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Directors' blog

IIBA and PMI Collaborating in Milton Keynes

The first joint event from the IIBA and PMI UK Chapters took place in Milton Keynes on 2nd October with over fifty people attending from both Business Analysis and Project Management disciplines. It was lovely to meet and talk to business analysts who work locally and were very welcoming.

There were three speakers on the evening and it was kicked off by Paul Minns from Hudson who spoke about the 3D skills assessment model they have developed and use in the recruitment of Business Analysts. The skills assessment is based on the SFIA framework and has enabled Hudson to work with companies to reduce the time to hire, lower the cost of recruitment and fully integrate with established recruitment processes. SFIA has been developed by e-skills UK and is supported by BCS the Charted Institute for Change. It has an extensive range of roles and competencies defined for many roles involved in IT and Business Change.

Annette Andresen from The Change Facilitator then spoke to us about stakeholder engagement, stressing very much that working with stakeholders is about engagement and not management. Annette provided the audience with many tips on how to achieve successful engagement with a range of stakeholders we are likely to meet whilst working on a Business Change programme or project. This included a grid she uses when planning stakeholder engagement which assesses stakeholders in terms of their level of support for the Change project and level of influence.

Other things covered by Annette were about how to present material to our stakeholders in the most effective way. She encouraged us to think about the message we want to convey and urged us to ensure that we start any interaction with a stakeholder with setting the context for the meeting/workshop including background of the project if the stakeholder is not involved on a day to day basis.

Annette then went on to speak about developing material for stakeholders including PowerPoint presentations and urged us to be clear on the purpose of the slide pack before putting it together, is it for a presentation or is it a reading document?

If for a presentation, some tips Annette gave us were:

The final session for the evening was a half hour discussion around the PM and BA working better together facilitated by me and Peter Parkes of Peak Performance, we are both NLP trainers. To open the debate we gave both a PM and BA perspective of how they may view a project. For example the PM is looking to close down scope early, keep to budget and defer additional functionality to a later release, whilst the BA is keen to ensure the business goals and needs are well defined and all perspectives are taken into account before closing scope. There was then a discussion with the audience on what competencies make a good BA and a good PM. Overall there were many similarities with each role using their competencies to gain a different perspective and view of the project and both roles having an overall vision to transform a business through delivering change.

Thank you to Penny Farrar of PMI UK and Karl Shepherd of IIBA UK for organising the event, let's hope this is the start of much collaboration between the IIBA and PMI in the UK.

Corrine Thomas
Operations Director

Insights into the annual IIBA UK strategy meeting

One spring-like afternoon on London's South Bank, a collective of likeminded individuals met in a windowless room. It was a scene that many business analysts would recognise, with a whiteboard at one end of the room, a flip chart, and all manner of technical aids scattered around to be used or discarded in favour of a more analogue approach.

Those likeminded individuals were the full Board of Directors for IIBA UK, less one who had fallen ill. It was an annual occasion to meet face-to-face, set apart from the regular virtual meetings. For a collection of unpaid volunteers it was a big commitment to spend 4 hours away from the day job, but so rewarding to work with such highly capable individuals. It also offered an intriguing insight into the individuals behind the names and the voices. Who would have thought one member of the Board was adept at knitting whilst fully engaged in the proceedings; just think of the productivity gains if we were all so gifted at multi-tasking.

Core purpose: to unite a community of professionals to create better business outcomes.

t was true, we had a very worthy purpose, which framed the strategic objectives that were discussed and refined. As with previous meetings of this type, a key enabler was the Business Model Canvas. This is a framework for developing a business model in a single page view, enabling links to be understood, and gaps in thinking identified and closed. Further information about the Business Model Canvas and how it is used can be found at http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/canvas.

Although we have twice before defined and refined a Business Model Canvas, with new directors arriving on the Board since the last refresh we took the opportunity to start with a blank canvas, validating against the prior version towards the end of the meeting. With fresh insights and high energy levels, the Board members set about defining the Value Proposition, Customer Segments and Key Activities, among a number of other areas within the business model. In total, 300 post-its were used to complete the model, which David Reinhardt described afterwards as the "busiest Business Model Canvas that I have helped to create". The usefulness derives from the prioritisation of the output and its use to confirm and refocus the work that is undertaken by the Board and the many volunteers working for IIBA UK.

