Every year there is a lot that goes on at the IIBA’s premier conference: Building Business Capabilities (#BBCCon). This year, we were lucky enough to share what we were seeing and hearing live from the show floor on this podcast (a special thank you to Jacqueline for carring the equipment to Las Vegas)!

Episode 19 | November 3, 2016 Business Analysis Podcast Transcript

Jacqueline: Hello. This is Jacqueline-Sanders Blackman of Technology Expresso Radio, and we are live in Las Vegas at the BBC Conference, the IIBA sponsored conference. I’m here with Kupe. Hello Kupe!

Kupe: Hello! How are you doing? We are live on location. I love this. I love the remotes.

Jacqueline: Exactly. This is agile.

Kupe: That’s right! We got the mics out and we’re running.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. I am so excited. We’re going to be the eyes and ears for people that have never been to a BBC Conference. First of all, explain to them, what is #BBCCon?

Kupe: Alright. Right before we got on I was trying to figure out how many years this conference has been going on, but awhile back, more than 10 years ago, it was the Business Rules and Business Process Conference. Then, about 6 years ago, the IIBA jumped on board with them and decided, “You know what? Let’s have a conference where it equals business analysis, business rules, business process.” One discipline by itself does not make progress, but all the disciplines together is what really could happen, so it was a real nice marriage. That’s how BBC kind of came about.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. I think that was a phenomenal concept, because I tell people that it’s sometimes like attending 7 different conferences in one. Each of those disciplines could stand alone as a conference. Sometimes you get conflicted because you want to go to all of them, but I think it’s a great way, also, for people in their career development; you can start out at the beginning.

Kupe: If you’re specializing in business rules, it’s really good. They have a  lot about business architecture, a lot about agile, a lot about business analysis, and a lot about business process improvement and business process management. To your point, it’s hard. I just heard there were 175 speakers over a 3-day period, so yeah, it’s hard to see all of them. A lot of people come and they split up and try to get as many as they can then get back together and talk about it.

Jacqueline: Do you remember your very first #BBCCon or your first conference, and how has this evolved and changed?

Kupe: The first one I went to was in Washington D.C., and it was a lot smaller than this. This year there are about 1,400 attendees. That’s pretty good. In the past it has been around that, but I think one year was like 1,700. But, it was a lot smaller. Now, there are just so many people. What I love about it now is that there are so many people I recognize; the posse gets back together. Jacqueline, my goal in life is to meet everybody in the world, so with conferences like this I’m like a kid in a candy store because I can’t wait to find the next person to connect with.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. And a lot of people recognize you, too. I think I’ve been to 4 to 5 conferences. I went to Florida twice, then for the last 2 years I’ve been in Vegas. It’s really a cool experience. I tell people when I go to other conferences, “Business analysts know how to put on a conference.”

Kupe: Yeah, exactly. And if you’re interested in going next year, we’re going to be in Orlando. You can bring the family. Not that you can’t bring the family to Vegas, but I have young kids. Especially around Halloween time, it’s not the place to bring someone. Orlando, obviously, is a place you can bring your family and make a whole weekend out of it.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. And like we said, we’re going to be the eyes and ears for our audience that’s looking in. What you hear in the background, we’re actually in an area where a lot of different vendors are, whether they are selling tools or, like ourselves, selling services around training. Shane is one of the people here that does selling and connecting with our B2T customers. He can talk about his experience.

Kupe: Something exciting is about to happen. I’m not exactly sure what.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. I know we have a reception this evening. More networking with almost 2000 people here. There are going to be some big drawings, too. We have a raffle going on here: $250 worth of chips.

Kupe: Yeah. Either spend it at the casino, cash it in, and you have $250.

Jacqueline: That’s right. And we have the bookstore over here. Your “Business Analysis For Dummies.”

Kupe: Yeah. It sold out yesterday. I signed a few copies. They had 20 or so copies; it sold out.

Jacqueline: That is awesome. The other thing that I think is cool is the Agile Jam Session. Very interactive. Why don’t you talk about what the Agile Jam is?

