Business Analysis & Leadership

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Penny Pullan and James Archer, editors of Business Analysis & Leadership. Business analysis is a mature discipline. Stakeholder engagement, problem solving, situational analysis, and business cases are all essential for successful change programs. Debra Paul, in the Foreword to this Book, stated that the BA role is to “challenge and lead and influence”.
Business Analysis and Leadership, edited by Penny Pullan and James Archer is a multi-author publication for business analysts who want to improve their leadership skills.
This book will help project managers understand why their BAs are onboard. As Suzanne Robertson explains, it is short and simple.
“The primary concern of the project manager is to facilitate the activities required to complete the project. The primary goal of the business analyst is to understand and communicate the business’s work and make recommendations to improve it. Although the roles appear to be very different, the most successful projects recognize the importance of overlap.
When you’re not in charge, leadership is possible
The book is clearly focused on leadership. However, the formal authority for the project will likely be held by someone other than the BA: the sponsor, project manager, or another senior manager.
BAs work with these people and challenge them when necessary. Many people in the project team can lead even if they are not in a position to do so. So, even if you are a project coordinator or junior member of a PMO team, this does not mean you cannot manage upwards and lead from the position you have.
According to the editors, leadership in these situations means “taking responsibility, proactively cooperating with others to understand what is needed and to inspire and encourage others towards a common goal.”
The book is divided into four parts:
Lead yourself
Leading projects
Leading in organizations
Leading in the wider global community
The last section was my favorite, possibly because it resonated with me the most and was not specific to the BA role. The book was informative throughout. Leadership is a soft skill, so you would expect to find a lot of information about softer topics.
The book dealt with influencing in detail, as well as how you deal with office politics. It also covered career progression and career progression. These topics are relevant to anyone working in a project environment.
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Sarah Coleman writes in one chapter:
“Technical and commercial knowledge are ‘hygiene factors”: These are the professional things you have to do, learn, and experience to get to where you are today. These are the only requirements for senior positions. Understanding the market, the business and the product portfolio is important but not the next level.
She continues to state that leadership and strong relationships are key skills for managing office politics and building a positive career. Kevin Brennan goes a step further.
“If people seem to be discounting your knowledge, it might be more effective to turn that impression around and gain more knowledge about their job than to improve your own.”
Despite having multiple authors, the book is amazing interconnected. Although the chapters can be read individually, unlike multi-author books, the book works together as a whole, not as a collection.
It is also illustrated to attract