Key components from this work will be shared for all to see on the IIBA UK website. In the meantime, here are some of the soundbites from Board members when assessing the achievements of the afternoon:

"intrigued to see what our value proposition was, which has been validated today" - Karl Shepherd

"great that we think alike, build on ideas, and see the same areas of importance" - Tina Schuster

"phenomenal work done, we can see a lot of activities happening consistently, and now need to refocus on the value proposition, validating with engaged volunteers" - Adrian Reed

"proof of the pudding is in the eating" - David Reinhardt

"oops, dropped a stitch" - Tina Schuster

The Website Replacement Project

In my role as Operations Director I am currently overseeing the implementation of a new website for the IIBA UK Chapter to provide our members with an enhanced user experience and the board with a more efficient platform from which to administer and communicate with our membership. In the UK we are at the forefront of the technology plans for the whole of the IIBA.

Work on the website replacement was started by David Avis, my predecessor as Operations Director and Joe DaSilva, our previous Chapter president. It was clear at the time that the current website was not serving the needs of the UK Chapter and its members due to limited capabilities of the platform and constraints around what updates can be made to the current site. The project was kicked off by capturing a set of requirements which were used to select a supplier to develop the site for us. We had a shortlist of suppliers from which we chose the one that was able to satisfy us that they could meet our mandatory requirements, represented best value for money and we were confident that we could work with very collaboratively. During the requirements elicitation ideas were also documented for the look and feel of the new site plus desired user experience.

Since development of the new site commenced early in 2014, we have worked collaboratively with our supplier using user stories, a survey to provide input on the look and feel for the site and run a series of focus groups with a number of volunteers. The new website will be released in two stages; the first release will cover the migration of all existing data, the key back-end processes we need to run the Chapter and the current static content. This will be followed within a couple of months by the second release where all remaining processes will be put in place plus enhanced content. Prior to the second release we plan to run further focus groups and will complete an Information Architecture review. Our aim is to have a website which is an informative and interactive community hub for the IIBA UK Chapter. If you have any ideas on content for the new website or would like to participate in the usability testing please get in touch.

Corrine Thomas
Operations Director

London BAs defy tube strike

It is in times of adversity when groups of people naturally club together for the greater good. Whether a tube strike and heavy rain that brought more flooding to the south east would count as an adversity is perhaps debatable, but for those who were able to attend the IIBA networking event on 5th February there was a vibrant atmosphere to enjoy. The outside woes were forgotten, well, with the exception of some comments about the wisdom of the strike.

Numbers were down on a typical London event, but with some 40 people in attendance, there was a chance to engage in many a varied conversation. Personally I was able to discuss themes that crossed the whole breadth of topics of importance to business analysts, and pick up on some exciting ideas for future London events. I also received many requests for further networking events, a testament to the usefulness and enjoyment that they provide.

One of the most heartening sights during the evening was the way the community embraces new attendees. There were a number of new faces arriving by themselves. I saw that each and every one was very quickly in deep conversation, never left to feel like an outsider. That is a great strength of the community. Long may it continue.

Andrew P Turner
Communities Director (London)

Blog entry 3: Webinars, Charity IT Leaders, PMs and more... (21 Nov - 24 Dec)

Wow, what a busy few weeks for IIBA UK it has been. Here are a few highlights of particular activities that I've been involved with. This only scratches the surface of some of the awesome stuff that the team across the branches and board are doing, and in future weeks I anticipate that other board members will add to this blog also.

2014 will be an exciting year for IIBA UK. Season's greetings and I hope to catch up with you at an event soon.

Enjoy :)


22 November: A meeting at a South-coast University

One thing we're extremely keen on at IIBA UK is to further the profession of business analysis. This involves many activities and covers many angles, and one angle that we're always keen to explore is getting understanding and knowledge of the profession within universities. It's a long-term strategy, but the students of today are tomorrow's BAs, PMs and exec.

A chance conversation a few weeks ago had provided me with an opportunity to meet with a professor at a well-known South-coast business school. In fact, I'd been targetted for some market research... however after the call I got talking about business analysis, and sensed the opportunity to talk further.

I had a really useful meeting, and I have been invited to present to the students next year to give a "real-world" view of business analysis, and to help them understand how they might get into the career. More importantly, the door is now open -- as with any relationship, these first tentative steps can yield mutual benefit over time!

We're always looking for opportunities to spread the work about IIBA UK and the BA profession. If you have any ideas, or can facilitate any introductions, please do get in touch.

