2023 Volunteer of the Year!
Aaron Whittenberger, CBAP, CSPO, AAC, CPOA, ICP-APO
Aaron Whittenberger eats, breathes and sleeps business analysis. He can’t stop talking about Bluegrass IIBA Chapter at work. The dedication that Aaron has shown is truly remarkable. He is the kind of person that jumps in to fill any gap. In the words of a Bluegrass Chapter Leader, “I’ve never met anyone that is so willing to volunteer and spread business analysis knowledge. Every event, study group, class, lunch ‘n learn, committee meeting; you name it; Aaron is there, every single time. That is true Aaron.”
Let’s not forget his stellar contribution to the Business Data Analytics Study Group material re-write, a project that saw immense success based on no small part to Aaron’s involvement. We face challenges like the time when the original Bluegrass Chapter business analysis conference planner encountered challenges, Aaron was the superhero that stepped up. Once again, every single time.
As a mentor, no one rivals Aaron. He spends countless hours providing guidance, encouragement and advice. He attends every event to ensure that you feel confident and appreciated. Thank you so much Aaron for everything you have done.
To put it simply, the success of the Bluegrass Chapter shines brighter because of Aaron’s spirit and involvement. The Volunteer of the Year Award isn’t about hours logged, but more about hours logged with passion and commitment and the impact made; and Aaron you truly embody what this award stands for. Please join me in celebrating the 2023 Volunteer of the Year Award from America’s Southeast Region, Aaron Whittenberger.
The Bluegrass IIBA Chapter website will be changing over the next few months. We are moving from one association management software service (Wild Apricot) to another one (Membernova). Please note that our domain name, https://bluegrass.iiba.org, IS NOT CHANGING. The thing our community will notice is a new look and feel. It will definitely be a more modern look.
The main reason driving this change is cost savings; however, the chapter will receive some feature enhancements as well. Work has begun on this effort with a target to go live on the new platform in very early in the first quarter of 2024.
Some advantages our community will receive from this move:
Our chapter leaders are learning the new system. We plan that not much work will be done around Thanksgiving and the last couple of weeks of December so that our chapter leaders may enjoy the holidays with their families. We will migrate member and contact data to the new platform; then go live with our new website.
Congratulations to Sondra Stirling on another career milestone achievement!
Sondra Stirling, CBAP, ECBA, CPOA, AAC
Sondra Stirling is currently a Business Analyst with Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM). In 2013, while working at American Airlines, a Senior Manager challenged her to take on a new role of which he could only describe. After a bit of research, she figured out he was describing a business analysis role. That led to her finding IIBA® and realizing that she had done some capacity of business analysis work throughout her career. That realization combined with the passion for business analysis work created a new focus in Sondra’s career, with her deciding to focus solely on Business Analysis and moving away from eDiscovery.
At that time, Sondra began to explore certification with the Dallas Chapter but was not ready. However, after a 5-year sabbatical, she came back to the field. Starting as Salesperson at NFM in less than a year she was promoted to Software Development as a Business Analyst, but she needed to catch up. Driven by her desire to become educated and proficient in business analysis standards and practices, she began studying for the Agile Analysis Certification (IIBA®-AAC). A new opportunity appeared when IIBA offered an incentive to members to benchmark the Product Ownership Analysis Certification (IIBA®-CPOA). After a few weeks of studying, Sondra sat and passed the IIBA®-CPOA exam in July 2021; and then sat and passed the IIBA®-AAC Exam in October 2021. Next, it was time to study for the core exams. Sondra participated a few study groups beginning Fall 2021 to keep the material fresh in her mind. She sat and passed the Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA™) exam in December 2022. Finally, she was ready to dedicate the time and resources to focus on the Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP®) certification.
Sondra sat for the CBAP® exam on September 30, 2023, and passed on the first attempt. The Study Groups and question banks were critical components to her success; it provided her with the tools and knowledge she needed to be successful. Studying for these exams, learning the concepts, and applying the techniques has been a game changer in the workplace. She is recognized by her company as a Senior Business Analyst, and recently created a Business Analysis Center of Excellence (BACoE) and has been asked to coach and mentor her peers.
When Sondra is not working, she enjoys time with her husband, teaching or participating in ministries and is an Organizer for EaglesNest Dallas (gather locals/transplants to watch the Philadelphia Eagles games), Go Birds! She has been blessed with being married for over 10 years and has four fur babies.
20% Rebate on All Certification Exams
Starting November 1, 2023, IIBA is offering an enticing opportunity to receive a 20%* exam rebate for IIBA’s entire range of certifications, including when the exam is written by December 29, 2023.
No special codes are necessary for this offer, but it is exclusively available to IIBA Members. To take advantage of this limited time offer, IIBA Members simply need to complete their exam within the promotional period, and the rebate will be automatically applied.