Kupe: Yeah. So, IIBA and BBC Conference have an alignment: the Agile Alliance, and they come to this conference every year and just have an open space in the hallway somewhere with tables, chargers, keys, and markers. People sign up to talk about different things related to agile. They volunteer, like yourself Jacqueline. Agile experts in the field are there and hang out at the table. People come up, and they jam, brainstorm and talk about the different things related to agile and how to incorporate it into their office.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. I love that concept because there are some great sessions and presentations. It’s spontaneous, and people can really get to the heart of what their day-to-day frustration is. For me, it as very interesting because every time I walk past there, I poke my head in to hear what topic is being shared. I get to kind of hear what are —

Kupe: — people asking, yeah.

Jacqueline: Exactly. Some of the things that we touch upon and things that are in our bootcamp that we developed. It’s a reinforcement —

Kupe: — a validation of stuff we’re trying to help people with.

Jacqueline: Yeah, because a lot of people are picking up the ceremony, and they’ve read something, but we designed something that can give them experience. It’s a culture change. The mindset we always talk about. That’s what the bootcamp pulls in. It’s not in the book or something you can read page by page. It’s much more than that. We’ve seen great reactions to our bootcamp because of that. Now, let’s talk about: you did a presentation; you were up on stage.

Kupe: Yeah, it was awesome. We got moved to the keynote room, so it was a full house. I did with Lori Silverman; she has been a friend of mine for years. The key that we have together is we’re both Dummies authors. I was the co-author of “Business Analsis for Dummies” with Paul Mulvey and Kate McGoey, and Lori wrote “Business Storytelling for Dummies.” We met last year at another conference in Winnipeg, and she asked, “I got this book. I have a lot of stuff on storytelling, and I think it could work with the BA community. Can you help me figure out a way to do that?”

So I went ahead and bought her book on the way home so I could read it on the flight from Winnipeg to Atlanta. It kind of hit me that storytelling really helps get to the heart of the matter, get to the heart of what the real problem is, the real challenge, the real opportunity. That’s kind of a core problem in the business analysis arena and with businesses today. Are we really working on the right stuff? Are we really working on the stuff that’s going to make an impact and really get to the problem? I kind of decided that this storytelling stuff is a great way to start off your elicitation sessions.

One of the things Lori and I talked about is when you ask questions like “what does success look like,” “what are you trying to get out of this,” and “what are the outcomes,” then people give you information. You ask a question and then you get an answer; you ask another question, you get an answer; another question, an answer. But, what you’re really looking for is the whole, big story. By asking questions, it puts a lot on you and the stakeholder to try and putall of the pieces together.

Rather than starting with asking questions, you start by asking a story prompt, and the story prompt starts off with “tell me about…” You use specific words, and you can read Lori’s book or we can talk more about it at a different time. You say, “Tell me about something related to the scenario” and then let the person speak. It’s amazing the stuff that you glean from people just talking and telling stories about what’s going on in their arena and how most of the questions you have are answered.

You realize that not only do you get to the heart of the problem, but you get to the heart of the person. It’s a real way to connect. They’re not actually answering questions, but they’re showing what their emotions are. You see where the pain points are. It’s a new technique I think the DiSC area, and we were excited to get really good feedback. We’re looking forward to sharing it in more and more places.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. Making our role less mechanical. It’s not about tech. I can remember early on where people would just summarize analysis and say the who, what, when, where, and why. I think we’ve matured, we’ve learned, and now it’s much more than that. Back to your point, it’s not just “answer this question.” It’s really getting people fully engaged.

Kupe: Yeah. One of the other pieces is about how to listen to a story. It was pretty amazing because we teach people that they have to listen delightfully. That’s listening, sitting up, focusing on the person, looking at them, nodding when you hear stuff, smiling, and never speaking a word. This is different for people in our space. Typically when someone says something, you paraphrase what they say. But when you do that to someone that’s telling a story, it takes them out of their element and kind of throws them off. You’re supposed to just sit there and let them tell the story. It’s amazing.

People are like, “I can’t take notes? I just have to sit there? I can’t paraphrase? How am I going to remember this?” Well, after Lori told the story—I asked her for a story prompt, she told us a story, and I said, “Ok, who can repeat the story?” Our friend Hans got up and repeated almost word for word. It was just to show that he didn’t take any notes and he remembered the story. There is real brain science on how when someone’s telling a story, how much more it sticks than just answering one-line questions.

