I attended the Building Business Capability 2012 Conference last week. It is a collection of different tracks that allows attendees to hear from a variety of different speakers. The tracks are: Business Rules, Business Analysis, Business Process, Business Architecture and Business Strategy and Transformation. As a BSA I was interested in the Business Analysis Forum, but also took time to attend sessions in the Business Process and Business Architecture forums. The Business Analysis Forum is the official conference of the Intenational Institue of Business Analysis (IIBA) and I attended sessions with topics ranging from how to elicit non-functional requirements to how to manage the "rock star" BAs in your organization. I attended last year's conference and felt this year showed movement forward as the BA profession becomes more mature.

The theme of this year's conference was "Creating the agile enterprise". My colleague, Margy Thomas, has written about the various keynotes she attended and the theme of agility. I could not help but compare this conference to last year's. A major theme of last year, especially in the area of business analysis was setting up the frameworks for success. This included many sessions on creating a Business Analysis Center of Excellence (BACOE) and providing the analysts in your organization with the tools to do their job. This year I felt the conference took a step forward. Instead of continuing to just mention tools, many of the sessions were on how to discover and solve the problems facing companies. In fact, one of the speakers mentioned that the unofficial theme for the conference was on how to provide value to your organization. To many, the Business Analyst is still seen as a glorified note taker who writes down what the business wants and then hands it to the developers to make it happen. A BA with the right problem solving skills and experience can bring more to their organization. As the role continues to mature and the old misconceptions fade away organizations across the world are seeing the value in not only having BAs, but training them and equipping them to provide as much value as possible. The IIBA has estimated that there are over one million BAs in the United States and that number will only grow as the capabilities of BAs do. To encourage this, some of the session topics about business analysis included

  • The Chief Influence Agent
  • Using Business Objectives to Kill Scope and Launch Better Products
  • Dont Hesitate... Take Risks to Innovate

This conference helped me in a number of ways. First, it provided the opportunity to meet other BAs from across the world and share the ways we are adding value. It also reinforced the methods I have been using and provided new ways to solve the problems that I encounter. In the coming days I will write more about some of the specific sessions I attended and what I learned.