Professionalisation of the Business Analyst Role with Jonathan Hunsley

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In this conversation, Jonathan Hunsley and I explore the professionalisation of the business analyst role to become skilled in business architecture, business service design, and business analysis.

Jonathan is the Service Development Director at AssistKD and co-host of the BA Brew Podcast. He delivers BCS International and Advanced Diploma in Business Analysis training and mentors apprenticeships.

Here are just a few of the highlights in this episode:

๐Ÿฅถ ๐Ÿ‘ฃ "I got cold feet. I initially turned the job down." Jonathan shares how he started his career in an insurance company and stumbled upon a trainee business analyst job posting. He was offered the position but initially turned it down before changing his mind and spending the next two years in a structured placement program gaining BA experience. Jonathan confirmed his passion for the business analysis profession through the BCS diploma program.

๐Ÿ˜• ๐Ÿง‘๐Ÿผโ€๐Ÿซ ๐ŸŒฑ ๐ŸŒฒ "It will grow, grow further beyond where it is now." Jonathan predicts that the business analyst career will continue to grow and expand. He notes that many individuals hold the job title without formal training or coaching, but he believes the future will bring increased professionalisation. Jonathan thinks this will include working to established standards, continuously improving, and continuing professional development.

 ๐Ÿ’ฌโ“โฑ๏ธ ๐Ÿง โœ… "It's asking that question at the right time to the right stakeholder in the right context in the right way." Jonathan believes business analysts need to up-skill themselves and increase their professionalism to gain respect from other change disciplines. He says asking the right questions is essential, but it's crucial to ask them at the right time, in the right context, and in the right way. Jonathan highlights that listening is as essential as is the need to capture, retain, and reuse the knowledge learnt.

๐Ÿ“ฆ ๐Ÿ“† "Product-centric thinking is slowly going to become outdated." Jonathan predicts that service design is the future of business analysis. He says we've got to move from just looking at the what to look at the what and the how. Jonathan points to techniques like design thinking that can help us look holistically across all products to create a consistent and enhanced customer experience.

๐Ÿชž๐Ÿค— ๐Ÿ“ˆ "We have to critique and provide a different perspective." Jonathan says it's vital to be critical and provide different perspectives to drive our businesses forward. He suggests asking the difficult questions with positive intent will help to ensure alignment and inform decisions. Jonathan knows it may not always make us popular, but believes it's necessary and to do it with the right intentions.

 ๐Ÿš€ "This professional discipline has a lot of potential." Ending with a question about getting to a point where the business analyst is skilled, competent, and confident in business architecture, business, service design, and business analysis.

Tune into the episode below or listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your podcast player of choice. You can watch the interview on YouTube here.

Brought to you by Business Change Academy skills development and career building business analysis courses.

The transcript of this episode can be read here.

  • [00:59] Jonathan's (hesitant) introduction to the business analyst profession
  • [04:57] Looking ahead at industry trends without the benefit of a time-machine
  • [09:29] Tooling and collaboration for data-driven decisions and solving wicked problems
  • [12:38] Asking the right question, at the right time, to the right stakeholder, in the right way
  • [16:52] Ironing out role ambiguity and confusion for better collaboration
  • [20:13] Doing business analysis with your hands tied behind your back and blindfolded
  • [23:34] Moving into a realm where we're comfortable facilitating design decisions
  • [27:19] Customer experience has to be part of the way we move this profession forward
  • [34:37] Being a critical friend to business
  • [40:52] Getting skilled in business architecture, business, service design, and business analysis

What was your favourite quote or insight from this episode? Please let me know in the comments. ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿ‘‡

๐Ÿง  Add your brains to the  ๐Ÿ‘‰ Future Business Analyst survey.

Joe Newbert 0:00
Hey everyone is Joe. Welcome to another episode of the future business analyst podcast. My guest today is Jonathan Huntley service development director with a system knowledge development. Now, Jonathan very humbly left one of the fields empty in the guest form, which means there's a consequence that him to him that I need to fill that gap. So as well as being the service Development Directorate Assist is also chief Brewer, or maybe the big tea pots or something like that. The BA brew prog podcast. Welcome to the show. Jonathan. Thanks for joining me today.

Speaker 2 0:40
Thanks, Jerry, thank you for inviting me, I'm really pleased to be here.

Joe Newbert 0:44
Ya know, it's good to have you now the place we usually start with people, it's just to understand a bit about their, their background, so why don't you sort of introduce us to you with a bit of a story of how you got introduced to business analysis?

