Vice President of Marketing and Communications
Previous Chapter Position:
Director of Marketing Strategies
LeShai Phelps joined the Bluegrass IIBA Chapter a few years ago in hopes of networking with other analysts in the Lexington area and to obtain knowledge to help her to learn BA practices.
LeShai graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Early on in her career, she was on a path to be a call center manager. Starting off as a customer service representative at a major communications company. The company was purchased by an even bigger company and her job was no longer available. This led her on a job search, where she found her niche at Tempur-Pedic, where she has been for the last 12 years. Within a few short months, she became an account manager, and was promoted to a supervisor. During this time, she collaborated on several IT projects to help upgrade and enhance the current ERP system. This included composing process maps of current and future state processes, information gathering, composing training documentation, and training users. She was recruited by the IT Department to join the company’s ERP implementation team, where she became very familiar with the business analyst role and realized she had been doing the function for several years.
In 2015, she was recruited by the Director of Marketing Strategies to fill the role, so the current position holder could accept the role of Vice President of Marketing and Communications. In 2016, the VP resigned, allowing LeShai the opportunity to fill the position. One of the first contributions LeShai made, in collaboration with Aaron, the current VP of Professional Development, was the creation of the Chapter’s quarterly newsletter, Bluegrass BA Connection.
LeShai currently lives in Richmond, KY. In her spare time, she loves to cook, travel, and spend time with family and friends. She is currently studying for the CBAP certification, which she hopes to obtain by Fall of 2017. She looks forward to working more with the Bluegrass Chapter and determine ways to increase engagement in the Chapter and attendance to meetings.
According to Wikipedia, a business analyst is someone who analyzes an organization or business domain (real or hypothetical) and documents it business or processes or systems, assessing the business model or its integration with technology. The International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) describes the role as "a liaison among stakeholders in order to understand the structure, policies, and operations of an organization, and to recommend solutions that enable the organization to achieve its goals. In our organization, we ask our BAs to do much more than that!
BAs act as the focal point for key organizational knowledge about business processes and IT systems. They are subject matter experts!
As a manager, it is important to support the BAs with both their business contacts and the rest of the IT organization. As their knowledge and skillsets grow, they become more in demand and it is up to the manager to help prioritize their work and give them the tools they need to be successful. Managers must create the opportunities for them to become engaged with their business partners, and monitor that relationship to ensure it is healthy and productive. It is the manager’s job to create an environment where the BAs can work collaboratively and share their experiences with each other, even if they are working in different areas of the business and on different projects. They learn as much from each other as they do from any other source!
Managers should ensure that the BAs have the opportunity to dig into the applications beyond the basic functional processes so they can be that “business Architects and subject matter experts” who are needed to make sure solutions will work within the environment. Help them develop closer working relationships with the technical teams. If the BAs have a better technical understanding of the solution, it will be much easier to discuss solutions with the developers and make the documentation easier to understand. Give them the training they need to be able to do a thorough job at gathering and documenting requirements, designing solutions, and creating training documents, test cases, as-is and to-be process maps, and anything else they are asked to produce.
Today we are asking our BAs to be much more flexible in what their duties entail. They have become a very important resource to the Business and IT. As managers, we must help mentor and support them and allow them to grow into productive and successful members of the organization!
Background about Tempur+Sealy
Tempur-Pedic began making Mattresses in the U.S. in the early ‘90’s using a special material that was originally created by NASA, who was trying to develop a cushioning material for aircraft and spacecraft that would help astronauts better cope with the enormous G-forces they experience, especially during lift-off. Over the years, the original formula has been improved to create the special feel and support of the Tempur material. Today, Tempur-Pedic has joined Forces with Sealy to become one of the world’s largest Bedding companies.
As Tempur-Sealy has grown, the IT organization has aligned with the business areas to provide support and expertise which help to move the company forward. It became very apparent a few years ago that IT needed liaisons between the IT department and various areas of the business. These Business Analysts needed to have a deep understanding of what the business area does, and how IT can help. We created Business relationship managers to support the Corporate functions, Sales and Marketing, and Operations. Each of these managers has a team of BAs with deep knowledge in that specific part of the business. Some of the BAs came from a technical background and learned the business, and others came from that business area and learned the technology. It has been a very good mix for us.