28 November: Meeting with UXPA President

Today, I met with the president of the UK Chapter of the User Experience Professional Association. The UXPA is an organisation that represents the User Experience community, and it feels like there would be huge benefit in getting the BA and UX communities to speak more often. This is something I've been thinking for a while, and I was really pleased when one of our members made the introduction to the UXPA president (Thanks Nick D.!).

We had a really useful introductory conversation. We agreed that a joint event would be a good starting point -- in fact some of you may remember that we held a joint event with UXPA a few years ago. I hope that we'll be able to build on that momentum, and work together more frequently. The initial event will be in London, since UXPA's membership base is largely London focused. However, if you are on a branch committee and have an interest in this area, please contact your Communities Director.

I'm pleased to say that Andrew P Turner is at the reins of the first joint event, and I look forward to hearing more as time progresses!

28 November: "Big Data" IIBA UK Webinar with Paul Gerrard (& virtual events well attended)

You may have noticed that over the past couple of months we've been experimenting with running virtual events. We previously ran a virtual event entitled "presenting with panache", which received excellent feedback. Today I chaired an equally interesting, but very different webinar. Our speaker was Paul Gerrard from Gerrard consulting, and he provided a really interesting insight into Big Data. He went beyond the hype, and discussed what big data actually is, what it means for business and what it means for projects.

If you didn't catch the webinar live, you can view the recording on our SlideShare site.

We've been really encouraged to see that every virtual event we've held has been signed up to maximum capacity. This tells us that you, as members, really value this channel of event. For this reason, I'm pleased to announce that we're aiming to hold 7 virtual events in 2014. If you have any ideas on topics or speakers, or indeed if you are passionate about a topic and you'd like to speak, please do get in touch.

We're also pleased to announce after the success of last years event, we'll be working closely with Intel to run Intel BA Web 2014. This is a virtual conference with a difference. Keep an eye on our events page for further information!

2 December: NW&E Branch Weekly Call

Today I dialed in to one of the NW&E Branch's weekly call. The NW&E branch run some awesome events, as do all of our other branches, and the NW&E team meet weekly to discuss strategies and tactics. Given they meet frequently, I was keen to meet with them to outline IIBA UK's strategic objectives for 2014/15, and to give the committee members the opportunity to raise any questions.

Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, there was an unexpectedly high last-minute drop-out rate for the meeting. Only four of the eleven invitees could attend, which was a real shame, however I was keen that the meeting went ahead. One of the challenges with being an entirely voluntary organisation is finding a time slot that everyone can make, and I fully appreciate the difficulty of prioritising IIBA UK duties against work. It's a dilemma that every volunteer faces! However, technology came to the rescue -- I was able to record the call and presentation so those who couldn't attend could watch it later. This was a real win/win: It meant that the call could go ahead, without anyone needing to miss it.

The team raised some really interesting questions and I was pleased that I was able to answer them. To anyone in any branch team: Please remember that any member of the board would be delighted to attend your committee meetings. Just get in touch and we can discuss things further.

Our branch teams across the UK run awesome events and do awesome things. I'm really pleased that we have branches in Scotland, NW&E, Midlands, London, South West and a new branch in Wales launching in 2014. It's an exciting time to be involved with IIBA UK!

4 December: Website project update meeting

One of the biggest projects that the IIBA UK team are currently running is a project to overhaul our website. If you are reading this blog, you will no doubt note that the user experience on the website leaves a lot to be desired! Not only this, we rely on a number of disparate "satellite" systems in the background, and we're keen to bring things together to save effort, money and provide a better experience for our members.

It would have been very easy to just go out and "buy" an off-the-shelf web package, install it and try to make it work for us. However, as a team of analysts we were keen to really think about why we need a website, who uses it and what they need to use it for. We collectively came up with some requirements, taking into account suggestions from the wider community, and we went through a vendor selection process.

We're now at a really exciting stage where we've signed a contract with a vendor and it's becoming very "real". We've seen some early design prototypes, and we're working on prioritising a minimum viable product. We'll be in touch when we have more to share, but I'm certain that you'll find the new website a huge improvement. We're a way off yet, but we'll share more updates in due course! If you're interested in being involved in the project, and perhaps reviewing early prototypes once they become available, please do get in touch.

