Using Mentoring to Grow Business Analysts. A case study Janet Wood September 2012

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1 Using Mentoring to Grow Business Analysts A case study Janet Wood September 2012

2 Agenda 1. The Problem 2. Mentoring and Coaching 3. How to get started 4. What actually happened 5. Key Success Factors 6. Potential Traps 7. What s Next 8. Did it work? Copyright Janet Wood

3 The Problem Why do we need Business Analysts? And why do they need to be mentored? Copyright Janet Wood

4 Why do we Need BAs? As proposed by the project sponsor As specified in the project request As designed by the senior systems analyst As produced by the programmers As installed at the user s site What the user wanted Copyright Janet Wood From Guide to Good Programming Practice, Editors: B L Meek and P M Heath (1979). Retrieved from

5 Why do we need BAs? What the customer NEEDS, not what they WANT Solving business problems Meeting strategic objectives Project failure reasons Costs of correcting errors Copyright Janet Wood

6 Project Failure Reasons Failure Reason % Incomplete Requirements 13.1 Lack of User Involvement 12.4 Lack of resources 10.6 Unrealistic Expectations 9.9 Lack of Executive Support 9.3 Changing Requirements 8.7 Lack of Planning 8.1 No longer needed 7.5 Lack of IT Management 6.2 Technological Illiteracy 4.3 All other reasons Copyright Janet Wood

7 Project Failure Reasons Failure Reason % Incomplete Requirements 13.1 Lack of User Involvement 12.4 Lack of resources 10.6 Unrealistic Expectations 9.9 Lack of Executive Support 9.3 Changing Requirements 8.7 Lack of Planning 8.1 No longer needed 7.5 Lack of IT Management 6.2 Technological Illiteracy 4.3 All other reasons Copyright Janet Wood

8 Project Failure Reasons Failure Reason % Incomplete Requirements 13.1 Lack of User Involvement 12.4 Lack of resources 10.6 Unrealistic Expectations 9.9 Lack of Executive Support 9.3 Changing Requirements 8.7 Lack of Planning 8.1 No longer needed 7.5 Lack of IT Management 6.2 Technological Illiteracy 4.3 All other reasons Copyright Janet Wood

9 Costs of Correcting Errors The later in a project that a requirements error is detected, the more it costs to fix. Copyright Janet Wood

10 BAs gather requirements. Management Expectations Copyright Janet Wood Cartoon copyright 2010 by Modern Analyst Media LLC, and reproduced with their permission.

11 Management Expectations BAs are just: Requirements gatherers Documenters, scribes A tick-in-the-box on a project plan Source of business data My favourite: Just get the requirements so we can get this project started. Copyright Janet Wood

12 Why BAs? Analyst/programmers get requirements, code them Systems analysts get requirements, design solution Early systems development anything was an improvement Now more complex problems, more complex solutions Expect to find BAs who understand the business environment AND can talk to IT Where do these BAs come from? Copyright Janet Wood

13 Training vs Experience You become good at a job after a lot of experience. Experience is usually gained by making mistakes. But we can t really afford to let BAs make mistakes on our important projects. It takes AT LEAST 5 years to get a BA with 5 years experience. We need good, experienced BAs NOW. Copyright Janet Wood

14 Mentoring and Coaching What s in a name? Copyright Janet Wood

15 Mentor Greek legend tells us that, when Odysseus went off to fight in the Trojan wars, he left an old and trusted friend to look after and educate his son, Telemachus. This friend was called Mentor A mentor is: A subject matter expert in the field in which he or she is providing mentoring An experienced practitioner in that field Copyright Janet Wood

16 Coach A coach is a person who has been trained as a coach they do not need to be experts in the field that their clients are working in. Their expertise is in coaching. A coach provides positive support, feedback and advice to an individual to improve their personal effectiveness in the business setting. Copyright Janet Wood

17 Who is being Mentored? The person who is being mentored is called: a mentee? a protégé/ protégée? a mentoree? Mostly I say the person who is being mentored. Copyright Janet Wood

18 So am I Mentoring or Coaching? You will always end up doing some of each. A BA mentor expects to show people how to do Business Analysis, but, since a BA is an employee of an organisation, you will end up giving tips on how to succeed in the organisation more properly the task of a coach. But no matter what you call it, or what you call the people involved, let s get down to how it happens. Copyright Janet Wood

19 How to get started Copyright Janet Wood

20 What s the problem? As with any problem, a Business Analyst asks: What is the real problem? Who is affected by it? What will a successful solution look like? Why do we need to solve it? What happens if we don t fix it? And similar questions So, set up meetings and ask the questions. Copyright Janet Wood

