BBC Interview Series: Brian Childs at Railinc
BBC 2017 Speaker Series – Practitioner: Brian Childs, Manager, Business Rules and Process Management at Railinc
In anticipation of his presentation at Building Business Capability in Orlando, Nov. 6-10, 2017, we asked Brian Childs, Manager, Business Rules and Process Management at Railinc, a few questions about transforming the business. Check out this interview in relation to his BBC presentation entitled, Ensuring the Quality of Business Vocabulary and Business Rules in an Agile SDLC.
Q: In what ways do you see your group helping your organization handle business transformation?
A: In our agile software development lifecycle (SDLC), project teams have been accustomed to working without such standards and project artifacts varied widely as a result. Our group helps business transformation by encouraging and enforcing new standards to be followed by both business and IT teams. We accomplish this by collaborating with business and IT to design best practices and then we enforce those as standards.
Q: Can you describe the challenges you face or have already overcome in establishing more robust business transformation capabilities for your organization?
A: New project teams are always a challenge. Teams are busy and they aren’t sure how standards are going to affect their work or how to apply the standards to their work. In addition, introducing audits in an agile SDLC was initially seen as anti-agile.
Q: What are your short-term goals for becoming more agile?
A: Our Company is well versed in agile. I think our next step would be for teams to ensure the standards are automatically covered as part of their daily work. Honestly the teams who’ve implemented the new standards once get it and easily incorporate them going forward.
Q: What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned in the past year?
A: The term “audit” has a negative connotation. We’ve changed the term from audit to quality check. We also do whatever we can to make the project team more comfortable with the process.
Q: What do you see as the most important goal or trend for business analysts and other professionals to keep in mind?
A: It’s important for BAs to have the skills of creating decision tables and flow charts. These are tools that most people can use and understand.
Q: What’s the latest method/process/tool you’ve implemented to help your business operate more effectively? Have you seen any results yet?
A: We recently started training multiple business analysts to act as back up RuleXpress administrators. So far this is going well. We’re seeing these additional administrators are more vested in understanding the tool and can help troubleshooting issues.
Q: If you could go back 5 years in time and give some professional insight or advice to yourself, what would it be?
A: I’d make sure to spend as much time as possible with the project teams implementing our new standards, documenting questions and review items with architects and stakeholders to ensure agreement and then document examples.
Q: What’s one question you wished you were asked in this interview but were not? And how would you answer?
A: Do you think rules engines and decision modeling tools will get greater acceptance outside of fields like insurance, finance or healthcare? I do think more cutting edge companies will pursue and I think they’ll remain glad they did years from now.
Q: Sneak preview: Please tell us a take-away that you will provide during your talk at the Building Business Capability (BBC) conference this year?
A: Working in an agile SDLC doesn’t mean there can’t be corporate processes and standards. Corporate processes and standards are the directives project teams must live within. Once established, the project teams must incorporate those into their agile process.
Don’t miss Brian’s presentation, Ensuring the Quality of Business Vocabulary and Business Rules in an Agile SDLC, at Building Business Capability on Wednesday, November 8, 2017 from 2:00 to 3:00 pm. Click here to register for attendance.
Building Business Capability is the only conference that provides insight into Business Analysis, Business Architecture, Business Process, Business Rules, Business Decisions, and Business Strategy & Transformation toward the pursuit of business excellence.