’ll know if we’ve achieved the objective. These are quantitative statements. There are two types of key results; metrics and milestones. When using a metric, it’s important to show the level of stretch by describing it in the format of “from X to Y”. For example, a Key Result may be “Increase click-through rate on the website from 27% to 43%”. Showing the amount of change in this way sets the context of the goal. Sometimes to get to a metric, we need to use a milestone Key Result. A milestone turns a binary activity into a Key Result. It’s an activity that will drive progress for the metric Key Result. An example of a milestone Key Result is “Build sales page on the website”. There are two conditions for milestone key results. They should be accompanied by a date (deadline) and it should be complimented with a metric key result. Common Challenges One of the common pitfalls with using ORKs is that the Key Results may have a lack of specificity. The use of generic words such as “launch” or “implement”. These vague words make it difficult for people to align because they may have different interpretations of what these words mean. The more specific and clear you make the goal, the more likely you are to achieve it. Another problem is that people often turn their OKRs into a long, uncoordinated list. To address this, make a story out of your OKRs. Once you have the objective, think about what the first thing you’ll need to do or measure to achieve that outcome and then the next and the next. Alternatively, start with the metric Key Result and work backwards from that measurable outcome. Listen to the full episode to understand how to use OKRs to stay aligned and achieve ambitious goals. HomeworkLearn more about OKRs and try it yourself by using the OKR formula to set a goal either for your next project or in your personal life. Links Paul’s website OKRsTraining.com Paul Niven Paul Niven is a management consultant, author, and noted speaker on the subjects of Strategy, Strategy Execution, Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), and Balanced Scorecard. Paul is the founder of both OKRsTraining.com and The Senalosa Group. The companies have assisted over two-hundred organizations around across the globe effectively execute their strategy. Thank you for listening to the program To get more valuable content to enhance your skills and advance your career, you can subscribe on iTunes. Also, reviews on iTunes are highly appreciated! I read each review and it helps keep me motivated to continue to bring you valuable content each week. The post MBA217: Objectives and Key Results appeared first on Mastering Business Analysis.
6 minutes | 3 months ago
Lightning Cast: POWER for Start Your Meetings
Stop the wasted time and money from ineffective meetings by giving your next meeting a POWER Start. Show Notes According to a recent Atlassian survey, professionals waste 31 hours each month on unproductive meetings. That’s about four full days wasted each month. In the U.S. alone, unnecessary meetings cost businesses 37 billion dollars in just in salaries. You can help stop this madness by giving your meetings some POWER. We’ve likely all received (or sent) meeting invitations with little more than a meeting title. This means that attendees likely won’t be properly prepared, the meeting may not achieve its intended goal, and you’ll likely waste time in yet another unproductive meeting. The POWER Start technique was developed by the Agile Coaching Institute to address the root of unproductive meetings. POWER is an acronym for Purpose, Outcomes, What’s in it for them, Engagement, and Roles and responsibilities. As you’re planning your meetings, think about the POWER Start. Begin with the Purpose. What’s the purpose of the meeting and why is the meeting necessary? Are you trying to inform, persuade, or make a decision? Perhaps it’s possible to get to this purpose by other means, such as distributing information through an email broadcast. Think about the right medium for your purpose. If you need to collaborate to make a decision, it’s likely that email isn’t the right channel. Next, consider the desired Outcomes of the meeting. What do you want to achieve by the end of the meeting? What does success look like? By considering and communicating the intended outcome of the meeting, attendees can come prepared to achieve that outcome. That might mean doing some homework before the meeting, extending the invitation to someone else, or not going at all if you’re not the right person to help get to that outcome. Once you understand the Purpose and Outcomes, think about why the attendees should come to the meeting. What’s in it for them and why should they care? Without the ‘what’s in it for me’, people may not be motivated to attend or help achieve the goal of the meeting. The first three pieces (Purpose, Outcomes, and What’s In It for Them) all lay the foundation for the meeting. It ensures that the meeting is actually needed, provides a clear focus for the meeting so that you’ll stay on track, and helps ensure the right people attend. It can also help avoid the numerous follow-ups and the meeting after the meeting that we so often see. But you’re not done yet. Next, you’ll need to consider how you’ll engage the meeting attendees. That engagement may span before, during, and after the meeting. Before the meeting, you may need to contact attendees individually or in a group communication to ensure that they understand the purpose and intended outcome as well as what’s expected of them in the meeting. Is there any information they need to bring to the meeting or any work they need to do to prepare? During the meeting, you may want to have an icebreaker to get people communicating and collaborating. Create a plan for how you’ll keep attendees interested and