9 December: EMEA IIBA Call

I attended the Europe, Middle East & Asia IIBA chapter forum today, via teleconference. It was interesting to hear the challenges and opportunities that different chapters around the world face. This is an important forum, and I look forward to getting to know other chapter leadership teams in due course.

12 December: Spoke at Charity IT Leaders' Forum

I'm really pleased to report that I was invited to speak at the Charity IT Leaders' Forum in London. This forum represents many of the major charities in the UK, and is frequented by exec-level stakeholders, typically CIOs.

My presentation was short and punchy and explained what business analysis is -- and specifically that it isn't just about IT. In fact, I have a strongly held belief that there is no such thing as an IT project -- only business projects that involve IT (and may well also involve processes, people, organisational changes etc). I was really pleased that this message seemed to resonate; in fact many of those present spoke of a need to bridge the gap between IT and business.

My presentation had three key takeaways:

  1. Business analysis saves organisations money
  2. It's not just about IT (It starts at business strategy)
  3. It's holistic (taking into account people, process, organisation AND IT change).

I was also able to talk about what IIBA UK do, and I hope that we'll see some charities becoming involved with IIBA UK. Watch this space!

15 December: HMRC "List 3" status achieved

As some of you may be aware, for the past 12 months I have been battling with HMRC to get IIBA recognised as a "professional association" for income tax purposes. This is significant as it means that our members will be able to claim tax relief against their membership fees. Indeed, if you are a member, you may be able to claim tax back against future subscription fees!

I am pleased to say that after countless e-mails, two formal complaints and a test-case put forward to the first tier tribunal by a much wealthier organisation that we were able to benefit from HMRC HAVE FINALLY APPROVED THE APPLICATION! HMRC have confirmed they will recognise IIBA UK Chapter and IIBA HQ (Canada). This has been backdated to April 2013.

What this means for you if you are an individual member who is also a UK Income Tax payer:

It is possible that you may be entitled to claim tax relief against the amount you pay for your IIBA UK and IIBA subscriptions.

Based on today's USD to GBP FX rate, and based on our understanding of the tax system, a rough "back of a napkin" calculation (please be sure to seek advice from your accountant HMRC for your individual circumstances)

How to claim the tax relief:

Based on our understanding, tax relief can be claimed as follows:

  1. People who self-fund their subscriptions and are PAYE:
    To benefit from the tax relief, these members should ring their tax office and ask to have this 'coded in' to their tax code. They may need to quote the following reference number: to claim this (as it doesn't yet appear on HMRC's "List 3", which is only updated occasionally):

    Head office reference: RHT/T1644/08/2013/JEM/IJC

  2. People who self-fund their subscriptions and are Self Assessment:
    We assume this would be declared at tax year end, as part of the self assessment process, but please contact HMRC with any queries.

Please be sure to speak to HMRC and/or your accountant to check suitability for your individual circumstances. However, we're really pleased that HMRC have finally approved our application!

23 December: Financial Statements & Strategic Objectives updated

I'm pleased to say that we've placed our 2013 and 2012 financial statements onto the website. A summary of the key metrics (as reported in November's update) is shown below:

You can view the financial statements by clicking here (or alternatively by clicking 'about us/financial statements')

We have also published our strategic objectives and tactics (and our underlying values) as a short, visual, 2 page canvas. This is definitely worth downloading.You'll find the PDF here:

Click here to download a summary of strategies & tactics for 2014/15 [PDF Download]

You can find out more about our vision and mission here

Click here to read more about IIBA UK's vision and mission

Blog entry 2: Latvia, London, HMRC and more... (5 Nov - 20 Nov)

5 November: Conference in Latvia with the "day job" -- opportunity to meet with Latvian IIBA president

So now for something completely different!

I was lucky enough to be asked to deliver the opening keynote at the 2nd International Business and System Analysis conference in Riga, Latvia, as part of my (non-IIBA) "day job". Even though this was a non-IIBA "work" trip, I was keen to take this opportunity to catch up with some IIBA colleagues, and was able to meet with the Latvian IIBA Chapter president. The Latvian chapter is still growing in membership, and it was interesting to discuss the similar challenges that our chapters faced.

The conference itself was excellent, and a real highlight for me was hearing a senior government representative describe how he thought it was important to get business analysis "in the blood" of government stakeholders. This resonated with me, and reminded me of the campaign we progressed to try to get better government recognition of the BA role. This is still very much on my radar, and if you are interested in being part of this, please get in touch. I've met a number of really enthusiastic and passionate BAs who work in and for government; but I can't help wondering whether some government projects are rail-roaded without enough up-front analysis. Certainly, looking at projects like the NHS Programme for IT and the Fire Control programme, it appears (from the outside) that significant funds could have been saved... but I suspect this is a controversial issue which with we could have a long discussion! Anyway, I digress...

