Creating a business analysis centre of excellence

One of the biggest problems experienced by many programmes and projects is that business analysts (BAs) tend to be scattered throughout the programme, without any alignment to a central BA community.

They report to different lines of command with no crossover, no opportunity to collaborate. You don’t get this in testing – there’s often a central testing space. Or programme managers – PMO is an acronym of its own.

Creating a central hub of business analysis

So why not business analysis? It’s an integral part of the project lifecycle – business analysts help build scope, elicit requirements, prioritise them, identify process bottlenecks, remove waste, spot opportunities for continuous improvement, lower business risk, enhance business value – the list goes on. Without them, a project would fall flat on its face. It makes sense to create a central hub of business analysis, one that encourages collaboration whilst maintaining best practice standards and driving continuous improvement. Here are six steps for building a business analysis centre of excellence (BACE):

1. Defining community size and location

First, you need to scope out how many BAs exist within the organisation, map their location (including geographic location), delineate lines of report etc. This will help you to plan the structure of your BACE.

2. Stakeholder map

This is an integral part of establishing a BACE – you need to determine the parameters of your audience and the stakeholder groups within that, so you can start to set out clear lines of communication and collaboration.

3. Establishing roles and responsibilities

You need to create a core team of business analysts, recognise your allies within the organisation and understand the impacted groups. It is important to engage executive sponsors of the BACE, so working out who they are and how to secure their buy-in is vital.

4. Content management and creation

Establishing a central BA toolkit is key with templates and guidelines for varying departmental functions, industries and methodologies. Owning a library of case studies showcasing the practical use of these templates is also helpful. It’s important the BACE works together to introduce new processes and methodologies, plus training materials, to ensure all BAs are aware of new processes and how to use the material.

5. Regular forums

To ensure collaboration, consistency and cohesion, it’s important to establish a schedule of meetings, so you need to determine the frequency, the format and provide sample agendas. You could host regular ‘lunch & learns’ – sometimes with external speakers – to help build best practice within your BACE.

6. Tech input

Assessing the technology you need is important for the functioning of your BACE – it could be SharePoint, Slack, MS Teams, Zoom. Whatever technology is used, it needs to be agreed upon centrally so everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet.

Establishing a BACE has so many benefits, such as the ability to deliver high-quality requirements that can be validated by the business and developer teams and a team that thinks beyond the limitations of a project and contributes to the reshaping and redesign of the organisation. Putting it together might take a bit of time and effort – and it might upset the apple cart in some situations – but having a central team of business analysts ultimately helps projects run far more smoothly and efficiently.

Want to learn more? If you want to discuss the building of a business analysis centre of excellence with one of our professionals, please email [email protected] and we’ll be in touch right away.