Speaker 2 0:59
Okay, so I started off my career, following going to university, working for an insurance company of all places. And I saw a job advert on the internal intranet site for a trainee business analyst for a graduate kind of scheme. And I applied, I was shocked to get the job. And I'll be honest, Joe, I didn't really know what it was that I was applying for. I remember asking quite a few people. What is this BA role, what it really is a business analyst and whoever I asked to get different answers from, and I got cold feet, Joe, I initially turned that job down. Because it meant I'd have to move house and all sorts of weird things. So I turned it down. And I had a quite a few sleepless nights. And then I rang up the recruiting manager and said, I've changed my mind. Can I come and join you. And I started off, I'd a two year very structured placement program working around different areas of information technology. So I worked in management information, data warehousing, information, security, and a few other departments. And I finished this placement scheme thing. And then I was I was, I was looking at someone's desk, and I found something called an ISEB wheel, which was the Information Systems examination board as it was back then. And I got myself on to a BCS accredited diploma program. And I really haven't looked back, Joe, that that that course, was, for me, the start of my business analysis career, or whilst I've been doing a couple of years are still trying to find my way. The real start was when I saw that ISEB wheel it's now BCS. But I'm yet going on. It was a modeling business processes course at Piccadilly Circus in London. That was where I really thought, Alright, this is our start to find my, my profession, I suppose.

Joe Newbert 3:03
Yeah, that's fantastic. And like, I mean, you've you've come sort of full circle, really, from that graduate that trainee and now to be in a position that you are getting the opportunity every day to help people with that same BCS diploma, right. It's,

Speaker 2 3:17
it's fantastic. I, I'm one of the few people that I talk to anyway, that I genuinely love my job. I like helping people, I like solving problems, I like moving businesses forward. And helping people develop, learn and grow, it's one of the absolute privileges of of my job as it is your job because you get the chance to do it as well. It's really rewarding,

Joe Newbert 3:40
is completely rewarding. I'm possibly the other person then who enjoys their job, too. But, no, this is a huge amount of, you know, sort of helping people in seeing that moment when they like, get it when they get business analysis. And, and they can just like, apply it, you know, template aside, not following a process. I just like I get this thing. I mean, it's so rewarding.

Unknown Speaker 4:05
Yeah, yeah, it's fantastic.

Joe Newbert 4:10
Two phrases you mentioned in there, one was solving problems to was moving things forward. We've got a bit of a problem to solve today, which is the future of business analysis, right? I don't expect you to solve it. For me, that would be a big ask ones it but you know, moving profession forwards, because I'm sure that you've seen it evolve from when you started through to the point where it is now and I think you're in a fortunate position where actually you do get the chance to drive the profession forward through some of the sort of course authoring that you do and making that available to people. So it's a phenomenal position that you have. So maybe on that note, sort of, where do you see us moving towards what what do you think the next sort of trends coming are?

Speaker 2 4:57
So I find this Question it's really difficult to answer and I've got some thoughts on it. But I'm just aware that I'm gonna look back on this podcast recording in five years time and know that I've given the wrong answers so much just acutely aware. So if only we had a time machine so we could see the future. But I'm, I really thought about this before before today's poll. And I also I'm going to share I typed in some of these questions into chat GPT, Joe, oh, actually put my thoughts down. And I thought, I wonder what chat GPT thinks, Okay. That's my first trend, I think that we're going to use technology more and more in our professional discipline via artificial intelligence. But other technologies that aren't yet invented. We are, I think, going to be moved towards a knowledge engineering, a knowledge discipline, where were needing to take informed data driven decisions, we were going to have to collaborate a lot more extensively than we do today. And I think tooling can be a part of how we collaborate. I think professionalization of this career career in this professional discipline, is, it's already happening. And I see it continuing. And I think it will grow, grow further beyond where it is now. Because I think there are there's a lot of individuals that are practicing as business analysts that maybe haven't done any structured training, they then they've not done the reading, they haven't had the coaching, potentially, but they still got the job title, business analyst and, and I think going forward, we're going to see an increased professionalization of this career, where we work to standards, and we're subject to continuous improvement, continuing professional development. The other thing I want to throw in, I think we've got to be more and more outcome driven. So outcomes for the businesses, the organizations that we work for, outcomes for the broader set of stakeholders, and the particular stakeholder that I really think needs to come front and front and foremost in mind, is the customer. We've really got to be driving the work towards customer and business outcomes. And I've got lots of other thoughts about trends on business architecture, business service design, and other things as well. There's I, I really want that time machine to look back and see where does it go. But I hope it gives you a bit of a flavor, Joe,

Joe Newbert 7:36
it just gives me a flavor, I feel like you through the entire kitchen in the sink at what might be coming. I'm also very interested, as you say in five years time, so don't do a school you versus chat GPT to see like, who comes out a little bit ahead of the other one here.