21 What the BAs think Theymust think that we sit around doing nothing all day Don t they know that we want to do a good job? Copyright Janet Wood

22 What management thinks Theymust think that we LIKE giving them too much work Do they think we re slave drivers? Copyright Geoff Watson 1985 Copyright Janet Wood

23 But After talking to both groups, they were all in the same boat Copyright Janet Wood

24 And, in fact Copyright Geoff Watson 1985 Copyright Janet Wood

25 The team s concerns Unreasonable timelines imposed from above Lack of support management weren t fighting for them Areas of development Facilitation / running JAD sessions Modelling Requirements elicitation Other pain points No input to setting deadlines Stakeholders lack of availability, commitment Stakeholders trying to get BAs to define the requirements Changes in priorities, projects getting cancelled, projects put on hold to get something else done first. In other words the problems all BAs have everywhere Copyright Janet Wood

26 Management View Team history lost most experienced BAs Took responsibility for additional business areas Team size 5, fell to 3, grew to 8 Experience mostly 2 5 years experience Deadlines externally imposed, but must be met Not getting feedback on projects or issues, not knowing where they were until deadline missed Incomplete documents sent out resulting in rework New process, templates, tools, standards imposed In other words the problems all management has everywhere Copyright Janet Wood

27 So, what do we do about it? Identify the major issues to be addressed: Stakeholders how to identify, how to manage Timelines how to estimate and manage time, how to influence setting of deadlines Project priorities setting and managing Specific development areas Selling the value of Business Analysis Problems with tools, processes, templates And propose a programme to address these issues Copyright Janet Wood

28 The Mentoring Proposal Team Mentoring Group discussions to resolve general issues Presentations on specific topics Work through templates and processes to improve them Mentoring by Example Apprenticeship Join project team and take on a lead BA role Work together on documents and models Observe mentee in BA situations and provide feedback Individual Mentoring One-on-one sessions to discuss and resolve specific individual issues Must be scheduled, recurring meetings with a standard agenda Phasing out Mentoring There must be a planned end to the mentoring Aim to hand over the mentoring to the more senior BAs may need to mentor them prior to hand-over Copyright Janet Wood

29 Prepare Documentation Mentoring Ground Rules Mentoring Agreement Mentee Prep Mentor Prep Mentoring discussion record Copyright Janet Wood

30 Mentoring Ground Rules Mentoring Ground Rules Definition of mentoring: Mentoring is a relationship orchestrated to provide professional and personal support to a junior in the role. The mentor uses their experience in a facilitative manner to support the development of the mentee. Mentoring is used to assist individuals at specific times of development or transition and lasts for a defined period of time. The relationship provides an opportunity for both to develop and benefit from the process. What is Mentoring? A professional relationship Support for professional development Personal support A partnership lasting over a pre-determined and fixed time-scale A significant impact on an individual s career One way to help in understanding what mentoring is, is to look at what mentoring is not: It is not an instructor/trainee relationship focusing on learning skills and techniques to perform a specific function where the instructor is in control of the learning process It is not a manager/employee relationship where the manager controls the outcome of the task It is not a friend/friend relationship, which mainly focuses on personal development usually outside work, focusing on either friend depending on the circumstances Mentee s goals It is essential that the mentee considers the goals for the mentoring relationship what are you expecting to get out of the process. These goals must be expressed as specific, measurable and realistic goals that can be met within the mentoring period. What is the format of the mentoring discussions? Initial Session Identify requirement & problem statement if possible Identify specific issues What has been done and where the problem areas are Agree on next steps what to do, when to do it, how to measure it, what needs to be delivered by next session Following sessions: Review past week What has been done and where the problem areas are, and what to do about each problem Review deliverables agree on remedial actions for missed deliverables Agree on next steps what to do, when to do it, how to measure it, what needs to be delivered by next session How long will mentoring continue? As long as it is seen to be necessary and useful by management, the mentee and the mentor. Any one of these parties can suggest that the mentoring agreement be ended, but the end will be agreed on in a discussion with all impacted parties present. Definition of mentoring What is mentoring and what it is not Mentee s Goal Format of Mentoring Discussions How long will mentoring continue? Copyright Janet Wood

