As a BA or BA manager, you may find yourself in an organization with little-to-no emphasis on BA-specific career development. Hopefully, you are the self-motivated sort, who is actively engaged in the BA community and constantly seeking out new resources and learnings. At some point, you probably will wish to share this knowledge with your peers. After all, sharing what you’ve learned is a great way to open yourself up to future learning.  Also, this can serve great benefits for your organization as a whole.

As you begin your investigation into setting up your own BA community within your company, you will likely come across two common, albeit somewhat ambiguous terms: Center of Excellence (CoE) and Community of Practice (CoP). The following article provides a breakdown of both, with an emphasis on the CoP:

Many strategies I have seen discuss developing a strong business case to secure support and understanding. This is typically followed by developing your CoP or CoE along the lines of a traditional project. The difficulty in doing so is often defining the benefit and building support for a concept, which even your fellow BAs may not be familiar with. Instead, I suggest a simple approach.

One point of the Modern Analyst post above is to set up a common repository; be it an intranet or SharePoint site. I see this is as the real starting point. Asking for a designated SharePoint space, which you can develop to share information and tools with your BA brethren, is a lot less formal and intimidating ask. Even without formal SharePoint training, you can utilize Youtube videos and/or buy lunch for your company’s SharePoint guru to help get you going.

From there, you will need to decide what information you’d like to share. Perhaps, you have a specific mission in mind; such as discovering and encouraging use of higher quality deliverable documentation or flushing out project learnings and tidbits. The internet is full of resources. I suggest the following starting points for your BA community repository:

  • A calendar of upcoming BA events (Check your local IIBA Chapter) & upcoming webinars
  • A repository of templates
  • A community space for sharing successes and lessons learned
  • Links to interesting BA sites you have run across

Once you have  a good starting point, test it out with some of your peers. Encourage their thoughts and understand what they would like to see.  Be amicable to suggestions and making this serve more than just your own needs/vision. As you build support from the ground up, you can add brown bag lunch session to share things people have learned, start certification study groups, and even adopt more formal organizational standards or recommendations. Mainly remember, it’s possible to make a difference without trying to eat the elephant whole.

I hope you find that your efforts will be rewarded with curiosity and interest from others. Don’t be discouraged if not everyone shares your passion. Resistance may come in the way of individuals not wanting to distract any time from their (or your) main work priorities. Hopefully, you will find this less formal approach a good way to build interest and a sense of community; while avoiding the perception of creating more work of others. Before long, you may want to revisit a business case to create a more formalized BA community structure. Until then, good luck and have fun!

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