The first Business Analysis Practitioner Forum (BAPF) workshop was organized by IIBA Bulgaria on 07 July 2018. Partner and host of the event was ITCE training center.
The event is the first of its kind for the Bulgarian Business Analysis community. The goal of the BAPF is to allow BA practitioners to discuss standards, techniques and trends related to the BA profession. The participants promote best practices based on their diverse experiences.
The topics discussed during the first BAPF were:
1.    Remote working practices for BAs
2.    BA & Product owner – who is doing what?
The participants were split into two teams and encouraged to organize their thoughts in a structured manner so that they can be afterwards shared with the community. This article summarizes the workshop output.
Remote working practices for BAs
·         Great practices for remote communication:
-          Have at least 2 channels of communication (chat + mail; phone + mail; etc.) so that you can create verification chains
-          Include an executive summary in the mail body when communicating information via an attached file. Remember that more and more frequently people check their mail box over phone. Therefore, it would be useful to get the main message from the e-mail’s subject (or body) instead of the attachment.
-          Paraphrase and ask questions that can help you understand if everyone is on the same page. Remember that the language barrier may be a challenge, so check frequently if the message is well grasped.
-          Mind the shaky stakeholder engagement. Remember that in case of remote communication, the recipient may be doing something else in parallel. Put more efforts on engaging stakeholders by inviting them to meetings that bring value to them.
·         Great tools for remote communication
- – diagrams & sketches
-          Mural – Kanban walls
-          Cisco telephone room
-          Jira / Confluence
-          Word / SharePoint
-          Web Sequence
-          Screen sharing tools
-          WebEx
·         Great practices for remote working depending on the stakeholders’ type
-          Internal stakeholders
o   Have daily meetings to reinforce the sense of team
o   Be available so that people can find you through the available communication channels when needed
o   Prototype, use proof of concepts (PoC) to elicit ideas and get a common understanding. Use visuals and prototypes instead of text.
-          External stakeholders
o   Set clear expectations from the beginning
o   Have an agreed communication plan
o   Follow templates so that everyone can get used to a particular form of communication
o   Find a common ground on personal level
o   Create frequent feedback loops
·         Great practices related to the method of work
-          If possible, spend some time on site. This will improve the remote collaboration afterwards.
-          Be sure you have a way to exchange information and it is available to everyone.
-          If possible, organize requirements gathering workshop at the beginning of the project. Combine it with a meet & greet event. Set positive atmosphere at the beginning, not at the end of the initiative. If this is not possible, organize requirements gathering workshop using teleconferencing and not only voice.
BA vs Product Owner – who is doing what?
Based on participant’s experience, several organizational setups are discussed. The general understanding describes the Product Owner (PO) as a “BA + more”. Based on participant’s experience, the companies that operate on the Bulgarian market characterize the BA as closer to the IT team whereas the PO is closer to (or part of) the “business” team.
Setup 1
Setup 2
Setup 3
Setup 4
In short, the PO role is considered has responsibilities over the product vision and strategy. It is often customer-facing. The BA role is rather focused on the solution and includes responsibilities related to requirements elicitation, gaps identification and user stories documentation. The BA role can be quite technical and it is often split between multiple people.
To conclude, the first BAPF provided valuable insights on the proposed topics and allowed the participants to share experiences, interact and discuss in a safe environment.
The workshop ended by a collaboration game where new topics were generated. They will be discussed during upcoming BAPF workshops.
Topics generated during the game:
·         Data Flow diagrams & use cases – 22 pts
·         Best practices for writing business requirements – 21 pts
·         Strategy Analysis techniques – 19 pts
·         The PM hat of the BA – 19 pts
·         Elicit requirements – 19 pts
·         Soft skills for POs/ BAs – 18 pts
·         How can BAs improve? – 18 pts
·         Project manager vs Product Owner – 18 pts
·         Requirements management – 18 pts
·         How to sell BA services? – 17 pts
·         BA Centers of Excellence in organizations – 11 pts
BAPF #1 workshop facilitator: Aneliya Yotova, CBAP
BAPF #1 workshop participants: Srebrin Balabanov, Teodor Ognianov, Radostina Nenova, CBAP, Stanislava Salakirova, Diljana Kapukaranova, Iliana Yocheva, Silviya Mishkova, Angel Ignatov, Stoil Stoilov, Jordan Stanchev, Nikolay Veselinov, Nikoleta Spasova, Stefan Nikolaev