Creating BA Competency

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As part of our Live from BAWorld: Boston series, I just heard a talk from Karen McKay at Doreen Evans Associates (DEA). She discussed building a BA competency in your organization. Her talk was focused on the high-level need for such a model and what the components of it are. I think a next level of discussion that would be interesting is tactics you could use to create one yourself – which specific tools and tactics work.

At DEA, they use a model that is very similar to the CMM, with five levels of competency: initial, repeatable, defined, managed, optimized and have helped build this at a handful of organizations. We do something similar to build BA maturity in organizations, but I haven’t actually seen it laid out next to the CMM model quite like this. At the requirements process level, they use requirements models which I applaud – context diagrams, org charts, use cases, process flows, DFDs, etc. This talk further validated what I’m seeing in industry – alas, models are really the current state now. So if you write your requirements in plain old text, I fear that is really seen as out-of-date “technology” and you need to look at visualization techniques.
Something interesting that she did with her slides was to describe parts of their competency models using requirements models. For example, there is a swimlane diagram to show the BA role – clearly showing how BA activities relate to IT and PM functions. I haven’t done much of this recently and think it’s a great idea that I will use.
Anyway, this is a topic that I’m definitely interested in as we try to help customers build their competency around requirements as well. It seems like organizations are really recognizing the value of BAs now!

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