Jacqueline: That goes back to: you just have to listen. Sometimes when you know you have a recorder, then that’s your crutch. But if you’re not taking notes while they’re talking, then that means you need to be fully engaged.

Kupe: Exactly.

Jacqueline: It’s amazing. Any other conversations you’ve gotten?

Kupe: I like to get out and hang with the people. One of the greatest things about this conference? It’s a good and a bad, I would say. The greatest thing is that you are so among like-minded people. If you’re in this space, there are so many like-minded people, and you can have a conversation with anybody and everybody knows what you’re talking about. It’s real easy and comforting. That’s beautiful, and it’s really good to be around people that are on the same path, the same mindset.

The downside is there’s still not enough pull to come to the conference that we have to convince the value of business analysis. Everybody here: they’re bought in; they get it. Now they’re just looking for little ways to tweak what they do and how to improve on what they do, but they’re bought in. I wish there were a way to get people at this conference, some upper management and leaders of organizations that may not be totally bought in to business analysis: get them here so they can see the excitement and see the stuff that BAs really do.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. It’s really interesting. When you have someone here that’s not a BA, even a project manager or a program manager, you get excited to see them here. Even though they didn’t get it when they got here, at least they’re here, observing, and it may give them a whole different perspective. To your point, some people can work on an IT project isolated; you might see an isolated BA. That BAs level of performance may be different than what we might perceive as business analysis best practices.

When you come here, you get to see that it’s not just the one offering. There are people that invest and are passionate about it and are looking to develop themselves. The first step is getting involved in your local chapter or the IIBA and attending those. That just gives you a little of the insight from what you would get coming to a national conference.

Kupe: You’re right, and you meet people around the world that are doing this. There are people from New Zealand, Spain, Australia, France, a bunch of people from the UK. There’s Canada obviously. I think 27 countries are represented here. The passion is pretty amazing. A great testament to the conference is so many people that I know are saying, “This is my 2nd/4th/5th/ year.” There is a branch of people here that haven’t been here before, but there are a lot of people that have been coming year after year after year, and it’s pretty awesome.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. It’s kind of like a family.

Both Jacqueline and Kupe: It’s a family reunion.

Jacqueline: The other thing is your experience. There are some people standing around our booth. I want to pull them in. I’m going to have them call into our number, and then we’ll be able to talk to you on the air. We’d like to hear from you.

Kupe: While they’re calling in, let me ask you: I had to speak yesterday, and I did a tutorial on decision-making on Monday. I’ve been here a long time, and I haven’t had a chance to go see a lot of the presentations. You’ve been going to some of the presentations. What has been some of the highlights for you?

Jacqueline: The first one that I went to was by Juliet Funt.

Kupe: Yeah, she was amazing.

Jacqueline: Hers was “WhiteSpace at Work.” That was a keynote, and it’s what I look forward to in a keynote. It was inspiring. Just taking a few minutes to stop and think.

Kupe: Right. What was great about that was there was such a connection to the BA world that you don’t always find in keynotes, but what we need to do as BA’s is think. We’re getting information and we’re talking to people, but we need a good chunk of time to stop and think about what we’re hearing. When Lori and I talked about stories, one of the things she said that I love is “let the story flow all over you and just soak it in.”

That applies to what Juliet Funt was talking about. Just pause, relax, think, and be creative. We’re moving so fast from task to task to task and not stopping and thinking. I thought she was an unbelievable speaker. I took a lot of notes because I want to emulate what she talked about; the topic resonated with me, obviously with you, and I talked to so many people who are of the same opinion.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. Even when you come to a conference like this, it’s like you enjoy the new techniques you hear about, but sometimes the most simple techniques — because sometimes we keep ourselves so busy and moving, but I was really getting to that deep thinking, that deep thought problem-solving and solutions. I’ll get back to you. We have Greg Busby here. Greg, welcome. Are you enjoying the #BBCCon?

Greg: It has been a really good conference this year. Met a lot of good people, good sessions, learned a lot. All in all, a lot of fun.

Jacqueline: Is this your first experience?

Greg: No. I’ve been here a number of times before. I haven’t been here in several years, but this is like my 4th conference that I’ve been to.

Kupe: Awesome. Tell me about a session that you’ve been to that moved you or gave you a new way of thinking.