Overall, an excellent conference, and a beautiful city. The return journey was rather longer and less comfortable than I had hoped. It was Ryanair. I will say no more.

6 November: Fielding e-mails and first tentative steps in the HQ Communication Committee, and missing the London event :(

A day back in the office, with a lot of time spent fielding e-mails that have arrived whilst I was in Latvia. Mobile devices are great, but you can't beat a real PC and keyboard for more long-form replies...

I've been invited to join an IIBA (International) Communications Committee. This committee will help IIBA HQ (in Canada) consider the best way to communicate with its stakeholders and chapters. I was really keen to be involved, communication across the organisation is key.

The initial proposal put forward by the committee was to send out a survey to chapter leaders. I provided some very open feedback, which was received well and very much in the spirit with which I intended it. Essentially, my view is that whilst a survey might be useful, we first need to define the problem we're trying to solve. Sometimes the best thing to do is to pause, slow down and reflect... before speeding up and delivering with certainty. As a business analyst, this is a discussion I have in my "day job" a great deal – and I'm sure you do too!

I'm very excited about how this committee will develop. As I mentioned in my previous blog update, communication and engagement from IIBA HQ (Canada) has been noticeably increasing, and I perceive this as an incredibly positive thing for our chapter. It is a key enabler.

On an unrelated note: I was due to attend the London branch event this evening, but given I didn't arrive home until around 4am (did I mention Ryanair?) I collapsed in a heap after work and couldn't face a 2 hour commute into the Big Smoke... However, I hear excellent things about the event. Our sponsors – qBA North Highland – were very enthusiastic, and I've heard people say it is the best event they have ever attended. As a team, we put on awesome events across the UK, and this is something we should be collectively really proud of.

8 November: Mysterious cheques de-mystified

Some really good communication from IIBA HQ over the past few days about some mysterious US Dollar denominated cheques we've been receiving periodically for a number of years. I know Joe da Silva had made some enquiries, but I was keen to pick up where he left off, and gain an understanding myself. It turns out when a UK based firm places an advert on the Career Centre on the IIBA.ORG website, a proportion of the fee is sent to the local chapter. Had a very useful dialogue with the central team and explained that in the UK, cheques are rather passé... and indeed USD denominated cheques are rather expensive to cash. We reached agreement for the payments to be sent electronically. But more importantly, I have passed on information to the board about what these cheques are for, as there has been some confusion around this in the past.

12 November: BA Leadership at Leeds

Although I wasn't able to attend, I hear that the NW&E branch held an excellent event focusing on BA Leadership in Leeds, in partnership with Asda who hosted the event. The event featured James Archer (a published author and a well known face in the BA world), Dale Jacobs (BA of the Year 2013), and Giles Gude (a BA at Asda whose experience includes business intelligence).

Leadership is an important aspect of business analysis, and to "re purpose" (borrow!) a phrase from elsewhere, we often find ourselves leading and influencing 'from the middle'. I gather that the event went down a storm, and I would have loved to have attended. Maybe next time!

Incidentally, if you're interested in attending IIBA UK events, be sure to join our mailing list so you're the first to hear about them...

13 November: HMRC's "list 3" and one step closer to tax deductible subscriptions for our members...

You probably won't be aware, but for over a year now, I have been trying to convince our friends at HMRC to recognise IIBA as a professional body. This has a significant benefit for those of us that pay our own subscription fees; when HMRC recognise a professional body it means that you can claim tax back against your subscription (even if you are an employee who pays via PAYE – HMRC will 'code it in' to your tax code). If you're a basic rate tax payer, that's the ability to offset 20% of your subscription fees – and if you're lucky enough to be higher rate, it's 40%. This is a useful benefit to our members.

Unfortunately, being rather open with you here, I have found HMRC obstructive at every single juncture, and although I have repeatedly shown that we meet the statutory requirements for a professional organisation, HMRC have so far refused to recognise us as such. In fact, it's worse than this: HMRC have refused to refuse. They won't formally refuse – which means we can't formally appeal – so we have been sitting in a state of limbo for months. After countless e-mails and letters, and days of effort, we're now at the second formal complaint stage. I will fight on!