*Terms & Conditions: The 20% exam rebate offer applies to IIBA® Members in good standing who write exams, including ECBA™, CCBA®, CBAP®, IIBA®-AAC, IIBA®-CBDA, IIBA®-CCA, and IIBA®-CPOA from November 1 to December 29, 2023. The discount applies to exam fees and exam rewrite fees only. The rebate will be applied to the original payment method in USD after the exam is completed and may take until February 15, 2024, to be processed. Currency exchange rates fluctuate daily so the amount refunded may differ from the purchase price. The exam rebate applies to the exam portion of the IIBA®-CCA and IIBA®-CPOA bundled price. The offer does not apply to bulk or volume purchase agreement (VPA) purchases. This offer is subject to change without notice. Note: The exam cannot be taken on the same day as the exam purchase. Exam scheduling availability is determined by the exam fulfillment service.
We would like you to celebrate our 10th year anniversary with us as you are part of this community, and we can celebrate 10 years because of you. We are so appreciative of your engagement with our chapter and seeing you at our events and activities. You may not have been involved with the Bluegrass IIBA Chapter for all of the 10 years, but you are now part of our community, whether you live or work in Kentucky or not.
We would like you to create a 1-to-2-minute video congratulating Bluegrass IIBA on our 10th anniversary and telling everyone why you are thankful to the chapter and being part of this community. You can drop your video in Google Drive or Drop Box and send a link to it to Community@bluegrass.iiba.org and Finance@bluegrass.iiba.org and we'll pick it up and post it to social media; or you may just post it to LinkedIn yourself and tag Bluegrass IIBA Chapter on it so that we see it.
Will you participate in BA School Day? The BA School Day initiative asks practicing business analysts to visit a school of their choice and talk to students about a business analysis career. As many business analysts happen upon the career later in their professional career after having done something prior, and many colleges and universities still today do not offer a business analysis curriculum or degrees; this may be the only way that students can learn of business analysis as a career choice. Will you help?
As we noted earlier, Bluegrass IIBA Chapter is supporting the BA School Day initiative by asking practicing business analysis in our extended areas to participate in the initiative. We will help obtain permission from the school or school district for you to visit the school and talk to students. We have also created content to assist you in your presentation to the students, in addition to what the global initiative founders have created.
What we are asking you to do is to click the image below to review our BA School Day page. Review that material that is available to you. There are links to the global effort resources from our page. Once you have reviewed the material and decide you wish to participate click the "Get Involved' button to let us know you wish to participate and if you wish for Bluegrass IIBA Chapter to reach out to the school of your choice or if you have the relationship with the school to do that yourself. Once you submit your pledge to participate in this inspiring initiative, we will be in touch with you to coordinate your visit to the school. If you have any questions concerning your participation in this effort, please contact me (Stephanie Hawkins) at Community@bluegrass.iiba.org.
Welcome Our New Vice President of Membership
Bronson Zell, CBAP
Welcome Bronson Zell to the Bluegrass IIBA Chapter Board of Directors. Bronson has served as Director of the Kentuckiana Branch for three years, and now takes on the role of Vice President of Membership.
Bronson is the Business Analyst Manager for the Enterprise Business Consulting Team at Republic Bank & Trust. He has a decade of business analysis experience, and specializes in process improvement, data analysis, data visualization, and both informal and formal documentation. He considers himself an Efficiency Specialist with experience in Project Implementation, UAT, QA, Experienced Customer Service Manager, Professional Writer, Payments Processing, Banking, Claims Adjudication, Graphic Design and Layout, and Technical Support.
Bronson obtained his Certified Business Analysis Professional™ (CBAP®) certification in August 2018; and his Agile Analysis Certification (IIBA®-AAC) in December 2021. He would like to see the Bluegrass IIBA chapter further grow and develop the Business Analysis discipline within the corporate culture of Kentucky. There are several companies with robust, mature BA practices, but there are also many that do not have a formalized BA team nor a PMO. I believe we have the opportunity to promote the profession and to improve the strength and health of business in Kentucky.
Bluegrass IIBA Chapter will not only support the BA School Day Initiative started by Christina Lovelock and Adrian Reed in the United Kingdom (UK), but we will orchestrate participation of practicing Business Analysts from our areas in this inspiring effort.
This is your opportunity to inspire tomorrow's business analysts today! Bluegrass IIBA Chapter, Chrsitina and Adrian encourage you to visit a school of your choice to talk to students about a business analysis career. We wish to reach the younger generation before they are making decisions about their career to raise awareness of business analysis as a career choice. Many colleges and universities still do not offer a business analysis curriculum or degrees, so this may be the only way that students can learn of business analysis as a career option.
BA School Day encourages practicing business analysts to visit a school local to them to talk to students about a business analysis career during the week of Global Business Analysis Day (November 1st).