Greg: Well, I went to the Business Modal Canvas, one of the tutorials that happened on Monday, and that was great because it’s something that’s in the new BABOK 3.0 and it’s not something I was familiar with. It helped quite a bit. It’s a really interesting model for figuring out the business, figuring out how business was architected, and both the processes and values that you produce as a business. I think that’s a really good first step for high-level modeling. Really enjoyed that one.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. Are there any certain trends or any hallway conversations that resonated with you? Any new things you’ve been picking up from the word on the street?

Greg: The thing that is really interesting is how many people that are here for their first time and creating larger communities of BAs that are trying to show the value of business analysis within their organizations. A really good session today was by folks that had a business analysis group at New York State. I think people are really interesting in proving the value of business analysis, and there are a lot of stuff here that can help them do that. I think a lot of people are really happy that they came.

Kupe: That’s great. Jacqueline, you were asking me about the different sessions. I think there were some that were held by people in the learning and development space like the one that I did, Ron Ross does some, Roger Burlton, and other people that are either consultants, in training, or work with softwares and vendors that are in this space. Greg is saying that last one he attended is from the practitioners, the people that are living and breathing it every single day and sharing their war wounds: what worked, what didn’t, and here’s something that you can give a try. I think the attendees really enjoyed those sessions.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. They do do a lot of case studies and that type of thing. They really do try to make it relevant to show you how it applies. There are great takeaways. Are there any other sessions that you’re looking forward to? I know we have just one more day. Did you have a favorite out of all the sessions you attended?

Greg: I think the case studies are always really interesting. If you want to learn a technique, I think it’s helpful, as Kupe mentioned, to go with someone who’s in the space in one way or another because they can really hone in on a technique. If you want to see how things are panning out in the real world, then the case studies are fantastic. I really enjoyed most of them. It’s interesting to be able to go to a business architect session, a business process session, and then regular BA sessions: have all those things available at one time.

Jacqueline: I’m glad you were able to join us. Enjoy the rest of the conference.

Greg: I will. You too.

Kupe: Alright. Thank you Greg!

Jacqueline: Absolutely. You know what? I’m going to be agile. I’m going to try a different technique for our next guest. I’m going to get Shane to come over as he rolls his eyes. Why don’t you come over here? Shane, tell everyone what you do and what you’re doing here at the #BBCCon.

Kupe: Yeah, what are you doing here?

Shane: I’m here to just network and socialize. In reality, it’s a great opportunity for me to get to put a face to the names of a lot of our customers. That’s really the best part for me, but it’s also an opportunity to share with agile new customers why what we do is different from everyone else. We may be able to help them improve their BA practice.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. What are some of the questions or the needs of the people that come by?

Shane: Right now, and I’m sure you guys have talked about it several times. The casual analysis piece is the big area where people are struggling or would like to improve. Mostly people want to know why we’re different. If they are looking for some sort of learning development, why B2T vs. one of the other great organizations out there? I always try to share that we have some of the best experts that are out there, like the 2 people that are on the line right now.

Kupe: Making me blush.

Shane: It’s a great opportunity, and I have learned, working from a home office, that it’s nice to get out and network some and see your colleagues and all your customers.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. Let me ask you another question. You see a lot of people from different industries. What are some of the industries that you come across here at the #BBCCon?

Shane: It really is a cross-spectrum, but you do see a heavy saturation of interns, financial, healthcare, and this year I noticed there are quite a few government agencies on the state and county level.

Jacqueline: People come from all over the world.

Kupe: Yeah. 27 countries.

Jacqueline: That’s amazing. Business analysis is not just something that we made up. It’s all over, and it’s still growing. Thank you Mr. Shane for joining us.

Shane: My pleasure.

Kupe: Thank you, Shane.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. The next thing I want to talk about is the IIBA, and the new BABOK 3.0. has come out. Why don’t you share with the audience what the conversations are around, what the IIBA is doing,

Kupe: I think there are 3 things related to the IIBA that is kind of new to this conference. One that is not particularly new to this conference but “newish” is the level of certifications. We used to have the CCBA and the CBAP, which were 2-3 years experience and then 5+ experience. They’ve changed to a model of a beginning level, which is knowledge-based stuff where we have our apprenticeship program and wanting to learn. They can get this certification. And then there’s still CCBA and CBAP, and then they’re going to be working on a soft-leader type certification.