engaged during the entire meeting. After the meeting, you may need to engage stakeholders by sharing key decisions or following up on action items. The final piece of POWER Start is Roles and responsibilities. Think about the different roles that may be needed to have a successful meeting. Do you need a facilitator, a time keeper, a scribe? If so, who will fulfil those roles? Who will contribute what information during the meeting? Making roles clear before or at the start of the meeting helps everyone understand expectations. Taking a little time to consider the elements of the POWER Start technique and including appropriate information about the purpose and outcomes in the invitation will lead to more productive meetings. The time, money, and headaches you save are well worth the extra effort you put into planning effective meetings. Listen to this episode to ind out how to use the POWER Start facilitation technique and what to do if you’re in the receiving end of an invitation to a possibly ineffective meeting. https://blog.feedspot.com/business_analysis_podcasts/ Thank you for listening to the program To get more valuable content to enhance your skills and advance your career, you can subscribe on iTunes. Also, reviews on iTunes are highly appreciated! I read each review and it helps keep me motivated to continue to bring you valuable content each week. The post Lightning Cast: POWER for Start Your Meetings appeared first on Mastering Business Analysis.
23 minutes | 3 months ago
MBA216: Outcome Based Change
David Hawks shares an approach to transformations, projects, and large change initiatives by starting with the intended business outcomes. Show Notes Many transformations and large initiatives fail or don’t achieve their intended value. While the transformation, project, or large initiative may be “done”, if it doesn’t result in its intended business value, it has failed. Part of the reason for this is a lack of alignment. We often see transformations and large initiatives where the transformation or initiative itself is the goal. The effort is focused on the wrong goal or intention. Instead, we need to start with the end in mind. Understand what the outcome you’re trying to achieve is and focus on the activities that will help achieve that outcome. Begin with the end in mind. The goal is not to implement Agile practices or deliver Project X. The goal is to get the business outcome resulting from that change. Listen to the full episode to understand how to gain alignment and ensure your initiative is enabling the right outcomes. YOUR HOMEWORKChallenge yourself on your current of next initiative to think about the intended outcomes you’re trying to produce. Are why we’re undertaking this initiative if you don’t already have a clear understanding. What would success look like from a business outcome perspective? Links David’s website PathtoAgility.comAgileVelocity.com David Hawks David Hawks is the Founder and Chief Agilist of Agile Velocity. He’s a Certified Enterprise Coach and Certified Scrum Trainer who is passionate about helping organizations achieve true agility beyond the basic implementation of Agile practices. David’s primary focus is to guide leaders through their Agile transformation by helping to create successful transformation strategies and effectively manage organizational change with a focus on achieving real business results. Thank you for listening to the program To get more valuable content to enhance your skills and advance your career, you can subscribe on iTunes. Also, reviews on iTunes are highly appreciated! I read each review and it helps keep me motivated to continue to bring you valuable content each week. The post MBA216: Outcome Based Change appeared first on Mastering Business Analysis.
5 minutes | 3 months ago
Lightning Cast: Resistance to Change
Are you working on a change initiative? Overcome resistance to change using Goldratt’s Four Quadrants of Change. A lot of people talk about how difficult change is and how people resist change. People don’t actually resist change; they respond to a change by evaluating the change across four dimensions. These four dimensions make up Goldratt’s Four Quadrant’s on Change. The reason getting someone to change is hard or we perceive that people are resisting change is because we often only look at one of those dimensions; the positive consequence associated with the change. Most of us ignore the negative consequences of the change as well as the pluses and minuses of not changing. We need to present all four sides from the other person’s perspective. Look at the pluses and minuses of changing as well as the pluses and minuses of not changing. What’s the pot of gold or benefit for the person you’re trying to influence?What are their crutches – their risks, obstacles, and effort associated with the change?What are their alligators – their current problems that will be solved by the change?What are their mermaids – the things they consider positive today that they may lose with the change? Are there enough positives to outweigh the negatives? Is the pot of gold is large enough, alligator is dangerous enough, the effort and risk are small enough, and is the loss of the mermaids small enough? Remember to look at each of these dimensions from the other person’s perspective. If you’re working with a group of stakeholders, each may have different pots of gold, crutches, alligators, and mermaids. Thank you for listening to the program To get more valuable content to enhance your skills and advance your career, you can subscribe on iTunes. Also, reviews on iTunes are highly appreciated! I read each review and it helps keep me motivated to continue to bring you valuable content each week. The post Lightning Cast: Resistance to Change appeared first on Mastering Business Analysis.
