White Papers:  Kitty’s Acclaimed White Papers are Based on Expertise, Experience, and Extensive Research

The Business Analysis Center of Excellence, The Cornerstone of Business Transformation

Centers of excellence are emerging as a vital strategic asset to serve as the primary vehicle for managing complex change initiatives, a business support function just as critical as accounting, marketing, finance and HR. A center of excellence is a team of expert and experienced people that is established to promote collaboration and the application of best practices across the enterprise.  Centers of excellence exist to bring about an enterprise focus to many business issues, e.g., data integration, project management, enterprise architecture, business and IT optimization, and enterprise-wide access to information.
The concept of centers of excellence (CoE) is quickly maturing in twenty-first century organizations because of the need to collaboratively determine solutions to complex business issues. Project management offices (PMO), a type of CoE, proliferated in the 1990s as a centralized approach to managing projects, in response to the challenges associated with complex projects in an environment with low levels of project management maturity and governance. Industry leaders are effectively using various types of CoEs, include Business Analysis Centers of Excellence.  This paper presents a framework for developing a COE that “fits” your organization’s business strategy and organizational culture.  Read More

From Strategy to Action, Enterprise Portfolio Management

Change is the norm, fierce competition is the driver, and lean thinking is the latest call to action.  Portfolio management is fast becoming the latest managerial approach to deal with the high-velocity of change in today’s business environment.  Enterprise portfolio management provides the rational decision framework necessary to make the right project investment decisions that enable organizations to compete and win in the marketplace.  After selecting the right portfolio investment path, management must be vigilant in monitoring and adjusting the project portfolio as project risk becomes too high, new opportunities arise, and change occurs in the marketplace.
To implement an effective enterprise portfolio management process and achieve organizational goals, it’s necessary to move beyond strategic planning and the conventional tactical approach to project management, to strategic management. This entails aligning key business processes of strategic planning, strategic goal setting, portfolio management, and enterprise project management.  Read More

Living on the Edge, Managing Project Complexity

This paper explores how the principles of complex­ity science can be used to find new creative ways to think about and manage twenty-first century projects.  A new model is presented, The Project Complexity Model, which is used to evaluate project size, complexity, and risk, and determine the specific dimensions of complex­ity that are present on a project.  This paper is the precursor to the award winning book by Kitty, Managing Project Complexity, A New Model.  Read More

Organizational Project Management Maturity Assessment, an OMM Based Appraisal of Project Management Practices

Organizations strive to reach higher business practice maturity because it is directly correlated to improved organizational performance. Great project management and business analysis leads to more effective business procedures, higher quality deliverables, lower project costs, higher project team morale, a better balance between cost, schedule, and scope, and ultimately added value for the entire organization. The primary purpose of maturity assessments is to evaluate the maturity of business practices needed to execute projects successfully within an organization and provide recommendations to improve overall project delivery capability. A properly performed assessment also serves as the catalyst for positive change in the organization.  Organizational maturity assessments are designed to accomplish the following objectives:

  • Measure the ability of the organization’s collective project staff to repeatedly deliver projects that meet specifications, on time and within budget.

  • Identify gaps in current project planning and execution capabilities.

  • Provide a foundation for improvement and guidance for advancement in project practices through prioritized, structured, and sequential improvements.

  • Provide an indicator of how effective the client’s organization is in meeting its goals in managing projects and meeting business objectives.

  • This paper discussed the systematic approach to conducting an organizational Practice Maturity Assessment.  Read More

The Business Analyst: The Pivotal IT Role of the Future

Change is the norm, fierce competition is the driver, and lean thinking is the latest call to action.  IT has finally come into its own, being viewed as a value provider as opposed to a cost drain.  With the stakes so high, IT organizations are faced with an extraordinary combination of pressures to deliver value to their organizations in terms of added revenues, avoided costs, lower taxes, higher productivity, less employee turnover, less risk exposure, etc.  IT projects must not only deliver high quality products faster, better, and cheaper (traditionally the responsibility of the project manager), they are also under intense scrutiny to positively impact the bottom line (increasingly, the responsibility of the project sponsor and delegated to the business analyst).

When you hear about far-reaching innovation, cutting-edge technology, and high-growth IT careers, don’t just think in terms of architecture and development prowess.  We are discovering that technical skills can be relatively easy to outsource, but organizations cannot abdicate control of their business requirements.  In virtually every organization, the pivotal leadership role of the business analyst is shaping the future of IT today.  So don't blink...or you'll miss out on the IT opportunity of a lifetime.  This paper (perhaps the most widely read paper on the role of the business analyst) goes on to describe the critical role of the business analyst throughout the business solution life cycle.  Read More

The Future is Now, The 21st Century Business Analyst

To remain competitive in these challenging times, CIOs realize the BA role is at the heart of future success.  CIOs appreciate that BAs are in demand and will play a critical role in the future, but not the type of BAs we have today.  And so, they are rebuilding the BA role.  CIOs around the globe are searching their resources to find experienced and solutions focused IT and business professionals who are ready and willing to step into the leadership role of the Enterprise Business Analyst, moving from a requirements focus to a strategic solution focus.  Read More

The Strategic Project Leader

Projects are essential to the growth and survival of organizations today.  Projects create value in the form of new products and services as a response to changes in the business environment, competition and the marketplace.  Executives are responsible for managing change and many are adopting the practice of enterprise portfolio management in an attempt to invest in the right mix of projects and enterprise program management to convert opportunity to results.  To lead the charge, strong project leadership is vital.
Project-driven organizations develop a portfolio of valuable projects that collectively form the road map to successfully achieving strategies.  Executives spend a great deal of time identifying which projects may offer the greatest rewards with minimal risks.  With so much riding on successful projects, the project manager has risen to the role of strategic implementer and cross-functional project teams have become management’s strategic tool to convert strategy to action. 
The emergence of project management as a critical business practice is resulting in a transition from the traditional stovepipe, function-centric structures to the project-centric workplace.  Work has been transformed from multiple workers performing a single task, to teams that perform multiple activities on multiple projects.  Rather than undertaking only a small number of projects, today’s organizations are engaged in virtually hundreds of ongoing projects of varying sizes, durations, and levels of complexity.  Read More

BA Proficiency: How proficient do I need to be?

Your challenge is to close the gap in your BA capabilities to meet the needs of your organization’s 21st century projects.  What will it take?  Are you up to the task?  Clearly,
BAs that are focusing on multiple roles and tasks involving diverse disciplines cannot devote the time and attention needed to cultivate mature BA capabilities.  The current often hybrid role is tactically focused, deep into project tasks; the BA role of the future is focused on strategy execution, on maintaining a competitive advantage, and adding value to the customers.  Where is the BA profession heading?  How will you transition from a tactical player into a more strategic asset?  This paper presents a capability model that you can use as a roadmap to becoming a mature business analysis who is a valuable asset to your organization. Read More

For copies of these papers, please contact kittyhass@comcast.net