The last week of October I had the privilege of attending the ACORD Implementation Forum (AIF) and presenting a few (six!) sessions in their Professional Development Track. ACORD, the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development, is a nonprofit organization that facilitates the development and implementation of data standards and forms for the insurance and related industries. The AIF is an interactive conference that brings together both business and technology people from insurance companies, producers, and solution providers whose main responsibility is implementing ACORD standards.
Recently, the AIF realized the importance of business process analysis, added the Professional Development Track to the 2014 program, and asked us to provide the session tracks. Their goal in adding the new track was for participants to “learn tools to increase corporate agility, identify core business processes, improve processes cross-functionally and create compelling user stories.” Of course, we gladly accepted to be the primary contributor and presented these three seminars:
- Analysis in Agile: There’s More to it than User Stories – which discussed the intersection of agile and analysis.
- Are Your Business Processes Really Processes? – which covered helpful techniques for process improvement.
- Why Should You Care about Core Business Process – which discussed how to identify core business processes and explained why this can be helpful.
The key things that stuck out to me during my time at the AIF were:
- People, other than those explicitly with a business analyst title, were interested in learning more about business analysis, which I think reinforces the idea that a business analysis skill set is very applicable in a variety of settings.
- Most of the people in my agile sessions were implementing agile to some extent, and are moving beyond learning the process to understanding how to adopt the mindset and techniques to more effectively deliver the right thing.
Finally, during one of the sessions on core processes, I had an interesting conversation with a couple of people in the audience. One of the attendees noted that the core processes I was talking about should be really easy to identify in an insurance company since the ACORD Capability Model covered them. A couple of other attendees who worked at an insurance company as business analysts noted that they had looked at the capability model for their organization and found it to be way over simplified and that some analysis specific to their organization was necessary. This conversation harks back to importance of context in projects and a reminder that all models are wrong, but some are helpful.
We look forward to working with ACORD in the future and supporting their communities development efforts.