The BAs work closely with their business partners to understand what their plans are and how IT can support their needs. They become an important part of the Business team. As the business looks at new vendors and new functionality, the BA helps make sure things being considered fit within our technology stack, or brings in the Architects to determine if IT needs to make changes to the standards. This avoids a lot of surprises and the need to support multiple redundant platforms.
We also have BAs that work across the business areas on specific platforms. Today we have a team of dedicated BAs working on our global ERP implementation, and another team working on Business Intelligence and Reporting. These teams are instrumental in keeping all areas of the business using the same processes and toolsets, and protecting our enterprise data.
As the company continues to grow and evolve, the flexibility of our BA team allows us to support the business and be a trusted partner in all their planning and projects.
Written By: Marlene Gaidzik, Director at Tempur-Sealy, Int, Lexington, KY
Bluegrass IIBA Chapter welcomes Justinmind as our newest chapter sponsor.
Established in 2014 in San Francisco, CA; Justinmind offers tools that can vastly improve your project requirements lifecycle. The tools can be used for any type of project methodology, but have unique advantages that provide extreme value to Agile processes.
The prototyping tools allow analysts, designers, and other stakeholders to easily create, share, and modify wireframes and mockups for various products, such as websites, mobile apps, and wearables (think Fitbit and Google Glass.) The WOW factor comes when the wireframes and mockups are then turned into interactive prototypes, which can then be shared with/demoed to the stakeholders.
Justinmind offers a 30 day trial download of their Prototyper for PC/MAC. Justinmind Prototyper app comes with a 3 minute training for beginners, plus an option to learn more and become an expert. Justinmind also provides a user community, where users of the Prototyper can ask questions and get answers. The community is monitored by Justinmind tech support, so that real issues get fixed quickly.
Justinmind helps in collaboration by offering integration with Team Foundation Server (TFS), JIRA, and Doors, as well as secure enterprise collaboration and requirements management tools.
Visit Justinmind.com, where you can take a tour, ask questions, download the app, read the blog, and share your own experiences.
To introduce the Justinmind prototyping tool to our community, Bluegrass IIBA Chapter will host a webinar on Thursday, April 27, 2017 at noon ET. We will highlight the many advanced features of Justinmind Prototyper so you can determine how to put it to use for you and your organization.
While working as a client, I needed to understand and document our internal business processes in order to effectively communicate with outside ERP consultants. I would spend a lot of time with different personnel throughout the organization trying to understand their processes. This included a lot of asking “Why?” in order to truly understand what the business needed. I would then write up flow charts in Visio detailing the business process. I found these to be much more effective than long text documents as people could much more easily follow the flow.
After a couple years of this, I switched to the opposite side of the same coin. I am now on the consultant side working with businesses. The toolset is exactly the same and there is still a lot of asking “Why?”. The only difference is that my area of expertise has shifted from trying to completely understand a single business to understanding a piece of ERP software. I have to work with internal business analyst to help understand their business as quickly as possible. The object is to seamlessly blend the software with the business processes.
As a closing note I would say, after working with many different businesses on both sides, most companies overestimate their complexities and differentiation. It’s just that most companies are mostly the same with mostly the same processes.
Written by: Will Lavery of eBECS , Atlanta, GA
The Bluegrass IIBA Chapter would like to thank Jim and Bev Taylor of Cork & Barrel for hosting an excellent kick-off to our new Small Business Speaker Series, masterminded by our very own Judeth Tarter, Vice President of Community Outreach. Ideally, the series will help small business owners in the Bluegrass area, like Jim and Bev, understand the similarities of being an entrepreneur and the career of business analysis.
Judeth did an excellent job of preparing questions related to business analysis, quality analysis, quality control, and other questions that identified what techniques The Taylors are currently using, as well as past practices, to successfully operate a small business in this area. While Judeth interrogated (I mean questioned-lol) our panelists, we were able to partake and analyze their products (wines, cheeses, and crackers).
Overall, we all walked away with an understanding that, like Business Analysts, small business owners wear many hats. We analyze the business for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). We analyze quality of our products and services and make modifications where needed. We prove out our solution(s), which can mean in a Test environment, or in real life.
Click here to view pictures from the event.
Visit Jim and Bev’s website for more information on Cork & Barrel
SQS Rural USA is located in Lexington Kentucky, the heart of the bluegrass! We tailor our delivery model to meet clients’ unique requirements through a portfolio of options including onsite, near-shore, off- shore and managed services. With Business Analysts, testing and solutions centers around the globe, our hybrid approach combines a local team with the most optimal of these delivery methods. SQS Rural USA maintains a business analysis practice in Lexington.
