BACOE Blogisode #4: The BA Competency Center – Do you need one? OR… Competent is as Competent does.

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Hello from the COE Blogosphere!  BobtheBA  is here ready to scratch the surface of the Competency Center.  And before I get started I want to give a big shout out to Angela Wick and committee that did such an amazing job on the IIBA Competency Model.  You should really check it out on the IIBA website!

Well, gentle blog followers … is there a more technical name for that?  Please contact me and let me know if there is (inquiring minds and all).  As I was saying gentle blog followers, if you have been following along, you now have a pretty good high-level definition of a Community of Practice and a Center of Practice.   A Center of Competency (or Competency Center) is about measuring and managing performance.  This generally includes: people, industry standards used, internal standards used and how competent people are in those standards.  Okay, on the surface that sounds easy, right?  Well, not when you are dealing directly with the human component.  People are naturally afraid of the measurement process and change in general even if it is helpful.  However, a Center of Competency (with the right model) done right will help to eliminate subjective measures, favoritism and other unwanted behaviors and practices that really do not help the success of our people or processes.

So, let’s look at a slightly deeper view of what a Center of Competency could entail.  It looks at the skills of the person who is performing a given task or technique.  It looks at the practitioner’s knowledgebase and tries to determine their proficiency in their discipline.  It looks at self assessments, overall maturity assessments (Business Analyst and Business Analysis).  It defines roles.  It looks at how to manage job expectations.   It looks at how managers and peers provide feedback (not criticism but honest to goodness, real and useful feedback).  It could include a mentoring and coaching program.  Which I need to point out there is a BIG difference between the two (sounds like a future blog coming your way on that topic).   My personal favorite is that it should tie one’s performance to pay appropriately.  It identifies training needs and it could include much more depending on the company culture and needs. 

Well I think you now get why this is not exactly easy.  Additionally, there is a large Human Resources component here which makes the challenge even more exciting!  The Competency Center with the appropriate model and approach will show people how to get from point A to point B – a clear path to keeping practitioners engaged in their careers.  It will help management understand the full spectrum level of support needed and also to reassure them of why they are making a good investment in their people and processes.  It could just be me, but I seem to think that this is just the right thing to do for people.  What do you think?

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