However – I was drawn to a test case that passed at the First Tier Tax Tribunal, where a similar organisation tested the legislation and HMRC's attitude towards it. The judge's conclusion was rather damning of HMRC:

"92. We reject [HMRC'S] submissions [...] as seeking to place some unwarranted gloss on the words of the statute we are being asked to consider by reference to some supposed underlying public policy which is nowhere stated in the Statute"

I will therefore be pressing HMRC to reconsider their position... I hope to have some good news soon.

The ironic thing is that I know there are some very forward thinking business analysts in HMRC – I've met some of them. I just wish they were able to re-engineer the process for approving professional bodies!

14 November: A book launch, and agreement for four chapters to be made available for free to IIBA UK Members & Guests

Made the dash up to London so that I could attend the book launch of "Business Analysis & Leadership: Influencing Change" at Cass Business School. I was one of 26 authors who contributed to the book, including a number of other IIBA UK directors. (Incidentally, IIBA members are entitled to a 20% discount off the book if you buy using this link).

A really interesting evening and some very good debate. A number of the authors formed a 'panel' and answered questions from the audience. There were some excellent questions and debates around the meaning of leadership, how to progress a BA practice when people aren't buying-in, amongst many other things. It's a book I'm really proud to have been able to make a (small) contribution to!

Having spoken to all of the other IIBA UK directors who are authors, I'm pleased to announce that we'll be donating our chapters to the IIBA UK community and, with the permission of the publishers, making our chapters available for download. That's four chapters in total (Chapters from me, Corrine, Nick, Joe). They will be staggered, with one chapter available per month, for a limited time. The idea is to prompt debate and get a conversation going. It may take us some time to get the details sorted, so watch this space...

15 November: 2012/13 Accounts released:

Today, we published the annual accounts to our branch leaders and volunteers. They will be made available on this website shortly too. Of particular interest:

18 November: Our monthly board meeting

We held our monthly board meeting this evening. As a board, we meet by teleconference once a month. We have board members all across the country, so virtual meetings are the norm, but I'm really pleased to say that we're planning to meet in person at least once in the near future. I do find that meeting in person helps to bond a team.

We discussed so much in the board meeting that it's difficult to distill it down, but a key focus was budgeting. All directors have been tasked with considering their budgeting needs for the forthcoming year. With firm budgets, we'll have an ability to track progress and variances. Budgeting also helps us to focus on the things we realistically can achieve given our resources – both financial and time.

We will be making our board meeting minutes available to branch volunteers. This is something we had resolved to do several months ago, but I gather it hasn't been happening consistently (and for this I apologise). If you are a branch volunteer and aren't receiving copies of board meeting minutes from your communities director, please contact me directly.

As a team, across the branches and board, we have some awesome ideas. I love hearing about them in our board meetings. However, we need to be careful not to over-commit. As the old saying goes: "We can achieve anything, we just can't achieve everything". We have an awesome team across the branches and board, but relentless focus on our core goals will be key to our growth and continued success.

19 November: First tentative conversations with APM

I'm really pleased to say that our business development director, David Reinhardt, has been fostering some initial conversations with APM. We're keen to reach out to like-minded organisations and understand whether there are synergies or the opportunity to work together. By working together we "grow the pie" rather than "divide the pie", and I've no doubt Dave will find an awesome way of collaborating with them.

If you have contacts at any similar or relevant organisations, please let me or one of my team know. We'd love to discuss things further.

20 November: A chance Tweet leads to meeting with UXPA

A chance Twitter conversation has led to an introduction to the president of the User Experience Professional Association (UXPA). I've booked a meeting with him to discuss potential areas where we might be able to collaborate. Watch this space...

Blog entry 1: The first 30(ish) days of a new president

This rather lengthy blog post covers just some of the highlights from my first 30(ish) days in my role as president, having previously held the role of Marketing Director. Enjoy!

23-26 September: The conference: my role formally begins

September is always a busy month. I had spent time preparing for the Business Analysis Conference Europe 2013 -- both as a member of IIBA UK, but also as a speaker.

The conference was the biggest ever. We attracted 370 delegates, not just from all over the UK, but around the world. The conference is run by a committee including IRM and BCS, which enables us to achieve an all-round view of business analysis and attract a real variety of both keynote and syndicate speakers. This year was slightly different as we knew that Joe da Silva would be stepping down as president. Joe has contributed so much to this organisation, I was extremely sad to see him go. However, he leaves the organisation in a much steadier state.