31 minutes | 4 months ago
MBA215: The Challenges with Leading in Product Management
Roman Pichler discusses the challenges associated with leading in a Product Management role and what you can do to overcome those challenges. Roman Pichler, Pichler Consulting Roman Pichler is a leading agile product management and Scrum expert. Roman is the author of several books including “Agile Product Management with Scrum“, “Strategize“ and his latest book, “How to Lead in Product Management“. Roman is an active contributor to the London product management community and a regular speaker at international conferences. Roman was named one of the 20 most influential agile people in April 2012. Thank you for listening to the program To get more valuable content to enhance your skills and advance your career, you can subscribe on iTunes. Also, reviews on iTunes are highly appreciated! I read each review and it helps keep me motivated to continue to bring you valuable content each week. The post MBA215: The Challenges with Leading in Product Management appeared first on Mastering Business Analysis.
27 minutes | 7 months ago
MBA214: The BA Success Path
Laura Brandenburg shares her framework for career development; the Business Analyst Success Path. Show Notes Many Business Analysts struggle to understand how to get to the next step in their career. The way to advance in your career depends on where you are now. Charting your career path includes defining the “as is” and “to be” of your career. Laura’s Business Analyst Success Path framework highlights six stages. Explorer – This is when you’re first exploring the Business Analysis profession. You’re not yet committed to the BA role as a career. Intentional – You’ve made the decision to commit to being a Business Analyst. Official – You’re in an official Business Analyst role either with or without the actual title and you’re performing business analysis activities. Proven – You have a solid track record as a Business Analyst. Your experience may be within one specific area. Super Hero – You are confident that you can succeed in any project situation and you’re often sought after because people trust you and your work. Champion – You’re an expert in business analysis and a champion for the role. You can mentor, lead, train, and manage others. You may also establish frameworks that enable others to be successful. Listen to the full episode to understand how to progress from one stage to the next and grow in your career as a Business Analyst. https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/masteringbusinessanalysis/MBA214.mp3 Z Your Homework First, be clear on where you are now and where you want to be. From there, determine the specific action steps you must take to move towards your desired state. After three to six months, reevaluate where you are and where you want to go in your career. Links mentioned in this episode: Laura’s website, Bridging the Gap Laura’s Quick Start Program: https://training.bridging-the-gap.com/quick-w Episode 31: Starting a Career in Business Analysis Laura Brandenburg Bridging The Gap Laura Brandenburg is an internationally-recognized leader known for helping mid-career professionals start business analysis careers. Laura brings more than a decade of experience as a full-time business analyst to help you find transferable BA skills, expand your experience, and start your business analyst career with confidence. Laura is also the author of How to Start a Business Analyst Career. TwitterLinkedIn Thank you for listening to the program To get more valuable content to enhance your skills and advance your career, you can subscribe on iTunes and other podcatchers. Also, reviews on iTunes are highly appreciated! I read each review and it helps keep me motivated to continue to bring you valuable content each week. . The post MBA214: The BA Success Path appeared first on Mastering Business Analysis.
28 minutes | 9 months ago
MBA213: Applying Theory of Constraints
If you want to accelerate and deliver with greater speed and flexibility that’s critical to serving your customers, combine Agile with Theory of Constraints. Clarke Ching shows us how. Show Notes Perhaps you have Agile teams that are doing everything right; they’re limiting work in progress, communicating well, and delivering with quality. But maybe you want to accelerate and deliver with greater speed and flexibility that’s critical to serving your customers. Theory of Constraints is an approach to helping organizations achieve their goals by identifying bottlenecks. Listen to the full episode to understand how to combine Theory of Constraints and Agile practices to accelerate delivery. The post MBA213: Applying Theory of Constraints appeared first on Mastering Business Analysis.