Unknown Speaker 7:56
TPT will win Sure.

Joe Newbert 7:59
Well, you know, I don't know the thing about chat. GPT is it's just sort of a collection of common knowledge, right, that is taken and as much as common knowledge often can, like indicate patterns and trends often look to the outliers in the individual thinking to perhaps bring something that that's a bit different to that because chat, GBT will probably give me the same answers every time. Right? Whereas you're gonna give me some different answers to what Samuel gave me on the last pod. So yeah, so I'm very, very keen to hear this. Let's let's go back to a couple of things. Let's tackle them together. I think maybe because you sort of brought them together here. And it's tooling in collaboration. So I mean, on one hand, I'm sort of, of the opinion that previously, business analysts haven't really been given, like the best tools to be able to do their jobs, it often feels like we're the shoemaker, without shoes, but certainly, you know, the technology that we have available to us is quite marvelous, and even like free versions of stuff. I'm using otter AI. I'm using Grammarly, like in my daily work to get things done. I'm using AI in notion to Slyke it's increasing my productivity and things. But when it comes to tooling in collaboration, what what sort of things do you imagine there? And I mean, this is just imagining,

Speaker 2 9:29
and we don't know, but I'm, I'm expecting that AI will be used as a source for data driven decisions. And I think, you know, this kind of a traditional approach towards option appraisal in a business case. I think that's going to move forward. I really, really think there's going to be models looking at scenarios that they already exist in certain disciplines, but I don't see them being used extensively in business analysis. I think you know, as we're appraising options and hypothesis is four potential concepts, I think we're going to be plugging those into models and getting feedback on various scenarios and looking at well, what are the risks? What are the issues? What are what's the potential impacts here? And what are the other things I think's going to happen? And you some sometimes see this in kind of the technology development world where you they're doing hackathons to look at how do we code a solution for a particular problem? Well, I think going forward, we're gonna have business analysts working with their peers to solve really difficult problems. And they're going to need tooling in order to support them in doing that. But I'm sort of seeing a world where we're working on wicked problems, really tough problems. And we're going to be working cross continents, cross cultures, possibly across different languages using different tools to solve the complex challenges in our organizations in the worlds in which we operate. And I don't know if it's going to come through yet, but I can see it happening. And I don't think that the situation where we've been with, we've historically been used using tools where they've not been invested in, I think the importance of business analysis is going to grow. And therefore, we're going to need increased standards, increased professionalization, and we're going to need the support of the tools to do some of the things that I'm talking about. Going forward.

Joe Newbert 11:31
It's, it's really interesting that you say different languages, right? Because I mean, I have seen some of these translation tools, and I can speak to you in one language, and it can, you know, move that on in real time and in a conversation, so it's always gonna make things a lot more streamlined and a lot more seamless in how we can do things. I like that idea of solving wicked problems as well. I mean, it'd be really good if we can start to, you know, do some innovation around that. But but one of the things that was probably sort of jumping into my mind, while you talked about that, if we do imagine that there is some form of AI, and that API is some form of repository, right? It knows the organization, it knows the world society, the domain, you know, it's like, it's got that sort of wealth of knowledge sitting there. And we're using tools as a form of interface, right? Maybe we're speaking with voice or whatever it is, in order to do this. But when it comes down to I imagine is asking the right question. Is that going to be where the differences between sort of a good BA and a Ba, ba, ba, perhaps?

