Friday, September 6, 2013

The Secret to Significantly Increasing Enterprise Project Success

Every project has a person who is at the center of the action, constantly pushing the team to excel.  They live and die by the successes and challenges that are encountered. 

At first glance it would seem that the Subject Matter Experts (SME) possess the passion to drive a project to successful completion.  But that might not be their core motivation; subject matter experts are driven by being known as the go-to expert on a particular topic - let’s say security.  They have achieved success as a vertical thinker.  Vertical expertise is critical to the success of the organization and to a project, but it has a narrow, although important, focus in relation to enterprise success.

If you look deeper into your project team you will see the Business Analyst (BA) has obtained the overall knowledge that can lead to project success.  The good ones can answer any question about the project, follow a well-defined process, translate business “asks” in to actionable tasks, and clearly understand the factors that will determine their team’s success. A BA helps facilitate and develop solutions for the subject matter expert – they are driven by the challenge of solving the tactical problems.  

The BA thinks horizontally and can assist in generating new ideas to solve problems.  They are required to assimilate multiple requirements from multiple SMEs and consider technical constraints in order to formulate a solution.

Let’s use an example of creating a weapon that can destroy a planet, reference the Death Star – I can’t help but use a Star Wars reference here. The BA will wrangle with irrational requirements, they will solve problems that seem unsolvable, the project will not succeed without them - the larger the project, the bigger the pressure.  

Now consider that the project the BA is working on is only a single project in a larger plan.  There are several projects of the same size and scale each with their unique challenges and all with different stakeholders.   

Who owns that? Or who can own it?

The evolution of the BA into a business strategist starts with the understanding of the detailed requirements coupled with the wider knowledge of how these requirements fit into the projects that dovetail into the programs.  A business strategist must prioritize the components of the roadmap to ensure that a specific mix of projects will achieve the organization’s vision.  The business strategist must be able to communicate to all levels within the organization as well as provide inspirational leadership to a variety of teams.

The success of large enterprise initiatives depends on the ability of skilled Business Strategists. We believe a BA can grow into a strategist whether the enterprise itself fosters that larger role or the BA as an individual challenges himself or herself to “be a business strategist within their project”.  

Join the DefinedLogic team at the 2013 Project World & World Congress for Business Analysts to learn the skills a Business Strategist must have to drive your Enterprise Vision.  You may also learn what would have happened if the “Empire” used a Business Strategist.

It’s not too late to register! Click here to attend:

This post was written by Alex Shanley, Partner, Business Strategist, Defined Logic LLC.

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