33 minutes | 10 months ago
MBA212: Transforming Your Work with Modern Agile
Joshua Kerievsky shares the four principles of Modern Agile and how they can help you find better ways of working and achieve better business outcomes. Show Notes Agile is about finding better ways of working. To continuously improve and achieve the right outcomes for your organization and your customers, we need understand foundational concepts that allow teams to make great products. Modern Agile methods are comprised of four guiding principles that can help you uncover better ways of working and get better results. Make Safety a Prerequisite Safety is a key principle in any team or organization. Without safety, there won’t be much innovation and there won’t be a lot of high performance. Making safety a prerequisite is about safety in all aspects. It includes physical safety, financial safety, psychological safety, reputational safety, and anything else that contributes to a safe environment. Note that safety is not the same as playing it safe. We want an environment and culture in which you’re able to take reasonable risks and make mistakes. Beyond creating a safe to fail environment, safety also includes working in a way in which we’re experimenting and learning so that we don’t waste time and money building things no one wants. Experiment & Learn Rapidly We often don’t really know how good our work is. Without trying new things and getting rapid feedback, we are at risk of creating the wrong solution. Instead, we want to experiment rapidly and learn rapidly. To do that, we need to create an environment in which we can quickly and cheaply experiment and get rapid feedback. This allows us to innovate and build products people love. Make People Awesome It’s important to know what you’re trying to achieve; what success looks like. Making people awesome is about understanding where you want to go and giving people super powers. Give people the ability to do something amazing, something they couldn’t so before. This applies not only to your customers, but to your team members as well. Create an environment where we can make each other awesome through support, psychological safety, and radical candor. Deliver Value Continuously Finding ways to deliver value sooner is a key principle that enables the organization and customers to get value quickly (through revenue or through the value that the solution provides to users). It also allows us to get feedback from customers sooner so that we can adapt quickly. We need to invest in ways that allow us to create in smaller pieces. Don’t try to deliver the fanciest thing, try to figure out where the value is and deliver that value sooner. Listen to the full episode to understand how to apply these principles on your team and in your organization. YOUR HOMEWORKThe Product Owner role is best filled by someone who isn’t fully controlling what gets build. Instead, create an environment where everyone (developers and other people on the team) can experiment with their ideas.A good Product Owner needs to be a good facilitative leader and encourage everyone to think about what we can do to make people awesome.Help the team to understand the customer and their needs and then create space to experiment with new ideas. Links Mentioned in this Episode Modern Agile websiteThe Modern Agile Show on YouTubeIndustrial Logic Joshua Kerievsky Joshua is the CEO of Industrial Logic, one of the oldest and most well-respected agile consultancies on the planet. Since 1996, Joshua and his global network of experts have helped people in teams across many industries leverage the wisdom and power of modern development methods. Joshua most recently created Modern Agile to help people and organizations benefit from a principle-based approach to agility. Modern Agile graphical assets are property of Joshua Kerievsky and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Thank you for listening to the program To get more valuable content to enhance your skills and advance your career, you can subscribe on iTunes and other podcatchers. Also, reviews on iTunes are highly appreciated! I read each review and it helps keep me motivated to continue to bring you valuable content in each episode. The post MBA212: Transforming Your Work with Modern Agile appeared first on Mastering Business Analysis.