Over the past 2-3 years, as a board under Joe's leadership, we've done an enormous amount to improve the internal processes within IIBA UK. It might surprise you to know that when I joined the board, we couldn't easily tell who our members were! We've worked hard to improve those processes -- a step at a time -- and things are now much more resilient. Things aren't perfect of course, and we can always improve, but we are a world away from where we were. You can read more about Joe's achievements in the formal announcement of the change of president.

Our mantra now needs to be "Growth". Both in terms of awareness of the IIBA UK organisation, but also in terms of IIBA UK Chapter members. We reach a small fraction of the people we could do, and if you are a volunteer or member I'd appeal to you to think about who else you could introduce to the organisation. If you have ideas on how we can accelerate growth, please do get in touch.

3 October: Work on a strategic 1-pager (correction, 2-pager!)

As those of you that have met me will know (and contrary to my blogging style), I like to keep things simple and concise. With a range of stakeholders, volunteers and volunteers across the UK, I am acutely aware of the need to communicate the board's strategic intent.

Over the past few weeks, I have been working on a strategic 1-page document/diagram. The board has been fully involved in the review process and it's looking really good. For the first time, we've taken the opportunity to reflect on what our values are -- so we now have a 2-pager rather than a 1-pager.

We aren't quite ready to communicate this yet, but we will do so as soon as we can. If you are a branch volunteer, please ask your Communities Director for more information. They will be happy to share the gist.

10 October: Building links and improving communication with IIBA HQ

As many of you will be aware, as a chapter, we've sometimes struggled to get the level of engagement from IIBA HQ (in Canada) that we would like. I understand why this is challenging, IIBA supports chapters all over the world, but I am keen to build our relationship, building on the excellent work that Joe has done.

IIBA HQ is made up of an elected board and an executive committee. As you will have heard, there was recently a change in CEO with Kathleen Barrett leaving the organisation and Alain Arseneault taking over as an interim role.

I reached out to Alain with some suggestions for better engagement and communication. He replied to my e-mail within 30 minutes. Not only this, he was proactively looking to engage and meet with chapter leaders. I subsequently met him on Skype, and key messages I heard were:

It is early days, but I am absolutely enthused and excited with what I've heard.

12 October: Transitioning the Marketing role

One of the challenges I knew I'd face when taking up the presidency role is how to re-position my previous role (Marketing Director). It's a chunky role -- and with more active branches than ever, it is likely to get even busier.

Upon speaking with my board colleagues, we came up with an innovative and elegant solution:

I spent some time with Andrew Turner (Communities Director, London) providing an overview of how some of our internal marketing systems work. This was really urgent as there was an imminent London event planned. I recorded this session, so we now have a rather low-fidelity 'training video' for our other communities directors. I and other volunteers will also be on-hand to provide support and additional overviews as needed.

15 October: An unexpected EMEA Call

I was delivering a training course in my 'day job', and received an e-mail from Kashif Riaz, our Europe, Middle East & Asia representative. It turns out there is an EMEA call today! I hadn't received the invite as it had mistakenly been sent to the wrong address. A challenging situation because (1) I'm several hundred miles away from home at present, (2) I'm due to dash across town and run a webinar this evening (presenting with panache with John Webber, it was an excellent webinar -- if you didn't see it check out the recording).

I agree to dial in late. It's a productive call. Kevin Brennan and Dave Bieg attend, as do many other European chapters. It's fascinating to hear a European perspective. Many European chapter leaders have translations of BABOK as their main concern; completely understandably. Other, newer chapters, are concerned that chapters must now have 50 members before they can 'charter' and are considered 'official' chapters. In small countries, with a small population, this is a challenge.

From a UK perspective, there is one significant development I can share. For years, we have struggled with our membership process, and having a separate IIBA ($) and IIBA UK (GBP) membership process causes confusion. Kevin Brennan confirmed that a unified process is in the 2014 technical roadmap, although note date has been committed to yet.

I put my "BA Hat" on at this point. With a change in the membership process, there will be a whole diverse set of requirements. I'm sure the UK's needs may be different from Switzerland which may be different from Germany. Plus there will be transition requirements; we'll need to migrate over. I asked Kevin for a commitment that chapters would be involved in the requirements for this project. He absolutely agreed, and I volunteered UK resource to help with this, once the time is right. We wait with anticipation, this will be a significant improvement to our processes.