The other thing is another alignment with the Agile Alliance. They’re thinking of uploading the agile extension to the BABOK, and there are some really good people that get to be a part of that team. Shane Hasti is the one heading that up. Kate McDonald is on that team with a few others. That’s good: talking about how we’re in this agile environment, so how does business analysis really work.

The other thing is the IIBA embarked on a huge research study. They hired KPMG to span the globe and call BAs, BA leaders, CIOs, and other people to find out the state of business analysis around the world. I wouldn’t say the report itself has shown a grand light; you and I had already known what it shared. There is a lot of stuff happening out there. Leaders still don’t understand what BA’s do or don’t see the value.

It wasn’t major, brand new information from folks on up that are familiar, but I think the exciting part is what can be done next. It’s a great report to hand over to executives and say, “Hey, look what’s happening in the BA space” and “There is need to develop people in this arena.” It’s exciting where that can take us.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. And you know, the question you asked me earlier: some of the other sessions I attended was around how organizations understand the value of a BA. One of my favorite soundbites was in a session about agile. They asked, “Are you willing to take on the risk of not having a BA and just letting the developer make decisions based on the first thing they hear from the product owner.” What could possibly happen?

Kupe: What could possibly go wrong?

Jacqueline: Once people turn their backs around, they will realize that the BA is a person that can speak both of those languages. In one of those sessions it was asked, “What are some of the areas that BA’s really need to expand their role?”

Kupe: There were tutorials around using decision-making as part of the objectives: helping people make decisions. You need somebody else to bounce ideas off of to help make that decision. People don’t naturally make decisions on their own. They need people to challenge their ideas, and I think that’s where people in this BA space can really play and add value.

The product owner can sit there and say, “I think we should do this, this, and this,” but if nobody is there, like you said, if the developer says, “Great,” and nobody’s there saying, “Wait a minute. If we do this first, here’s the impact of the business. What about this? This might add more value. Have you thought about this?” Sometimes, seeing the bigger picture really helps and shines light on making decisions, and that’s why I’m a big believer of the value of a BA or the value of a person playing this role is to help facilitate decisions.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. And that concept is interesting. When I heard it, I was like, “They got that from Kupe.” But they brought up about how the role of the BA is to help make good decisions. Where they took the conversation, too, as management is used to measuring business analysts — they try to find something to handle for the business analysis, and it’s always the document. How many use cases did you write? How many user stories did you write? That type of thing.

It’s hard for them to come up with: how do you measure that someone made a good decision based on information you provided? So we have to help managers lift that. I have a real life scenario that I brought up. The result of some of my analysis and information is to stop the projects. Management, and at the end of the year when I was doing my review,, I was like, “Let’s add up how much money I saved by us not approaching this.”

Kupe: Just give me 10% of that, right?

Jacqueline: Right.

Kupe: You would be a rich woman.

Jacqueline: Exactly, but the managers thought —

Kupe: That it’s a failure.

Jacqueline: There are a lot of changing mindsets in not just agile alone, but in a lot of professions. I think that’s why business analysis is still being questioned, because if they got it, there wouldn’t be a problem.

Kupe: To that point, it’s about value. Thinking about how the project didn’t go to completion but failure is not thinking about value. Thinking about “our goal is to do these 4 projects, and if these 4 projects get done, then we’re successful.” That’s not it at all. You don’t have to do any of those projects to think about, “What value do we need?” This is something we talked about, too: getting out of the habit of thinking about it in terms of features or stories that have to be completed. The number of features that you do and stories you do is open for debate, because if we got the value by doing 4 stories instead of 10, well, you don’t have to do all 10.

Jacqueline: To your point, it’s like management starts out saying, “We’re going to do a project,” but then it’s followed up by saying, “We don’t want to do it with much money and we want to do it quickly.” It’s like, based on that and the image that we’re looking at, you’re not going to solve this problem. We can buy something, but we’re not actually bringing any value because it costs more than we would ever save. In the business case, it’s to save money.