27 minutes | a year ago
MBA211: Adaptive Leadership
In this time of unrelenting change, we need leadership at all levels. Here’s what you need to help your team succeed. HOW NOTES We live in a time of unrelenting change. To enable teams and organizations to deal with this new reality, we need a different approach to leadership at all levels. Adaptive Leadership is a practice developed by a Harvard Psychiatrist that allows us to better adapt to change. This is even more important as more and more organizations embrace Agile ways of working. When people experience change, there’s often emotional and cognitive distortions. Change impacts your emotional state by causing under stress and triggering the fight, flight, or freeze response. At a cognitive level, change also causes loss regret, which means that people would rather do nothing because they fear doing the wrong thing. It also causes us to overestimate the impact and duration of a change. Adaptive leadership is much different from the heroic leader standing on top of a mountain. It’s more of a leadership lattice with everyone playing the part of a leader. We’re all leading, all talking responsibility, and all mobilizing with the understanding that we need to adapt. Adaptive leadership is about empowering people. Listen to the full episode to understand how you can apply the principles of Adaptive Leadership. https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/masteringbusinessanalysis/MBA211.mp3 YOUR HOMEWORK Find a thought leader and start absorbing information. That will help train your mind to think in a different way. Hold a weekly self-retrospective. Write down 2-5 things you did that week and reflect on what you could have done better. Links Mentioned in This Episode SoftEd.com Purchase one training class, get one free David Mantica VP and General Manager at SoftEd David Mantica believes leaders should be servants to their organizations and people. He is the Vice President and General Manager at SoftEd, a consultancy that offers advisory and education services to help organizations discover new ways of working for better business outcomes. David is a frequent speaker on Project Management, Business Analysis, and leadership. LinkedIn Thank you for listening to the program To get more valuable content to enhance your skills and advance your career, you can subscribe on iTunes and other podcatchers. Also, reviews on iTunes are highly appreciated! I read each review and it helps keep me motivated to continue to bring you valuable content each week. . The post MBA211: Adaptive Leadership appeared first on Mastering Business Analysis.
20 minutes | a year ago
MBA210: Vital Communication
Communication is vital to success on teams and in organizations. In this episode, Tommy Re shows us how to dramatically improve communication. Show Notes One of the issues holding organizations back is the development of their leaders. A lot of what it takes to develop as leaders are the communication skills necessary for them to work effectively with other people. According to one survey, 86% of employees cited poor communication as a leading cause of workplace failures. Poor communication is also a leading cause of project failures. With changes in the way we work in today’s environment such as working in teams and Agile approaches, there’s often less hierarchy. People need to be able to work effectively in teams and one of the most important things in that context is communication. That includes being able to persuade others and candle conflict. What You Can Do to Improve Your Communication To improve your communication, start by building your emotional intelligence. Understanding your feelings and how you’re perceived by others is a critical step in better communication. From there, you also need to notice and recognize the preferred communication style of others. Do they speak very directly in short bullets or do they prefer a lot of detail? Without an understanding of how your emotions influence your communication and awareness of your communication preferences and those of others, you’ll experience clashes around how to work well together. Communication is VITAL To improve your communication and get your point across, use the acronym VITAL. Make your message Visual, Interesting, Time sensitive, Action oriented, and Logical. About 75% of the neurons in our brains that process sensory information are dedicated to vision. Using visuals in your communication reduces complexity and evokes emotion. You can also use descriptive words and metaphors to allow people to create pictures in their minds. With all of the data coming at us today, to compete for people’s attention, we need to make our communication interesting. One way to do that is to break a pattern. Change the context and style of your communication to make it interesting. Everyone in organizations is very busy. Because of that, we need to be time sensitive and get to the essence of our message. To be concise and still get your message across, you need to know your audience, understand their communication preferences, and adapt your communication style. Making your communication action oriented is all about helping your audience understand what to do with the information. Using verbs in your message will help make it more action oriented. Finally, we want to make sure our communication is logical. Is our message well structures, organized, and are we using sound reasoning? Listen to the full episode to understand how to apply these principles to your emails and in group settings to improve your communication. YOUR HOMEWORKKnow your audience.For your next meeting or communication opportunity, think about their perspective and what’s in it for them. Also consider their communication preferences and adapt the way you present information.Once you’ve thought it through, take time to plan your communication. Consider the most important aspects on your communication and plan out your approach and structure. Links Mentioned in this Episode Tommy’s website: www.TalentIsVital.comConnect with Tommy on LinkedIn Tommy Re is the founder and principal of Vital Talent. Tommy is passionate about helping organizations thrive by working with them to identify and develop the talents of individual contributors, leaders and teams. He works with executives and business leaders to diagnose barriers to high performance and design appropriate talent solutions that lead to individual and organizational success. Thank you for listening to the program To get more valuable content to enhance your skills and advance your career, you can subscribe on iTunes and other podcatchers. Also, reviews on iTunes are highly appreciated! I read each review and it helps keep me motivated to continue to bring you valuable content in each episode. The post MBA210: Vital Communication appeared first on Mastering Business Analysis.