Speaker 2 12:38
Well, I think I think we've got a challenge in in the profession, we need to increase, we've got to uplift everyone. I think that to gain the respect of other change disciplines to gain the respect of some of the colleagues that we work with in the organizations that we have, we've got, we've got to upskill ourselves and increase our professionalism. And it's this, this is work, we've got to do the work. I think, Joe, it's it's partly about asking the right questions. But it's asking that question at the right time to the right stakeholder in the right context in the right way. Sometimes it's comes down to your tone of voice that you use, relative to asking the question in terms of how it lands, it might be that you ask a question, it's perfectly valid question. But if you ask it in front of a group where the person you're asking the question, is looking towards their peers, or their peers or watching them answer the question, you might lose that stakeholder at that point in time. And so you got to ask the right question the right way at the right time with the right person. And we've got to get more adept, and I think more emotionally intelligent, relative to the asking of the questions. And then the other key skill, and this is nothing new. We're gonna get better at listening. We've got to get much better at listening. Because when we answer when we ask these questions, I have way too many stories of stakeholders that are really annoyed that a BA professionals ask them a question. And there's another ba professional that comes along 369 months later, and are similar questions. And this is where I think the tooling can help. Yeah, but the collaboration Absolutely. We got to capture this knowledge, retain it, and reuse it. And this This for me is like the next the next leap in business analysis. Let's let's ask the right questions, but listen to the answers and capture the knowledge. So we can reuse it. Because at the moment, we're capturing it in a piecemeal basis, and we're not sharing and I think that's gonna move forward.

Joe Newbert 14:41
It does is it's always captured on a per project basis rather than an organization basis. So it's sort of lives in that little repository of information when that particular change was done. But it's not extended to everyone. It reminds me something that I joke about often on the training when bas go in To a new assignment, they always have to do analysis process flow for like to understand what happens, but they're like the 30th Ba that has sat in that chair in that department. So I just find it astounding how there isn't an as is process flow, it's sort of disappeared, right?

Speaker 2 15:18
Yeah. And it's that, that I mean, take the process information we should have, we should have captured and retain that. And I know it takes maintenance. I know it's work. But we should know how our systems operate. We should know how we deliver our current product services. But some reason we're not capturing it in the change profession. We are capturing it will capture on a per product or per project basis. It's not reusable, we've got to solve that challenge. And we'll be more active if we do because then you can you're not asking the what is the as is you're starting to say well, what's possible about the future.

Joe Newbert 15:54
So yeah, just just getting that knowledge to be to be up to date. And to be current. You use the word professional in there. So let me jump onto one of those other things that you threw at me at the beginning, right, professionalism. You talk about, you talk about more people basically been drawn to the profession, I suppose. The fact that they might not identify as a BA right now. But over time, they're going to find a way to realize that there are similarities between them. I'd imagine that that technology that you're talking about the beginning helps because you know, when there's technology, it just means that more people can communicate with more people more often. And so perhaps that's going to increase the chances of people finding like this, this business analysis role this name, how do you see the professional community changing as it starts to snowball them with new members?

Speaker 2 16:52
So I think it's partly new members entering the profession. But it's it's also uplifting the current members in the profession. And so I think there's there's a few things that we need to discuss more proactively as a professional discipline, not least the role, and what are our roles and responsibilities relative to other change professionals? There's far too much role ambiguity, confusion between, for example, the business analyst and UX designers or solution architects, business and enterprise architects. Where does one start one finish? Whose job is it to look at the non functional requirements, for example of a particular product or service offering? In some projects, it's one role in another project is a different role in one team and someone else. And, and I'm not saying we need a global standard for that, that everyone has to comply with, because I don't think that's realistic. But, ya know, it's not going to happen overnight. But, um, if we don't have these discussions, and we don't obtain some role, clarity, we have an argument and sometimes a little bit of politics inside the team where people are trading for position. And trying to say, well, that's piece of work is mine. No, that's mine. And, and then arguing out, that's not helping deliver the customer in the business outcomes. So I think this is another issue, another challenge that we need to move forward on. I don't have all the answers, unfortunately. But this endless argument, where does the BA start and stop relative to the other change professionals? I think we need to, we need to have that discussion and move forward on it. We have a basis then to collaborate, which we don't know who's doing what, how can we collaborate?

Joe Newbert 18:46
Yeah. One of the things often think and this is a very geeky activity that I'm about to suggest. But if you think about business architecture and capability models, capability models are like the gradual decomposition of like things right in within their boxes. And I often wonder, it's like, well, you know, we like to say that that one is a form of business analysis. And that role is a form of business analysis. But it's like which ones are even to begin with which ones do fall under the sort of business analyst umbrella and which one are actually changed disciplines that don't fall under that umbrella. So then we get all these sort of derivatives of everything that are part of the job family, and then we get other ones that don't. And I think that would be helpful, because as you're talking at the beginning, and you know, we're trying to carve up these different roles and make sense of them. One thing that doesn't help us get to stand is the fact that organizations are of different sizes. So if you're a small startup, you're not going to have 10 different people. But if you started to see it as job families, perhaps you could put all of those things together under that one within there, and that might be that might be quite helpful. Move. But do you see the profession in terms of its sort of membership? And where it sort of resonates to do? Do you perhaps see anything happening there in our community going forward?

