BBC Interview Series: Barbara Carkenord at RMC Learning Solutions
BBC 2017 Speaker Series – Consultant:
In anticipation of her presentation at Building Business Capability in Orlando, Nov. 6-10, 2017, we asked Barbara Carkenord, Director, Business Analysis at RMC Learning Solutions, a few questions about transforming the business. Check out this interview in relation to her BBC presentation entitled, Three Ways Business Analysts Lead their Organizations to Success.
Q: in what ways do you help your client organization handle business transformation?
A: I consult on strategic direction in organizations often helping business people develop business cases and evaluate new product ideas. I also work on new product development, analyzing market needs and determine which features will be most valuable
Q: Can you describe the challenges you face or have already overcome in establishing more robust business transformation capabilities for your clients?
A: Change is the most difficult activity for human beings. Even when we know a change will be positive, it is difficult. Change takes more time and more communications than we would like so to be successful you must be persistent and patient.
Q: What are your top suggestions for companies looking to become more agile?
A: Educate people on what “agility” means, it is more than user stories and it is not an excuse for giving up on processes. Many agile techniques can be incorporated into older methodologies and approaches. One of our teams started having daily stand up meetings, they didn’t do anything else differently but this one change improved their work because it increased communications and identified problems early.
Q: What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned in the past year?
A: I’ve learned that every type of work can be disrupted and every person must be continually learning new skills, evolving their work or they will be left behind. Many professionals think they can’t be replaced by robots but artificial intelligence is now resolving legal disputes, diagnosing and curing diseases, and driving cars. None of us are irreplaceable.
Q: What do you see as the most important goal or trend for business analysis and other professionals to keep in mind?
A: BAs in large companies need to learn to think like entrepreneurs. Large companies are often disrupted because they are not agile and are stuck in old paradigms, BAs need to think about the business as if it were their own and recommend radical changes to keep the organization current.
Q: What’s the latest method/process/tool you’ve implemented to help your client’s businesses operate more effectively? Have you seen any results yet?
A: Business cases. They are not done formally but by continuing to ask “what is the expected value of that idea?” Everyone is starting to consider cost/benefit analysis before prioritizing new products and projects. Like any change it just takes practice, keep asking the value question and others will begin asking it also.
Q: If you could go back 5 years in time and give some professional insight or advice to yourself, what would it be?
A: As a remote worker you must use “aggressive transparency”. Working remotely is great but you need to over communicate with your co-workers. Share more than you think you need to, share personal stories to build relationships, share ideas even when you know they won’t go anywhere. Stay engaged like you would if you were in the office every day. I wrote a blog post on this http://360.rmcls.com/aggressive-transparency/
Q: What is one question you wished you were asked in this interview but were not? And how you would you answer?
A: What is the best thing an aspiring business analyst should learn? The traditional structured techniques: functional decomposition, data flow diagramming, data modeling, process modeling. These are the fundamental building blocks of critical thinking. In mathematics you first learn to add and subtract before you study higher mathematics. Everything stems from fundamentals so learn them well.
Q: Please tell us a take-away that you will provide during your talk at the BBC
A: Leadership isn’t always about the big statements and actions, BAs show leadership one interaction at a time by listening to stakeholders and valuing their perspectives.
Don’t miss Barbara’s presentation, Three Ways Business Analysts Lead their Organizations to Success, at Building Business Capability on Wednesday, November 8, 2017 from 3:10 to 4:10 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.