18 October: A meeting with Neil Bazley, VP Chapters

Following my meeting with Alain, I met with Neil Bazley, who takes on the role of VP Chapters. We had a very open chat, discussing some of the differences between the UK chapter and typical chapters. We are perceived as one of the more structured chapters, and because of this our needs differ. This is extremely positive. We discussed some of the challenges that we face too.

I enjoyed speaking with Neil a great deal. He reaffirmed the message that Alain had raised, that communication and engagement with chapters will be a key theme for IIBA HQ (Canada).

I offered to support him in any way, including joining a Communications working group, or making the resource available if needed. A productive, re-assuring and useful conversation.

Exciting times!

24 October: A "conference" conference call and a brilliant South/South West event

A busy day! I attended an excellent call today about the BA Conference Europe. The committee met to discuss what went well, and what we would change for next year. The event was a brilliant success, but there are always things that can be improved. In particular, I know that the evening networking meal didn't work as well as it could. Curry isn't conducive to standing up and networking!

After the call, I jumped in the car to get to an event in Bournemouth. My sat nav led me astray, and I ended up at the wrong building. I should add that I am notoriously poor at navigating, so *please* never ask me for directions (unless you want to get lost!).

The event was sponsored by LV= and was excellent. The LV= team explained how they had supported their business in a time of enormous change, and David Avis gave a presentation about the e BA survey. (If you haven't seen the results of the BA survey, click here, they are free to download).

I closed the meeting and explained a little bit about IIBA UK. This was the first IIBA UK event the vast majority of attendees had been to, and they seemed to really enjoy it. Many thanks again to Annette and the whole LV= team for sponsoring and working with us on such a successful event.

I drove back in the dark, with two thoughts:

I am planning to attend at least one event at every branch in 2014, dates dependent. If you are on a branch committee, and would like me to attend a particular event, please contact me.

29 October 2013: Reaching out to other organisations

One of the things we're keen to do as an organisation is reach out to other like-minded organisations, to build win/win partnerships. Over the last few days, I've been included in a couple of notable conversations:

These conversations are in extremely early stages, but I am very excited about where they might lead. I'm particularly excited that in both cases there was a real desire to create awareness of business analysis in a different community. As a board, we'll continue to pursue opportunities like this.

If you spot any opportunities, or are aware of any organisations that we could contact, please do let us know.

2 November 2013: A new branch in the making and the importance of our branch network

I've been really delighted at the number of people that have contacted me over the past few weeks with ideas, suggestions and comments. I've had some particularly interesting conversations with a couple of my fellow volunteers in our branches. I hope to have more of these conversations over the coming months. As you'll be aware, IIBA UK Chapter is split into a number of regional branches, which enables our extended team to deliver awesome, world-class events around the country.

Our current branches are:

However, I'm very excited to say that we're expanding further. I'm pleased to announce that my colleague Tina Schuster, who is Communities Director for the South West of England, will be launching a new branch in Wales in 2014. She's received a great deal of support from the BA community in Wales, and a special thank you has to go to Debbie Paul at Assist KD who has helped us find a sponsor and some potential speakers.

We'll keep you posted as the Welsh branch develops, but if you are interested in taking part, please don't hesitate in contacting us.

Introduction from Adrian Reed, IIBA UK President

It has to be said that 2014 is an exciting year for IIBA UK, we are fortunate to be supported by an enthusiastic team of volunteers in the central board, in our thriving branches, and in our project team. This volunteer force enables us as a team to reach almost every corner of the UK.

I'm keen to enable our volunteers, members and stakeholders keep track of what we are doing on the board, and for this reason I am starting this blog. It's experimental. It's informal. It'll be 'raw' and you'll find the odd spelling mistake, I'm sure. You'll find in my blog posts, I write like I speak, and sometimes this means there will be disjointed sentences, and sometimes I'll go off on tangents. However, the plan is to let you know what I and my fellow board volunteers have been up to. Please get in touch if you find this useful or have a comment, and if enough of you do get in touch, we'll keep blogging and we may even expand the blog. If you'd like to get in touch you can find the e-mail addresses of me and all my board colleagues on this page, and we have a handy contact form that you can use also.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for your support of IIBA UK.


Meet the IIBA UK Chapter board here.