Speaker 2 20:13
So I think that there needs to be more discussion on standards, I think there needs to be more discussion on outcomes from business analysis, service delivery. And I do think that data driven decision making, we've got to start learning lessons, not on a, not just on the per project or per product release or service release basis, but across the community. So how can we get Bas, let's say, for example, in the UK, collaborating with Bas that working in South Africa, or, or, or the Netherlands, learning lessons and sharing them with each other. And I'm drawing on if you've come across it, the concept of the black box in black box thinking Matthew cite an industry whereby we look at lessons learned and how we move forward, someone showed me or told me just last week, about a 27 million pound project that had been deployed, where they weren't allowed to go and speak to any of the users of a target state system. And so they they developed requirements, they develop the solution, without any conversation with the actual users of this solution, okay. And they've deployed it, and it's defective, it doesn't work. It's not meeting the user customer outputs. And this is this is in a modern organization. I'm not going to name but I'm now going to do another project to fix that. And it's kind of this this is these are age old problems that we've known about for decades. And we, we have to get to a point whereby we get to a tipping point where we say, this isn't acceptable anymore. We want to drive strategically aligned beneficial outcomes for our organizations. And we're going to learn lessons, what's going well, and what's not working well, and stop repeating the mistakes and start learning from the successes. And I'm, I don't have all the answers. But I think collaboration and tooling has got to be a part of this. And standards, we could have a standard so we can communicate with each other. If that makes sense.

Joe Newbert 22:24
When you were telling me that story. I was thinking, is this going to end in a happy way? Like actually is it I felt like you might be building up some happy ending where they've managed to miraculously deliver something and customer wanted without speaking with no, crazy, isn't it? No,

Speaker 2 22:42
I mean, doing business analysis with your hands tied behind your back and blindfolded not being able to talk to your customers and users, your stakeholders, you know, that that that should be consigned to a different era? And, and we should, we should have moved on from that. But unfortunately, and that's just one anecdote. There are still projects where the BAS are perceived to not be able to or not allowed to go and talk to people. And that, that I you know, we've got to consigned to history.

Joe Newbert 23:13
Yeah. No, we do. It's just It's insane. That that can still happen. Yeah, it's like, well, you may as well not have those bas. Really? I want to drop to words you've actually not dropped in yet. I'm surprised not to have her these come come out of your mouth yet, Jonathan, but service design

Speaker 2 23:34
for service design. It's part of the future. You know that? I think that Joe? I think I think that the BA has historically been quite comfortable talking about requirements, and options and business cases. But what we need to do is we need to move from a position whereby we're afraid to or unwilling to talk about solutions, and to move into a realm whereby we're comfortable facilitating design decisions and looking at how do we design services in a cohesive, collaborative way with other colleagues in the change profession. And I do see this as a major kind of stream of where I think business analysis is going to move to where we're going to have to roll our sleeves up and get our hands dirty, and start looking at prototype solutions. deploying those testing hypothesis is being comfortable with a be testing and learning from lessons learned from prototypes, working with customers and improving and evolving things. And that historically, that position whereby the BA would only ever look at the requirement and non solution specific, I think we've we've we need to be mindful that there's a time and a place to only look at requirements from what it is that we want to achieve, but we've got to be comfortable at the right time. And the right place and with the right context, to cross over that Rubicon and start to talk about what solutions might be viable for our context in which we're working techniques like design thinking, can help with this or approaches such as design thinking and out with this, but we've got to we've got to move from just looking at the what to looking at both the what and the how, relative to the solutions that we're putting forward. And we've got to, we've got to gain confidence and competence in doing that. And I think service design is absolutely one of the ways that we can do that. Yeah,

Joe Newbert 25:38
I think so too. Before delving into some of this stuff that I just want you to sort of position something a little bit for me, I, you know, I'm hearing, prototyping, I'm hearing a B testing, and I'm thinking, what's the difference between service design and product management? Maybe?

