You’ve put a lot of time into getting approval for your Business Analysis Community of Practice (CoP) or Center of Excellence. Hours spent creating presentations. Hours spent proposing its value to management. Hours spent researching the good that it has for your organization. So now you have a green light; you have to figure out who is going to lead it as the CoP rolls out into the organization. You need people that can take the message to the masses and make sure that it succeeds.
First, you want people who have volunteered for the role. By letting people choose to be involved in developing and rolling-out the CoP, you will get people who are passionate about it. Since they have chosen to become involved, and want to do it, they will do whatever is necessary to make it succeed. If that means working through lunch to post an article on the CoP, or coming in a little early one day to research a BA issue, they will do it. I’m not saying all of the work needs to be done over lunch or outside normal working hours, but by volunteering, those in the position will feel ownership.
Second, you want people who are passionate about business analyis, and will communicate and take the message to the organization. These may not be your best BAs. Operationally, you may have BAs who are really, really, good at being BAs, but have no interest in moving the CoP forward. They are doing a great job as BAs in the organization, but these are the folks you don’t want on your CoP team. Your organization is best served having them continue to operate where they are. The people in the CoP are those who are motivated to bring and promote new, more efficient techniques, new ways of doing things, and advancing business analysis within the organization. Who are they? They are the people who are trying to advance their BA skills even without the CoP in place. How do you find them? Look for those BAs:
- who are attending the IIBA local chapter meetings
- who are proposing new ways of process modeling
- who are on the internet researching new tools to help them perform business analysis
- who are mentoring and coaching others on business analysis
Third, you want the BAs that have the best communication skill and know how to navigate the various levels of management. Again, these may not be the most technical BAs in your organization. You need this skill for BAs heading up the CoP, because they will have to sell the CoP to upper management. Management will need to know the ongoing value in the CoP, and what return they are getting for their investment. BAs will need negotiation skills to sell the organization on the standardized processes that the CoP is rolling out. Again, selling the consumers on the advantages of the new processes may be a tough sell. People in the organization may not want to do things the new standardized way, and the BAs in the CoP need to negotiate with upper management to get their support, and work with the consumers to “sell” the new processes.
So, those BAs leading the CoP surprisingly may not be the best BAs in your organization. But, by choosing from those who want to be part of it, you will get BAs that are passionate about it, have skin in the game and will do whatever is necessary to make it succeed. Also make sure that those that are part of it are excellent communicators since they will be doing that at all levels across the organization.
Have you examined who’s in your CoP lately?