31 Mentoring Agreement Agreement: This agreement is between the Mentor,, and the Mentee,. Mentoring Agreement It will begin on (date) and continue until (date). We will meet (when) at the time of and for a period of, Time, date, duration and venue at (venue). The mentee will: Attend every mentoring session or give at least 24 hours notice for rescheduling in extreme circumstances. The mentee will be responsible for rescheduling, including booking a room and parking for the mentor. Prepare for each mentoring session by reviewing the deliverables from the previous session. Honestly report on successes and obstacles during the review period. Agree on corrective actions and timelines and document them. Discuss the work to be done by the next session, with timelines, and document these deliverables. Raise questions and concerns about the work and/or the mentoring process so that they can be discussed and resolved in a timely manner. The mentor will: Attend every mentoring session or give at least 24 hours notice for rescheduling in extreme circumstances. The mentor will be available to make up any session she is responsible for missing. Review the mentee s work and deliverables since the last meeting in a constructive way, identifying successes, obstacles and possible corrective actions. Facilitate the discussion of the work to be done and assist in setting deadlines and expectations to maximise the mentee s chances of success. Raise questions and concerns about the work and/or the mentoring process so that they can be discussed and resolved in a timely manner. Mentee s obligations Mentor s obligations Mentee s Expectations: The mentee s goals for this mentoring period are: Mentee s Expectations: SMART goals 5.. The signatories below agree to the above. Mentor Mentee Copyright Janet Wood

32 Mentee Prep Mentee Preparation Sheet Your partnership with your mentor can potentially be an invaluable form of personal and professional support. Making sure it is successful is a responsibility that is shared by both participants. The questions below will help you reflect on your requirements and the experiences you will bring to the relationship. 1. What within your past or present experience have you had of being mentored, given advice or training etc? 2. What have you learned from the experiences above that will prepare you for mentoring? 3. How do you see yourself being supported by the mentor? 4. How can you support your mentor to allow them to support you? 5. What do you feel makes a successful mentoring relationship? 6. What do you think the mentor will gain from the relationship? 7. What do you want to get out of this mentorship relationship? 8. What do you think you will learn from the relationship? 9. What difficulties and constraints do you feel there will be on the mentoring relationship? How can these be resolved? 10. How much time do you feel will be required for the relationship? How will this time be found? 11. What other thoughts and questions do you feel surround the mentoring scheme? Asking questions that allow you to reflect and look at issues that may affect the mentoring relationship are important. They allow the mentor and mentee to engage in dialogue within the initial contracting stage, setting guidelines and parameters, keeping the relationship focused. Copyright Janet Wood

33 Mentor Prep Mentor Preparation Sheet The questions below will allow you to reflect on your past experiences and the future success of the partnership in your role as a Mentor. 1. What within your past or present experience has given you preparation for your role as a mentor? (e.g. staff development, management of staff, have been mentored, etc.) 2. What have you learned from the experiences above that will prepare you for the role of mentor? 3. How do you see yourself supporting the professional development of the mentee? 4. What types of personal support do you think you will be able to provide? 5. What support do you feel you require to allow yourself to perform as a mentor? How can this be supplied? 6. What do you feel makes a successful mentoring relationship? 7. What do you think the mentee will gain from the relationship? 8. What do you think you will learn from the relationship? 9. What do you think your organisation will learn from the relationship? 10. What difficulties and constraints do you feel there will be on the mentoring relationship? How can these be resolved? 11. How much time do you feel will be required for the relationship? How will this time be found? 12. What other thoughts and questions do you feel surround the mentoring scheme? Asking questions that allow you to reflect and look at issues that may affect the mentoring relationship are important. They allow the mentor and mentee to engage in dialogue within the initial contracting stage, setting guidelines and parameters, keeping the relationship focused. Copyright Janet Wood

34 Mentoring Meeting Discussion Record Date: Mentoring discussion record Mentor: Mentee: SUCCESSES Progress Planning SUCCESSES: Progress for reporting period of to Project / Deliverable Due Date Status Actions Met / Missed / What worked / didn t work for deadlines that were met, including: On-going / What did you do well to allow you to meet the deadline? Late / New What, if anything, could you do better? What new skills have you acquired? Preventive and corrective actions for missed deadlines, including: Why is it overdue? What obstacles or problems do you still have? What, if anything, can be done to get back on track? What is going to be done differently to avoid this happening again? repeat for every deliverable in reporting period. Plans for on-going, new and missed deadlines. (below) Work Plan for reporting period of to Project Task Due date Status Detailed steps e.g. FICA e.g. Kick-off meeting Late / On-going / New repeat for every task in reporting period Copyright Janet Wood

35 Next Review Final thoughts steps the relationship Next Steps: Areas which need to be developed: Agreed actions for the future: Support required for development and actions: Review the Relationship: How is the relationship working? What is working well? What if anything is not working well? How can this be resolved? What additional support is needed for mentor/mentee? What are both parties getting from the relationship? What constraints or difficulties are affecting the relationship? How can these be overcome? Final thoughts for this session: Copyright Janet Wood