To be honest with you, take the story, fast forward 2 years later, and finally they addressed it as a process improvement. It was just about getting the right people in the right jobs and not using high-priced resources for some task that’s going to be built. We actually addressed it, but they didn’t give any leeway. This actually came up today in a session, that moving on the business analyst, especially the IT business analyst, only being able to solve problems with software-type solutions. Just tell us the problem, and it may or may not be software.

Kupe: Right. Talking about sessions, there was another one I saw yesterday, and to be honest, I didn’t feel anything concrete was given to the audience to take away and do something with; at least I couldn’t make the connection. But, he was talking about customer experience, and he gave a lot of examples of a lot of organizations we know like Old Navy, Enterprise, Rent-A-Car, Amazon, Best Buy, Comcast, Xfinitity, Dish, and even car manufacturers like Ford and Buick. He was talking about the customer experience working with all these organizations. It was good information to see, “Oh, I didn’t realize Old Navy had a better experience.” But, in the end, it was a message that as BA’s, how can we improve our customer experience? Not just think about the information you need and the things you need, but it’s like, in the end, does the customer want to work with you going forward? Did they have a good experience working with you? Do they feel good at the end? That is part of the equation that a lot of people in our space don’t think about when they interact with their stakeholders, team, and clients.

Jacqueline: That’s absolutely true. I’ve definitely experienced that, especially when it’s an internal customer. Thinking of the other sessions, I want to give a shoutout, also, to Coach Clinton. He did a great session about the entrepreneur. I’ll be posting a one-on-one interview I did with him after the session. What I relate to that is he talked about the superhero and organizations letting people feel engaged to the bigger picture and what we’re trying to accomplish. When you have an engaged employee, you’re going to come up with better results.

The other thing, too, which is part of my personal mantra, is sometimes you have to call forward the superhero in yourself and not just the organization. He referenced a lot of superhero movies, and he mentioned that in superhero movies, the superhero fails many times over before they really become that superhero that we know.

Kupe: That’s a great message.

Jacqueline: It was. Now I want to rewatch the movies I have seen and see how they fail, they get beat up, and then they really have to find that inner fortitude to push forward. And that’s what he challenged the audience to do. They were very energized.

Kupe: That’s a great message. I used this graphic in one of my presentations that said what people think achieving goals look like, a person on a bus with a slightly inclined road and at the top you reach your goal. You challenge yourself, there are ups and downs. You can’t stop, but you have to progress. Even superheroes with all these superpowers: they struggle, too, but they don’t stop; they’re persistent. He actually talked about one of the things you and I talked about, that what entrepreneurs do is they value their time, because if they don’t do the high value stuff, then they’re not getting paid.

I often think that people in organizations need to view themselves as entrepreneurs and challenge themselves like, “Why am I doing this task today/week/month? Is it the right thing to do for my organization or project?” That’s an entrepreneur mindset that I think people in organizations need to have. You’re getting paid a salary, right? Your organization is investing in you, paying that salary so they can make more money, add more services, or pursue whatever the goals of the organization are. You have to really think: “Is what I’m doing right now the right thing to do?” If it’s not, critically think about what you should be doing.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. I don’t think he got particularly invested in that in his presentation, but you’re absolutely right. It goes back to that WhiteSpace conversation. It’s almost like you have to prioritize your backlog everyday. Prioritize which high value to work on today. I remember, coming from a consultant background, I found myself hiring other people, other people that came from consulting backgrounds. They knew that every day on the job, you’re proving why we should keep you on.

Kupe: Keep you the next day. Right. They could easily cancel that contract. It’s a lot easier than letting an employee go.

Jacqueline: People who have been in organizations for 10-20 years, sometimes they get complacent. We’re winding down. It’s getting close to our evening reception now.

Kupe: Yeah. The IIBA is having a reception tonight. We’re going to dinner. The fun thing about conferences — I love what I do. I go to work, I talk to people like you all the time, I talk to clients. That energy is there for me, but what doesn’t happen . . .Not that I don’t want to be with my family, but there are a few times a year that I really enjoy — it’s 24/7, almost. It starts 7:30 in the morning until midnight where we’re hanging out talking business analysis. It’s awesome. I love it.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. Like Shane mentioned, I like that we get to talk to customers. It was intriguing to me, speaking of both improv and this, that there were a couple of times that people came over and some of their challenges, especially with new and younger groups, people who know B2T for our business analysis training, skills, process, data, and even our big offerings like agile and agile analysis, but a lot of people were at improv and then this.

