As I move from client to client, IT shop to IT shop, the one think I notice is that most organizations do not have an internal BA Body of Knowledge. There are several reasons that I can think of as to why organizations have not taken on the task of developing an internal BABOK:
1. Companies are slow to embrace the idea and value of a BA Center of Excellence.
2. Companies do not understand what an internal BABOK is and what should be in it.
3. Companies have not realized the value of an internal BABOK.
4. Not enough time, not enough resources.
So let’s take a look at these reasons. First, creating a BA Center of Excellence would allow the organization to use their BA talent in a more strategic role within the organization. It would allow them to move their BAs among the business units within the organization with a much less learning curve. BAs leaving the organization don’t take valuable business knowledge out the door with them and just as important, new BAs have a much shorter ramp up time to become effective to the organization. I believe once organizations realize the value that developing a BA Center of Excellence can have on the organization, they would all want one.
Secondly, there is reference material available that conceptually describes an internal BA Body of Knowledge, but you would have to dive deep into reading material to find it. So, let me spell out for all to see what we are talking about when we say an organization should develop an internal BA Body of Knowledge. This is a centralized, electronic copy of documents that define anything within the business. This is a wealth of knowledge that all your BAs can draw from to better perform their duties. This would allow a BA to learn a new area of the business quickly that they have not worked in before as they are assigned new tasks. This BABOK would define the business organization, the business units with it and the interrelationships between those business units. What did that sound like to you? If you said an Enterprise Architecture, you are absolutely correct. The first thing to include in your internal BABOK is the organization Enterprise Architecture, including all five parts of the architecture. Also include the BA Career Ladder, BA Competence Model, BA Job Descriptions, new BA training material, BA departure review and BA reference material pertinent to the organization.
Thirdly, now that you understand what wealth of knowledge is included in an internal BABOK, I think you can realize the value of it without me saying a word. Most organizations do not have an Enterprise Architecture, let alone an internal BABOK. Those organizations that somewhat have one; usually have it dispersed all over the company network, which makes finding material very difficult. Centralized, easy to access, electronic, included in the company’s backup and restore process adds tremendous value to the organization.
Lastly, this is always the reason that many good ideas do not take form. Realize, that if you had an internal BABOK that your BAs used on a daily basis that research tasks take a lot less time. This can decrease project schedules, freeing up more than just BA resource time.
That all sounds nice, but what does it mean to the organization? Well, there are many benefits to having an Enterprise Architecture and internal electronic BABOK to the organization:
- Project portfolio in greater alignment with business strategic goals and initiatives
- Realization of BA talent in a more strategic role
- New BAs become more effective to the organization faster
- Ensure enterprise knowledge stays within the organization when BAs leave the organization
- Starting point for Enterprise Capability Gap Analysis
- Reference material for new product feasibility studies
- Reference material for competitive edge analysis
- Required material for new enterprise software impact analysis
There are many benefits to the BA practice within the organization:
- Reference material easily available without exhaustive searching
- Understand BA Competencies important to the organization
- Understand BA Competencies needed to achieve the next level on the BA Career Ladder
- Move within the business units of the organization with greater ease and knowledge
- Needed reference material for Enterprise Analysis activities
Now can your organization survive in these economic times without an internal BABOK?