Speaker 2 25:56
This is a fantastic question. I'm so pleased to answer that. But you've asked the question anyway. So in the change world, as I see it, there's often a project focus, or we're delivering in the constraint of a project, or we're developing and delivering products. And both of these ways of thinking and approaches, I think, are becoming out of date. So service looks holistically across all projects across all products. And so we've talked in business analysis terms, for a long time about this need for a holistic view, the service concept looks across all products. So we're looking at what is the customer experience across any of the products with which you might interact with relative to an organization. So if we took Apple, for example, they've got a holistic design across the the watch the phone, the Mac, the Apple TV products, and so what what is service? Well, we're looking at consistent service offer, consistent, and in an enhanced customer experience across those products. So we're looking at, like a strategic positioning above products, and one of the things I think will happen, and I haven't got the crystal ball, but I think product centric thinking is slowly going to become out of date. Because people are going to realize that actually, we need to think about these things holistically. It's no good having a great customer experience with a single product and use another product from that company. And it's dire, that variance is going to cause you to go elsewhere.

Joe Newbert 27:40
There's going to be variability between the different product teams to implement those if they don't know the overreaching standards. So it's a bit like a sort of brand wrapper in a way and experience wrapper just to make sure that there's sort of consistency across all of those touchpoints between the organization and the customer. Yeah,

Speaker 2 27:59
and then the ability to dive into the detail in the product and to fix improve pain points, touch points, as appropriate, but be able to zoom in to the detail and zoom out holistically the thing joins up, and it works effectively and efficiently for both the business and its customers. Yeah. other stakeholders. I mean, I've worked in financial services for the majority of my career, Joe, there's one bank that I worked for, that had just debt collection 37 different teams collecting debt in 37 different ways using 37 sets of processes, business rules, standards, and information technology products. And this kind of that's, that's okay, in a product centric world. Well, maybe not. But, you know, if you're just thinking about your product and debt collection, or your project and debt collection, that's okay. But what I'm saying is that service design allows you to see that and business architecture tools allow you to do this as well to see the common threads. And so conceptual thinking, and thinking about the customer experience has to be part of the way we move this profession forward.

Joe Newbert 29:13
Yeah, it does. And then you know, with that, if you do find a certain Gremlin in one spot, you know that in three or four other spots as well, you've got to iron, iron that out. Okay, so let's see, let's come a little bit back deeper into this now, now that you've cleared up the difference between the two for me, I mean, you talked about things like prototyping and a B test. And you mentioned this line between what and how I remember I mean, that was a line we were always taught growing up in business analysis, wasn't it? You do the watch, you don't do the how. And I often felt with the systems analysis side of business analysis that there was a bit of how potentially, depending on the organization, you might do a bit of sort of views interface design. But even with business analysis to a degree, I feel like there's a bit of how because we constrain later on, we're sort of implicitly like framing a design. But getting deeper into it being a part of the conversations about what that thing looks like, I think would be really interesting. So how do you sort of you mentioned design thinking as well. But do you see prototyping, just becoming more prevalent in sort of day to day life here and is a B testing.

Speaker 2 30:33
I think, you know, lots of bas already using prototyping all of the time. But I'm experimenting with concepts, thoughts hypothesis, so thought prototypes. And then if it's a prototype of a technology solution, absolutely the wire framing and the actual tech prototype, but it might be a prototype of a new product, might be a prototype of a new service. And I think we've got to get more comfortable with the fact that the world is uncertain and complex, and we don't have all the answers. And so in the definition of our requirements upfront, we don't know we can't predict the future. And so one of the things we can use the prototype for is to explore. And I'm gonna throw in some additional kind of words in our systems thinking, systemic thinking, if you think about systems of systems and all these interrelated components, we can't possibly understand that on our own. And if we make a change, we're gonna have to see what what's the impact on the systems, or the broader ecosystem in which we operate. And I think, you know, these concepts A B testing for me isn't just about technology, it's about testing different processes, maybe different sets of business rules, or a different variant of a product or service. It's a concept that comes from tech development. But we don't have to get more and more comfortable and confident in using these types of tools. So that we can test the ideas that that we have, and be part of the conversation about how we move businesses forward. Far too often, because we've got this blocker, we'll just talk about the what, and just the requirements, we then unfortunately, in some instances were ignored or completely left out of the loop in terms of the conversation. So senior executive will go direct to the person who will prototype their idea, their concept, miss out the BAS, because they spend a lot of time filling out documentation in some instances. And that that, for me is is a threat to this profession. And we have to be we have to be cognizant of the problems in the profession, and move the profession forward so that we are comfortable with rapid prototyping of new concepts and ideas, objective data decision making, based upon those, you know, the A B testing of the new concept or an idea and learning from the results, and working with our businesses or organizations to push, push, push ideas push change forward in a positive, beneficial and aligned way.