Kupe: It’s key. I think it’s spreading more, now. People are realizing, “We know how to work the mechanics of a team. We’re well-aware, but we’re still having challenges.” What it comes down to is how people interact with each other. The better we can get at that, I think people need to focus on that. In my improv stuff that I do, I talk about how we’re improvising every single day. We’re improvising right now.

I’m looking around. There are all these conversations going around, and everybody’s improvising. Nobody has a script. Nobody is saying, “Jacqueline, when you see your name, you read your line and I’ll read mine.” Getting a deeper focus on how to apply improv to everyday will allow us to have better and more positive conversations, people to create, and us to do really great things together.

Jacqueline: Absolutely. Even agile: another name for it is improv.

Kupe: Right. Adapting.

Jacqueline: Exactly. Someone asked me was I in the agile jam session, and they were trying to figure out what the analyst’s role is in agile. I said that I find out what my group needs, and if they don’t need anything immediately, I’m either finishing up on the last sprint or I’m moving forward and getting things done for the next complication we’re going to have. That’s improv. When something unexpected comes my way, instead of saying, “Other way! Not ready!” you improv. That’s what you do. I think that’s a great part in helping people get ready.

I think we’re ready for a new era. More people are getting it, whether you’re doing big a Agile, the agile mindset. Even in the bootcamp, we talked about the maturing of your agile. It’s great to stick your toe in there so that you can experiment and ask questions, but then when you’re ready to go to the next level, don’t stop there. There is a lot, that with the right circumstances and the right type of projects, there’s a lot more value that can be gotten from it.

Kupe: Yeah. One of the key principles is continually learning and moving forward. Maybe people might get frustrated with this, but you’re never done figuring out agile. It’s like, you’re constantly tweaking and making changes, but you’re never complacent with, “This is how we do it.”

Jacqueline: Absolutely. I say that even around IT in general. Every project is different, but even business analysis: we’re never going to figure out what this is. We keep having conversations thinking we’re going to figure it out. You gotta keep feeding yourself. I enjoy doing that. You have to find that passion and just learn and enjoy growing with what you’re doing.

Kupe: Yeah. You remind me of a conversation I had with a chair of the board of IIBA. I asked some areas that were hot topics, and you brought up data analysis, data scientists, BI, security is a big thing. Tomorrow or next year, something else is going to pop up and you will have to keep learning. I want to leave one thing about the B2T Conference. I know this happens to me: sometimes I get down in business analysis like why are we still having to fight this fight? But, if you ever get down, come to the BBC Conference. With all of the like-mindedness here and all of the passion you get energized; an energy drink that will keep yo going for there rest of the year.

Jacqueline: Absolutely.

Kupe: Talking about agile, this whole thing. When did I send the text? Like Sunday? 4 days from the Conference, I sent Jacqueline — we were texting about some other stuff, and then we was like, “Oh, we should do a radio show.” I said, “Ok,” and got all packed up. She said yes, and boom: here we are.

Jacqueline: David agreed, too.

Kupe: Thank you David!

Jacqueline: Shout out to David for his support. Kupe, you want to tell them how to get in contact with you?

Kupe: Sure. Hit me up on email: kupe@b2ttraining.com. Hit me on Twitter @Kupe…that’s a great way to get me. You can find me on Facebook, and definitely connect with me on LinkedIn.

Jacqueline: Absolutely, and I’m Jacqueline Sanders. I’m on LinkedIn and @RequirementsPro on Twitter. Also, visit technologyexpresso.com.

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About Kupe

“Kupe” Kupersmith, Senior Instructor, B2T Training, possesses over 18 years of experience in software systems development. He has served as the lead Business Analyst and Project Manager on projects in the Energy, television and sports management and marketing industries. Additionally, he serves as a mentor for business analysis professionals. Kupe is the co-author of Business Analysis for Dummies, a Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP®) and a former IIBA® Board Member. Kupe is a requested speaker in the BA field and has presented at many IIBA chapters and BA conferences. Being a trained improvisational comedian, Kupe is sure to make you laugh while you’re learning. Kupe is a connector and has a goal in life to meet everyone!

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