31 minutes | a year ago
MBA209: Visual Thinking
Grant Wright Shares simple Visual Thinking tools and practices to help your team get aligned and retain information. Show Notes Do you want to increase retention of information, ensure alignment and a shared understanding, and increase creativity? Visual Thinking can help get everyone on the same page, increase the team’s ability to solve problems, and help everyone remember what was discussed. Listen to the full episode to understand the tools and techniques of Visual Thinking and how they can benefit you on your next initiative. Additional Resources Useful books on Visual Thinking: The Sketchnote Handbook by Mike RohdeThe Sketchnote Workbook by Mike RohdeVisual Thinking by Willemien BrandThe Non-Designer’s Design Book – Design and Typographic Principles for the Visual Novice by Robin WilliamsThinking With Your Pen by Martin Haussmann Other related books: The Art of Explanation – Making your ideas, products & services easier to understand by Lee LefeverResonate – Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte Other useful resources: Www.verbaltovisual.com – Doug Neil – great videos on sketch noting, suitable for beginnersWww.gamestorming.com – Dave Gray’s co-creation tools with lots of great visual facilitation ideas Www.xplane.com – Dave Gray’s consulting company – useful blog & other infoWww.innovationgames.com – Luke Hoffman YOUR HOMEWORKDon’t be intimidated by visual thinking. Start small with doodles in your own notebook or add a few hand-drawn visuals in your next PowerPoint deck.Don’t forget that using colored Post-It Notes is a form of visualization too. Get inspired by searching Instagram for #VisualThinking.Finally, start building your own hand-drawn icon library by having several pre-defined shapes and images that you practice and can draw. Links Mentioned in this Episode Grant’s website: scarlettsolutions.co.uk Grant Wright has over 20 years’ experience of delivering and leading enterprise-scale transformation and digital service design across government and financial services sectors. He is a Principal Consultant and Director of Scarlett Solutions, a UK based consultancy specializing in business analysis/architecture, agile product management and business transformation. He actively practices Visual Thinking throughout his work and is passionate about its ability to create alignment, improve understanding and generate creative ideas. Thank you for listening to the program To get more valuable content to enhance your skills and advance your career, you can subscribe on iTunes and other podcatchers. Also, reviews on iTunes are highly appreciated! I read each review and it helps keep me motivated to continue to bring you valuable content in each episode. The post MBA209: Visual Thinking appeared first on Mastering Business Analysis.
24 minutes | a year ago
MBA208: Facilitative Leadership
Author Michael Levine helps us unleash the power of large, diverse teams of smart, experienced individuals to deliver positive business results. Show Notes How can you unleash the power of large, diverse groups of smart, experienced individuals to deliver positive business results through software development? Large-scale software development is a complex endeavor, especially in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world. While groups of people have come together in the past to achieve great things (build the pyramids, send humans to the moon), the complexity and scale of software development requires a different type of leadership, especially in an Agile environment. For large, diverse teams to successfully develop software solutions, we need people who can both lead those teams to the right outcomes and create the type of environment within the organization where teams can succeed. Facilitative Leadership Command and control or directive leadership styles don’t create the environment where Agile software development teams can succeed. A Facilitative Leader uses a different style of leadership. They use the elements of rigor, alignment, and efficiency to achieve better outcomes. Rigor leads to better decision-making by establishing an approach to decision-making. Defining the decision to be made and using meaningful data removes bias and leads to better decisions. To overcome the complexity of many individuals creating a large software solution, the Facilitative Leader must ensure alignment by setting a vision and common goals. Alignment towards a compelling goal leads to everyone’s engagement and the entire team contributing their diverse skills and thinking to achieving that goal. By developing a rigorous approach to decision making and gaining alignment within the team, the Facilitative Leader can create efficiency by eliminating waste. Ensuring that the team is able to focus on achieving the goal is critical. Meetings need to have goals and agendas that bring the team members closer to developing the right software solution. Listen to the full episode to understand how to put people first and become a facilitative leader. YOUR HOMEWORKGo on a Gemba Walk.Go see real users and observe how they use the system. This gives you insights to better and more valuable solutions for your customers. Links Mentioned in this Episode Michael’s website: ThriveGlobal.comGet Michael’s book, People Over Process Michael Levine is an expert on lean and agile software development and the author of three books. His previous books are Tale of Two Systems: Lean and Agile Software Development for Business Leaders, and Tale of Two Transformations: Bringing Lean and Agile Software Development to Life. His third book is People Over Process: Leadership for Agility. Thank you for listening to the program To get more valuable content to enhance your skills and advance your career, you can subscribe on iTunes and other podcatchers. Also, reviews on iTunes are highly appreciated! I read each review and it helps keep me motivated to continue to bring you valuable content in each episode. The post MBA208: Facilitative Leadership appeared first on Mastering Business Analysis.