36 What Actually Happened No plan survives first contact with the enemy Copyright Janet Wood

37 Start-up Phase Getting to know each other Identifying individual and group issues Same issues coming up with different people Differentiating issues: Individual weaknesses Problems with management Environmental issues Change what I can change and accept what I can t Seeing early benefits Attitude changes, it s ok to question Increasing self-confidence Copyright Janet Wood Planning work breakdown Tracking time spent Need for Problem Statement Influence without power Frustrations with process, templates

38 Consolidation Regular individual sessions Every second week, 1 or 2 hours Context Diagrams Standard agenda Review templates Individual concerns Regular group sessions Weekly My topics Group proposed issues to discuss Template reviews Regular management feedback Need to keep checking mandate, assumptions Need to provide regular progress reports Copyright Janet Wood Entity Relationship Diagrams ERDs Use case modelling and documenting Process flow diagrams Logical modelling & Activity diagrams Non-functional requirements Tips on language usage

39 On-the-job Training Becoming part of the team Attend the requirements meetings Review requirements and documentation Lead a requirements or a review session Customising templates and processes Document standards Sharing in the learnings Feel their pain Reinforce the learning provide feedback Sending out useful articles, blogs and downloads Copyright Janet Wood

40 Measuring Results Measuring the Mentees Difficult to define good metrics for Business Analysis Provide input to performance measures Measuring the Mentor Even more difficult! Agreed to use informal feedback during the programme Copyright Janet Wood

41 Key Success Factors Pre-requisites for success Copyright Janet Wood

42 Management Support Cannot start a mentoring programme without support from: Business Analysts line managers Mentor s line manager if applicable Upper management Copyright Janet Wood

43 TIME, TIME, TIME For the mentor For the individual mentees For group sessions And for management Copyright Janet Wood

44 Buy-in From the staff being mentored From line managers And from upper management and the enterprise Copyright Janet Wood

45 Potential Traps What to watch out for Copyright Janet Wood

46 Manager as Mentor May reduce candour of mentees May be perceived as performance management May create feelings of favouritism / victimisation Copyright Janet Wood

47 Expectations Mentees Expect mentor will change management attitudes Expect to get the secret of how to always get it right Management Expect immediate improvements Hope that BAs will suddenly be able to deliver to timelines Mentor Can t do job for mentees Can t turn mentees into copies of the mentor There is no silver bullet Copyright Janet Wood

48 What can t be changed Those who can t and those who won t Enterprise-wide issues Processes Environment General Business Analysis issues Unreasonable timelines Uncooperative stakeholders Unhelpful developers Copyright Janet Wood

49 What s Next Where to from here Copyright Janet Wood

50 For this case study Prepare senior BAs to mentor juniors Taper-off on mentoring Continue ad hoc mentoring and working alongside Put effort into standards, templates, processes Work on performance indicators Measure results Move on Copyright Janet Wood

51 For you Identify one or more mentors Internal vs external Set up structure Time and schedules Documentation Management buy-in and support Measurement and assessment Go for it Copyright Janet Wood

52 Did it work? Copyright Janet Wood

53 External feedback External evaluation of requirements documentation: every document that was produced during mentoring period has passed this evaluation only team with this level of success Copyright Janet Wood

54 Management feedback Improvement in attitude More self-confidence Looking more carefully at details Asking the right questions Prepared to challenge stakeholders to get at the real requirements Copyright Janet Wood

55 Mentee feedback Mentoring sessions are empowering empower me to be able to pride myself in trying to deliver quality requirements Text book smarts are not enough Motivates me to be more productive and track progress. Celebrating my successes (no matter how small) and being constantly reminded that even when I think I am not doing much that there have been milestones Comfort in someone understanding my pain and having gone through the same if not similar situations Copyright Janet Wood

56 Specific Skills Problem Statement really helps to see early in the project what we need to focus on. Planning Before the mentoring sessions, I was hopeless when it came to planning, I had no way of tracking how much I still had to do and how much I had been able to get through, so there was no way of measuring my productivity I have recently started using my timesheets and as daunting as it can be sometimes, but I m beginning to see the benefits of keeping track of your time and tasks. Time sheets best highlight for me has been having an updated time log/sheet Copyright Janet Wood

57 Yes, it IS working But it is a work in progress. Copyright Janet Wood

58 Questions?

59 Thank you A case study Janet Wood September 2012

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