Improving IT Processes
The Challenge A Fortune 100 organization desired to improve its IT processes along SEI CMM® guidelines, to achieve a more mature level. Watermark has worked with this organization for several years providing technical training services. As their needs evolved, so did the type of training we provided them.
The Solution Starting with our Defining and Analyzing Requirements class as a base, we also provide business analysis training on Use Case Modeling, Business Process Modeling, and Data Modeling. Our class on Facilitation Skills was added to help facilitate requirements-gathering sessions. Watermark Learning adapted select portions of our materials to match up with the organization's SEI standards. The entire program is modular to allow for flexible scheduling, and to permit "just-in-time" usage.
- The relevant content we provide connects immediately with learners, and promotes quick applicability back on the job.
- Our instructors were already or have become extremely familiar with the client’s business, systems and methodologies employed – ensuring maximum relevancy.
- By knowing the learner population closely, we integrate the various topics together, and help students apply them to their jobs.
- The modular scheduling format permits short, focused classes that give “just-in-time” coverage and minimize time away from the job.
- Our integrated curriculum has meant minimum overlap of courses, with material that reinforces one another.
- Our customer service “extras” has reduced the workload of the client staff and we’ve been recognized as a value-added vendor.
Increasing Customer Satisfaction
The Challenge An internationally-known avionics manufacturer found that many of its IT projects were not meeting customer expectations. Symptoms of these missed expectations included scope creep and missing requirements, resulting in a great deal of rework.
The Solution The company chose Watermark Learning to provide a customized Business Analyst training program to remedy the situation. “We were impressed with Watermark’s class offerings, flexibility in accommodating our needs, and affiliation with the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®),” said the corporation’s Manager of Project and Human Resources Solutions. “We also found our Watermark Education Consultant very easy to work with,” she added.
Watermark Learning consulted with the company and analyzed their needs to arrive at these goals for the BA training program:
- Educating its BAs on the skillsets needed to do their jobs
- Giving them a process to follow
- Improving project performance
- Increasing customer satisfaction
The new program was rolled out initially to the IT Department, with a plan to train all 250 employees in that area.
The Benefits Members of the first group to complete the program demonstrated greater strength and are more comfortable with facilitating requirements. “They have also come up with wonderful ideas about how we can improve our internal processes,” the manager said. “This program has opened our people’s eyes to what their role could really be, and how much control they could have over their process.”The company expects both cost and time savings and improved project results that exceed customer expectations. “We want to get everyone in IT performing a BA role in some capacity through the training and we plan to continue to offer it at intervals going forward,” the manager added.
Addressing the Real Business Needs
The Challenge The Information Technology (IT) Department of a west central state found that although they were often delivering what their customers in other state agencies wanted, they were not actually addressing real business needs with their solutions and not solving the real business problems at hand.
“We needed to understand our customer’s needs from a business analysis standpoint and realize real process improvements,” said the Project Management Manager. “We operate as a service to other state departments,” he said. “We can provide Business Analysis, or we can train other departments’ Business Analysts to do their jobs. In either case, we need to understand what their true business problems are before we undertake a project.”
The Solution The IT Department chose Watermark Learning to provide a customized Business Analysis Certificate program to fill their needs. “We needed our people and those in other departments to attain the skills and abilities needed to do the BA job right,” the manager said. The program Watermark Learning designed for them includes six different courses, including a BA Fundamentals course.
Why Watermark Learning “One of the things that most impressed us about Watermark is that their instructors have actually done the BA job. As practitioners, they can relate our programs to something they’ve already experienced,” the manager stated. “Our Watermark training consultant also worked hard to make sure the program would be flexible enough to meet all of our needs.”
The program was originally rolled out for the IT Department, but now includes participants from four other agencies, including Human Services, Transportation, Workforce Safety and Insurance, and the state-owned bank. “Sixty people have now been through the complete program,” the manager said. “Another 40, including project managers, department managers, and others who need an understanding of the BA role, have taken the Fundamentals class.”
The Benefits “The biggest benefit we’ve seen is that people are now ‘thinking like the business,’” he said. “They’re no longer just thinking about how to apply the technology, but also about such things as requirements traceability. They’ve also learned about modeling processes so they can see just how various departments do business.”
“We’ve also been impressed with how the instructors conduct the courses,” the manager stated. “The combination of lectures and hands-on workshops provides a good mixture and results in improved learning for our students.”
Going Forward The State Legislature has noticed improvements resulting from the program and is providing funding for more Business Analysis activities throughout state departments. “The legislature has actually initiated this funding itself, with no prompting from us,” the manager said. “It’s still too early to quantify our results,” he added. “However, two more state agencies are showing an interest in the series, plus the BA Fundamentals course. As interest continues to increase, we may have to step up our schedule of course offerings!”
Watermark Learning offers comprehensive business analysis training and mentoring to help discover and define business needs and achieve enduring results. Click here for an overview of how we can make it work for you.