28 minutes | a year ago
MBA207: Bad Behaviors in the Workplace
Paul Pelletier helps us to understand the root causes of disrespectful behaviors at work and how to address them. Show Notes Have you ever witnessed toxic behaviors that bring down a team or lead to project failures? Bad behaviors can come in a variety of forms; from rolling your eyes when someone is talking to outright bullying. These disrespectful behaviors disrupt meetings, lead to a lack of collaboration, and cost organizations millions of dollars each year in failed projects and employee turnover. But what can we do about these bad behaviors? Paul Pelletier provides some tips and advice on how to approach these issues and address them before they have a negative effect on the team. Listen to the full episode to understand the root cause of these disrespectful behaviors and how to address them. Addressing Bad Behaviors at Work YOUR HOMEWORKSpend a few minutes creating rules of engagement or ground rules with the team so that you can refer back to what was agreed when bad behaviors start. Links Mentioned in this Episode Paul’s website: PushingPastImpossible.com Paul Pelletier has been a corporate lawyer, an executive, a project manager, and is frequent keynote speaker. He’s a ground breaking expert in bullying, workplace respect & conflict management and the author of “The Workplace Bullying Handbook”. Thank you for listening to the program To get more valuable content to enhance your skills and advance your career, you can subscribe on iTunes and other podcatchers. Also, reviews on iTunes are highly appreciated! I read each review and it helps keep me motivated to continue to bring you valuable content in each episode. The post MBA207: Bad Behaviors in the Workplace appeared first on Mastering Business Analysis.
24 minutes | a year ago
MBA206: Succeeding with Analytics
Jim Rushton helps us to understand why 80% of analytics projects fail and what you can do to make sure yours succeeds. Show Notes Many organizations are implementing analytics programs. Unfortunately, four out of five analytics projects fail. Listen to the full episode to understand why analytics projects fail and what you can do to ensure success on your next analytics initiative. Make your analytics projects successful YOUR HOMEWORKStart with developing a lexicon and defining terms so that everyone is speaking the same language and there’s a common understanding of terms. Links Mentioned in this Episode Armera AnalyticsJim’s book, Guaranteed Analytics: A Prescriptive Approach to Monetizing All Your Data Jim Rushton began his career in analytics working with some of the biggest consulting companies in the world, including Accenture, Deloitte Consulting, and IBM Global Services. Leveraging his experience, he helped found Armeta Analytics where he and his team have helped Fortune 1000 companies learn how to get the most out of their analytics programs. Jim is also the author of Guaranteed Analytics: A Prescriptive Approach to Monetizing All Your Data Thank you for listening to the program To get more valuable content to enhance your skills and advance your career, you can subscribe on iTunes and other podcatchers. Also, reviews on iTunes are highly appreciated! I read each review and it helps keep me motivated to continue to bring you valuable content in each episode. The post MBA206: Succeeding with Analytics appeared first on Mastering Business Analysis.
6 minutes | a year ago
Lightning Cast: BA Goals Revisited
Building on last year’s episode about BA performance goals, we discuss how to choose the right goals and achieve them. Business Analyst Goals Revisited The post Lightning Cast: BA Goals Revisited appeared first on Mastering Business Analysis.
26 minutes | a year ago
MBA205: Beyond Data Literacy
Lori Silverman helps us get real value from data by developing core competence and creating the culture needed to support collaborative data-informed decision making. The post MBA205: Beyond Data Literacy appeared first on Mastering Business Analysis.
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