5 minutes with...new Portfolio Manager - Business Analysis, Richard Clough

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By Qual IT | 19 September 2017

Richard Clough interview image

 

Qual IT is pleased to announce that Richard Clough has been promoted to Portfolio Manager - Business Analysis (BA).

“Richard’s senior BA expertise will enable Qual IT to reach and engage with a wider variety of clients throughout the solution delivery lifecycle,” said Jill Thorburn, People and Capability Manager. “His skills, his drive for success, as well as his thoroughness is excellent, and we’re excited for the future of this service offering.”

Richard joined Qual IT in early 2017 as a Senior BA, and has worked on a variety of projects covering software and process development. In addition to his work with us, Richard has also held positions at AXA, Department of Labour, WorkSafe NZ and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and has applied his experience to a broad range of analytical needs at strategic and operational levels.

We take 5 minutes with Richard to explore how BA’s are bringing IT closer to the business, by helping them identify and resolve the increasingly complex issues they are facing, and enabling clients to derive value much quicker and to greater effect from their IT investments.

 

Q: How has the BA role evolved over time?

I’ve seen cycles of role generalisation to delineation and back again but the BA role continues to maintain its core problem identification and problem-solving role within a business…just in different flavours.

The term ‘business analyst’ has been used to cover many types of analysis and can mean different things to different people. As a BA you could be the change analyst, data analyst, intelligence analyst, test analyst, project analyst, strategic analyst, requirements analyst…the list goes on. 

Personally, I enjoy the more Agile mindset of putting on whatever hat is needed to get the job done, so for me, this has expanded the role into other traditional software development lifecycle positions.

 

Q: What changes are you seeing in the way clients are using/engaging with BA’s?

The rise of BA’s to ‘change agents’ or ‘senior problem-solvers’ reflects increasing acceptance in organisations that BA’s perform an essential function not only to the implementation of a software project but in the upfront, critical understanding of the business need, and how people, process, and technology are best applied and utilised to more effectively progress successful change.

 

Q: How do you measure success for a BA? And, how are clients measuring the success of your input?

There was a time when a BA was measured by how thick a requirements document was and the sound it made when you dropped it on the desk. You were after a really good thud.

While there are projects that must have this level of detailed understanding, I have found this can encourage many to use the wrong ‘tool’ for the job and disengage participants from the change journey. 

Methods have evolved to better define success which encompasses engagement and integration into organisational culture and methods, stakeholder buy-in and providing a lasting footprint of work that retains knowledge for the business to reference and reuse in the future.

 

Q: What are some common challenges clients are experiencing?

Organisations are dealing with a lot of uncertainty in a rapidly evolving world and are looking for assurance and trying to understand and quantify the complexity of change and the associated risks and impacts.

They are also facing challenges in sharing this understanding from the top down and articulating it back up to inform decision-making.

 

Q: What are your top 3 tips for organisations embarking on a new business change project?

I learned early on that as soon as a decision maker starts a sentence with “I’ve been thinking…”, it’s time to get a BA involved or there is going to be productivity and cost inefficiencies that result from getting change control, buy-in and assurance in place later.

So, my three top recommendations are:

  1. Build your change framework. Understand your change drivers and impacts on people, processes and technology. Good planning will enable you to identify success for all stakeholders and maintain a course to achieve it.

  2. Communicate and collaborate. For me, change is about people and how process and technology can enable them to access your services better or be more productive. You can build the slickest bit of kit in the world but if the users or customers aren’t on board, forget about it.

  3. Get independent advice. Change is emotive and can involve a range of internal people that nature dictates will have their own views and agendas. People can also be too close to the situation to “see the wood for the trees” and you can often get bogged down in detail. Getting experienced and independent business analysis can help provide clarity and assurance by engaging stakeholders with a fit for purpose process. Bringing them together through a structured and documented change journey will give you the best opportunity for success.

 

Check out more detail about our business analysis service here, or download our white paper, Creating more BA Superheros, for a more in-depth look at the role of the BA within modern businesses, expectations of their role and what this means for project success.

Download the white paper now to understand:

  • The link between BAs and project success
  • Attributes of a BA superhero
  • Factors that reduce BA effectiveness
  • The value of independence within the BA space
  • Links that exist between BAs and quality