As mentioned, Bluegrass IIBA Chapter will help orchestrate BAs in Kentucky and our extended areas visiting schools local to them. We will run our effort from October 30, 2023 to November 10, 2023. If you wish to visit sometime outside of that date range, we can help arrange your visit. If you have a relationship with the school or school district and can arrange your own visit, by all means do that. Otherwise, Bluegrass IIBA Chapter will be happy to reach out to the school or school district for you. We have also developed additional resources that you may use as content for your discussion with the students. If you are interested in participating in the effort, please click on the image below to view our BA School Day webpage, review the resources, then make your pledge to visit a school the week of Global BA Day.
The Professional Development (PD) Committee met two weeks ago and put forth suggestions for chapter meeting speakers and topics for our Fall 2023 schedule.
As you know we do take the summer (June and July) off from chapter meetings so that our community, members and chapter leaders can take family vacation while kids are out of school.
Once the suggestions are developed by the PD Committee, we contact the proposed speakers to see if they have interest in presenting to our community and are available. We get the presentation abstract and speaker biography so that we can promote the events.
When we return in August, we'll have the following topics for you:
We hope to see you at these chapter meetings and our other events in the fall.
During yesterday's webinar on Essential Requirements Practices with Karl Wiegers, we were not able to answer all the questions during the Q&A time. So we did send the questions to Karl and got his answers.
Do you think that multiple THEN statements should be included within the one acceptance criteria statement rather than splitting out each THEN statement into separate acceptance criteria statements?
If a single test (that is, a single combination of GIVEN and WHEN) yields multiple outcomes, I would list them all as part of the THEN clause, because they all must be satisfied to say the test was passed.
What do you think about ‘obvious’ requirements?
For an example, users get annoyed because the new BI report does not allow them download the output data directly into Excel format. Instead, the tool outputs to CSV and then 90% of users end up having to open the files in Excel and then re-saving the file as a .xlsx
The developers respond ‘sorry – but you did not request that feature in requirements’. If you want to give us more money, you can get it in Release 3 (2 years from now if it ever comes..)’
The users reply, ‘Seriously, you built us 4 similar reports before this, already after the first report we asked for direct to .xlsx download, and you went ahead and built that in report 2 and 3. We all even agreed that it was best practice since most of the users are manipulating the file in Excel. Oh, and by the way, the CSV file is 100 MB, whereas the .xlsx version is 10 MB so it saves a lot of IT bandwidth by users downloading smaller files from the network. Why do we have to ask over again
My feeling is that if a requirement is not specified somewhere, no one should be surprised if that requirement doesn't appear in the product. This case is an example of assumed requirements, coupled with inadequate communication. What is obvious to one party may not be obvious to another, particularly if (a) the people have changed since the earlier requirement was implemented or the change was made and/or (b) that previous requirement or change request was not clearly documented somewhere.
In this case, the fact that there was a pattern of including this particular requirement previously might not have been known to the BA or development team, even if the users knew about it. If that information was available, then the BA perhaps did not do a good enough job of examining the records from the previous report implementations to see the pattern. The BA (or dev team) might have simply implemented what the users asked for, instead of properly eliciting and analyzing the new requirements. The BA could have asked questions like, "I see we added the capability for direct to .xlsx download to the previous reports. Do you want that here as well?"
This is the kind of problem that can arise when requirements are not properly elicited, documented, and referred to when changes or enhancements are made. Relying on human memories for these details is risky and imperfect. It would be worthwhile for the participants to talk together to understand why that unstated and assumed requirement was overlooked and adjust their process to make such oversights less likely in the future.
How to approach when the overall business processes are being refined based on the results of a project, given that users have negative past experience with the solution?
Here's what we say about that on page 93 of the book:
Some new information systems either impose or accompany changes in an organization’s business processes. It’s hard for users who are accustomed to doing their jobs in a certain way to envision a whole new mode of working; some of them will resist the change. Too often, new system implementations simply repave existing cow paths, updating the interface while retaining outdated and inefficient processes. Significant process and application changes can push users out of their comfort zone. Those changes sometimes require additional training and alter, or even threaten, employees’ jobs.
Influential user representatives who work with the software team to develop and
evaluate prototypes can ease that uncomfortable transition. A BA, a user experience
designer, and some users can explore ways that a system could support new business workflows. It’s better to address potential points of user resistance during prototyping than after the new system goes live. This engagement also builds trust and buy-in from the user participants regarding the new future state, so they can lead others in the organization through the transition.
Thank you for the answers Karl!
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Based in Lexington, Kentucky and serving all interested Kentucky Business Analysts
Mailing address: Bluegrass IIBA Chapter | 1588 Leestown Road, Suite 130-111 | Lexington, KY 40511