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Business Analysis and Leadership: Influencing Change

Do you work with business change?

Do you strive to understand organizations undergoing change, define what’s needed and deliver value?

Do you work towards the delivery of real and lasting benefits?

Then this new book and website is for you! Please have a look around and join in the conversation. You can click on the pictures below for a quick overview, use the menu above for a more in-depth look and sign up to the right to hear more about business analysis and leadership occasionally and when we release new resources. Thank you!

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About the book

This inspirational book consists of contributions from leading thinkers and practitioners in business analysis around the world, blending together a wide range of perspectives. Their case studies and practical advice will support you in becoming an outstanding influencer of change. Topics covered include:

facilitative leadership
working with the project manager
dealing with difficult stakeholders
the iterative business analyst
global working and virtual teams
systems thinking
power and politics
strategic thinking
becoming a thought leader
ethics, professionalization and best practice
developing your skills, and the courage to apply them
communication and negotiation

Whatever your job title, if you are involved in business analysis in any way, you will find this book and this website invaluable.

How the book is laid out

The book takes a framework for leadership, starting off with a focus on the self, then leading within your project, then moving out to leading across your organization and, finally, leading in the wider world. Here’s the picture:

Self

The book starts off by exploring how you can work on yourself to become a leader, with contributions on:

  • Skills
  • Courage
  • Facilitative leadership
  • Communication

This section concludes with a question: ‘Are you waiting to be annointed?

Project

The next section looks at all aspects of leadership within your own project:

  • Working with project managers
  • Difficult stakeholders
  • Facilitation
  • Problems
  • Visual thinking
  • Design thinking
  • Agile
  • Patterns
  • Uncertainty
  • Creativity

Organization

Effective business analysis deals more widely than just the project, so leadership across the organization is important. We look at:

  • Operating effectively
  • Context, climate and culture
  • Global working
  • Systems thinking
  • Power and Politics
  • Partnering
  • Strategic thinking

The section ends with an opinion piece entitled: ‘Leading from the Middle’

In the wider world

The best business analysts will have a reach well beyond their organizations. You can read more in this section about:

  • The leadership role
  • Thought leadership
  • Ethics and fair process
  • Professionalization

The section ends with an inspiring piece about being a change agent and an endpiece story, which integrates business analysis, creativity and play.

The story of how the book came into being

Penny Pullan tells the story.

“Early in 2012, Kogan Page contacted me with the idea of a book about Business Analysis. My instant reaction was: ‘Book – what a lot of work!’, closely followed by: ‘What an honour to be invited to write a book by a publisher!’ It took a while to reconcile the two, but talking with friends in the business analysis world convinced me that
we could produce a better book by working together. The particular focus of the book would be leadership, surely a key skill for any effective business analyst?

I asked James Archer if he would be prepared to co-edit a book with me and bounced a lot of ideas off Emma Langman, who helped me to finalise the leadership framework I had in mind. We worked closely with our commissioning editor, Julia, who was brave enough to come along to an IIBA UK event in an underground bar in the City of London. It was packed out with around 150 business analysts attending. I think that convinced her that there was a potential audience for the book!

Then the hard work started. James and I had to think of leadership topics pertinent to the BA role and spread them over the four levels of our leadership framework (self, project, organisation and the wider world). Once we had the topics, we needed to choose the best person to write each chapter. The chapters needed to be short and useful, as BAs are busy people without much time to spare! Luckily, we had a marvellous set of authors and almost everyone said ‘Yes!’. In the autumn of 2012, chapters began to come in and the book began to take shape. James and I each wrote several chapters and web resources too.

The trouble with Business Analysts can be that they really want to come up with a really great solution. This happened to us editors as well! We ended up exceeding the inital word-limit by half as much again. Admittedly this wasn’t just our fault. Our authors had so much great stuff to say about their chapters that they consistently blew their word limits too. In the end, our long-suffering editor Julia agreed and increased word length. Kogan Page designed the book really cleverly, choosing a font that allowed many more words per page than normal, while keeping a really clear and easy to read look.

As well as blowing our word-limit, we blew our timescales too. I think that publishers expect that as they managed to cope with a three month delay in receiving the manuscript (well, really files on DropBox!) and still delivered the printed books on time in September 2013.

So, now as I write this in September 2013, the book is complete and we’re developing this website to provide a great resource to complement the book. In addition, we’re bringing together programmes to help business analysts to develop their own leadership, as well as leadership qualities across their BA practices. Our biggest hope is to create a conversation about the role of the BA and to inspire people to aim to lead themselves, their projects, across their organisations and even into the wider world!”

Resources

This page contains a growing range of resources for business analysis leadership of self, project, organization and within the wider world.

LinkedIn Group for discussions around Business Analysis and Leadership

We’ve created a LinkedIn Group called Business Analysis and Leadership.
The group is open to all and just starting out, so please do feel free to join in.

Chapters for the web:

Leadership of Self

Leadership of Project
Five questions of an effective negotiator by Michael Brown here

Leadership of Organization
Modelling the Business by Penny Pullan here

Leadership in the Wider World
People-oriented approaches by Nick de Voil here

Virtual Business Analysis and Leadership Summit

Each year, our co-editor Penny Pullan runs a virtual summit on Business Analysis and Leadership. You can find out more at the Business Analysis Summit website, where you can sign up for free.

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