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Keyboard Globe XSmallSalutations!  BobtheBA here.  Are we ready for another BACOE blogisode?  Let’s go!

So in my last blogisode I talked about the many paths to Business Analysis maturity and the need for you to first start with root cause analysis to determine why you think you need a BACOE.  Did you go through your Five Whys exercise?  If so, you may have found that your organization lacks standards, and the root cause for that might have been something like insufficient budget to document or the previous attempts at standardizing failed so we can’t do that again!  Or perhaps you have some standards and you found out that your organization lacks the ability to measure Business Analyst performance effectively.  That might have had a root cause like dispersed management in a matrixed environment.  Whatever the reasons, both make sense to move forward with a full blown BACOE model, right?  Well hold a minute!  This is why I say getting started is hard.

There is a LOT to a BACOE and, although these are components of a BACOE, they are not all encompassing.  Calling yourself a BACOE may imply something that may not be what you need/want and/or misrepresenting your effort.  Trust me on this – I have learned the hard way!  Now, personally I love the concept of the BACOE, but it can be nuclear in proportion (which is why one must love the bomb if one wants a full BACOE).

The next step is to understand the different names/approaches and what they mean to your effort.  So what is in a name?  Let’s explore.  BA Community of Practice.  BA Center of Practice.  BA Competency Center.  BA Center of Excellence.  These are a few of the main concepts out there.  Really?  Really!!!  The approach and the name describes what your focus is and  is also a selling point when it comes to getting support from your management or community both now and later (more on that in future blogisodes).  So I want to briefly describe each approach so that you can have a better frame of reference for matching it up with your root cause analysis.

BA Community of Practice.  The Business Analysis Community of Practice is a structure that brings together practitioners of Business Analysis from all over the organization to discuss best practices, successes, opportunities for improvement, coaching, solicitation of ideas and other needs (like venting-which is healthy).  This is done regardless of methodology used or titles bestowed.  Just like the Girl Scouts – they are a community with a specific focus (oh Girl Scout cookies, why do you tempt me so!).   The Community is often run by a Business Analysis change advocate/champion in the organization or by a committee of peers with representation from multiple departments.  The Community of Practice generally has no authority to make changes to company policies, templates or processes.  It can be run in person, virtually, or both and may meet quarterly, monthly, or weekly depending on need and bandwidth.  It should be a safe environment where people are free to exchange information with the goal for improving overall quality.

It is already the end of another brush with danger and thrills – the BA Center of Practice definition is next!

Next Blogisode: BACOP or BACOP?  Community vs. Practice  OR…  My Community won’t Practice what it preaches!

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