Joe Newbert 33:16
Yeah. There isn't a patience for a BA to go on for months sort of requirements, right in Journey is there, as you say, people answers now. So they're gonna go to the person who can answer it. Now, whether that's internal, or a lot of the time, it's external as well to find a partner that's going to going to help them and then you've got no chance of getting into the back of that conversation. A B testing. I mean, you mentioned coming out of technology. And I mean, coming out of product, the thing that jumps to my mind first is always actually marketing, like branding. And I feel that perhaps there's a bit you know, you've talked about service design, you've talked about a B testing processes, product services, that kind of thing. It's very similar in marketing, isn't it? They're testing ideas to see which ones help the customer bite. And I guess it's similar to this in terms of services and things. I'm going to pick something up from your survey answers here that I'd love to talk about. I think I think it's a great little two word phrase. He talks about pushing ideas with business, trying to move change forward. He used the phrase here about being a critical friend to snus. That's great.

Speaker 2 34:37
Yeah, there's a lot of people pleasers in the world, and I've been a people pleaser in the past saying yes, and smiling. But if we're going to we're going to drive forward our businesses. We have to critique and provide a different perspective and look at all of the different perspectives relative to an option. Our feet Chehra requirement a product development or service development idea. And I think resilience, stress management, stakeholder engagement, they've all got to come into the water come into play for us to be confident to be the critical friend. But the friendship pies, we're doing it with positive intent, asking those questions. We're talking about Joe earlier, asking it to be difficult. We're asking it because it's important that we get alignment, and we make considered decisions. And I think I'm not sure whether or not I put it in the survey answers or not. But there's often like a tyranny of the urgent let's just get something delivered. Yeah. There's a product development team waiting. There's we've hired some developers, can you write the user stories kind of mindset? And sometimes we got to be the ones that say, Hang on a minute, why are we doing this change? And is it the appropriate thing to do? And that's not always going to make us popular? Whilst we're doing it with the positive intent?

Joe Newbert 35:59
Yeah. Yeah. Honestly, we love right. That's what you're saying. I remember a phrase once that was used, I forget where I heard it. But it said something along the lines of a friend is somebody who says good things behind your back and bad things to your face. You know, and I've always thought that, you know, you do want the kind of people who are not as you're going to say, just give you the answers to please you but but rather give you something that's going to help you take a critical look at yourself and move yourself. forwards. Another thing with your with your sort of view on prototyping a B testing as well, which which comes back to something you said right at the start as well, is the need for collaboration around that you've talked about listening, but when it comes to just engaging with people, working with people, what particular sort of changes do you perhaps see in in the way that we operate with those roles that support us? And we support back

Speaker 2 37:07
to do you mean, in terms of the other change professional roles?

Joe Newbert 37:10
Yeah, yeah, business as well, business roles.

Speaker 2 37:14
I think we've got to get more inquisitive about what are the differences between the different roles? I think empathy, understanding where people are coming from, we're going to have to also, unfortunately, not look particularly exciting, necessarily, but look at principles of governance, how do we co create value with, for example, a change manager or product owner? How do we set up an environment whereby there's trust, there's empowerment, there's psychological safety, there's a ability to show for example, strengths and vulnerabilities with those other change professionals that you're working with this, there's a there's a whole lot of work they're required to engender are described as a collaborative team. And it's not just right, let's have a workshop and collaborate. There's more to it than that, you've got to build the relationships and some of the best working relationships that I've had, of those where I spend time with the folks that I'm working with, really get to know them. Go out for lunch with someone and I know in these kind of post COVID world that might seem strange, but you know, sitting in going for a coffee with someone in a in an in person bases. I think there's value in there, and we have to make the time to do it. You can do it in a virtual context. Absolutely. But you've still got to prioritize the time to get to know your colleagues and to create that environment. It also requires a lot of leadership and I do think the BA is a leader, we have to show leadership in the aspects on that I'm discussing in terms of creating culture of psychological safety and trust, listening to colleagues being able to share strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, we've got to show leadership in that space. In order to help create this this culture where we can we can actually collaborate with the with other change professionals with our business counterparts and colleagues.

Joe Newbert 39:21
Ya know, it's not easy, you know, thought that popped into my head when you when you mentioned the work of workshop there is you know, like a workshop is in a room we perhaps need to make our daily work or workshop so that we're working collaboratively with people it becomes like more like the day to day than just that, that once off or eight hour thing that we have a lot of the ideas I mean, we haven't really covered business architecture today, but you drop that in, we've dropped in service design, we've talked about customer experience, we've talked about tools, we've talked about chatting EPD repositories been able to ask the right questions, get the right data, make some insightful decisions about it. I think we've blown the top off business analysis,

Speaker 2 40:14
throwing the kitchen sink at some things. Apologies for that.

Joe Newbert 40:19
Open is great, right? Like, like, that's where we're here? Because I'm a great believer that Yeah, we don't have the answers, but let's start talking about it. And if we don't talk about it, then we're not ever gonna know that there's a question that needs answering. But I feel like you know, you've set a bar, a new bar, perhaps of the potential. And now I'm beginning to think, how do we realize this potential sort of where we are now, to get in there? What sort of things do we need to start doing?

Speaker 2 40:52
So I'm really excited about it. Genuinely, I think this professional discipline has a lot of potential. It's got risks, it's got threats, absolutely. But where do we start with we start with a conversation job. And in PA, you know, you're you're starting that conversation by launching this podcast and doing what you're doing grow, you know, meeting and working with other believable folk in this discipline, and sharing the ideas and concepts, doing doing, doing work in our respective communities and cross cross the communities. We've, it's all of our jobs to do this as no one person's job. I think, I think the professional bodies have a role to play. I think original practitioners have a role to play. And I think it's exciting, but I don't I don't have the answers to GE, I don't know how we get to this point where the BA is skilled, competent, and confident in the fields of business architecture, business, service design, and business analysis, unable to manifest positive strategically aligned change outcomes, no matter where they do that work. Wherever that is in the world. That's like a, I think I'll be working towards that. Towards the end of my career, until the very last day of my business analysis career whenever it is that I retire, I don't know when that will be, but I might even be working on it post retirement. I've seen this as a, I don't see this is not 10 year thing, this might be beyond that. But it's we've got to get to work with it. And we're having this conversation and the conversations that we we have with others all the time, don't it's part of this work. But it's it's no one there's no one silver bullet, I think there's no I'll go do this and it's fixed. What are your ideas? Joe? How do we get to move towards this confident, competent, high quality, be a professional of the future? I know that want your thoughts.

Joe Newbert 43:03
You're the first person who asked me a question. It depends how about Yeah, have we got another 4045 minutes? It's complex. But I like what you say it's about having conversations. And that's exactly why this pod started. I don't believe that any one person has got an answer. But I do believe a collective a community, you know, a consensus around some ideas, the sowing of seeds through people who listen to this, and it adds then add some sort of difference to what they were thinking or it completes an idea that it that it had, that they had. And I think together, we then sort of come along on this journey, and we take a path forward. And I think I think it's gonna be a long path, like you say, we're probably not going to see the end of it. I mean, well, the future is always there, right? It moves as we move, but we're not going to see the end of it anytime soon. So as long as we're on the right path, and we start walking down the path, I think that's the best thing that we can, that we can do. And anybody listening, as I've just highlighted, if if you want to come on this pod, if you want to have a seat in one of these chairs and have a conversation, please do future business analyst.com forward slash survey, fill that in book yourself a slot on the show, and I look forward to having a conversation with you. Which is probably also a good time to say thank you for the conversation. Jonathan. It's been wonderful to chat with you. I appreciate you throwing your kitchen at me. It's been fun. And yeah, I'm sure this is the start of a couple of more conversations that you and I will have maybe offline but thanks for coming on.

Unknown Speaker 44:58
Brilliant. Thank you for your time, Joe. Thank you very much

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About Samuel Gazimbi

Jonathan Hunsley (/in/jonathanhunsley/) is the Service Development Director at AssistKD and co-host of the BA Brew Podcast. He is a BCS International Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Business Analysis trainer and oral examiner. Jonathan is an experienced and pragmatic professional who consults in the fields of business analysis and business architecture as well as being a mentor for the Business Analysis Apprenticeship scheme.

About Joe Newbert

Joe Newbert (/joenewbert) is is a consultant, a writer, a speaker, but above all, a teacher. As Chief Training Officer at Business Change Academy, he delivers some of the best business analysis training on the planet. He co-authored the original IIBAยฎ Business Analysis Competency Model and served as Non-Executive Director on the IIBAยฎ South Africa Strategy Board. Joe is Showrunner at the business analysis podcast network OneSixEight FM and Editor-In-Chief at the Inter-View Report. And he also writes in fits and starts on Newbert's Blog.


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