With the IIBA® certification program changeover coming in September 2016, SQS Rural USA approached Bluegrass IIBA Chapter for help to get their business analysts certified before the changeover. Bluegrass IIBA Chapter provided a CBAP® Study Group during the summer of 2016 in which seven of the SQS business analysts participated. Five of those business analysts are now CBAP® certified, including the practice lead, Cody May. Congratulations also to Bill Phillips, Richard Power, Joann Sims and Judeth Tarter on their accomplishment.
SQS USA's integrated and controlled services are precisely fitted; providing significant advantages in terms of costs, speed and performance. SQS Rural USA and SQS USA, Inc. are subsidiaries of SQS. SQS USA, Inc. is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.
SQS is the world's leading specialist in software quality, providing end-to-end business process quality assurance for software-based systems. SQS consultants identify and mitigate business risk in technology-led transformations utilizing standardized methodology, industrialized automation solutions, global delivery and deep domain knowledge across multiple industries. Through its specialization, the company provides the objectivity which delivers certainty.
SQS, headquartered in Cologne, Germany, now employs approximately 4,600 staff. SQS has offices in Germany, the UK, Australia, Egypt, Finland, France, India, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa, the UAE and the US. In addition, SQS maintains a minority stake in a company in Portugal.
Aaron Whittenberger, CBAP
Vice President of Professional Development
Director of Technology
Previous Chapter Positions:
Aaron Whittenberger is a frequent speaker at IIBA® and corporate meetings and conferences in the region. He is an avid promoter of IIBA®, Bluegrass IIBA Chapter, business analysis as a profession and the recognition of its practitioners.
Aaron graduated from Wright State University with two Bachelor degrees. He began his career at Dayton Freight Lines as a Corporate Accountant. After two years in Accounting, the CFO noticed that Aaron liked working with the computers so when the company decided to go to the IBM midrange computer he asked Aaron to head up the project. Aaron spent the next three years bringing in and learning the new midrange computer system, bringing in and learning a new freight software package, writing the training manual, and traveling to the eight freight terminals to install computers and train their people on the new system. After getting the company up on the new software package, Aaron learned programming so he could make changes to the software that the company wanted.
After going to a couple more companies, Aaron received a phone call that offered a hefty pay raise to come to Northern Kentucky and become a consultant. After 18 months at his first client he called the consulting firm to inform them that his contract was coming to an end. That is when he found out they were actually an Engineering firm who was trying Information Technology, and was no longer interested in IT. So he found his next client and became an independent consultant.
In 2008, Aaron learned that he was going to have an opportunity to attend a business analyst boot camp training session. So he researched what a business analyst is and what they do. He realized, he has done all this stuff in his career, he has just never held the job title “Business Analyst”. This ignited a passion in him and he knew he found his calling. Later that year he obtained his Certified Business Analysis Professional® (CBAP®) designation.
During five years on the Cincinnati IIBA Chapter Board of Directors, Aaron volunteered to help his friend from Louisville as Deputy Regional Director for IIBA’s Americas Eastern Region. One month later, his friend stepped down as Regional Director raising Aaron to that position.
Realizing the 62nd largest city in the United States – that was in his back yard – didn’t have an IIBA chapter, Aaron reached out through social media to business analysts in and around Lexington to gauge their interest in having an IIBA chapter. Finding a group of interested folks, he worked with them to organize, start and charter the Bluegrass IIBA Chapter. The group made Aaron the first President of the Chapter.
Aaron lives in Independence, Kentucky. He has four sons that live in the area. He often plays golf with one son and his dad. He recently retired from umpiring high school baseball and a couple of years ago played his first ever game of cricket with co-workers.
ASPE Training offers members and participants of Bluegrass IIBA Chapter unlimited Business Analysis courses for a year for $2,995.
Students will have access to all ASPE Business Analysis courses (public in-classroom and live online) training opportunities for one whole year. There are over 30 courses to choose from, with over 700 scheduled course deliveries.
Here are the menu options.
Those interested may contact Mike Mazzarella at ASPE Training, email@example.com.
International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®) announced winners of the 2016 Chapter Awards Tuesday evening, November 1, 2016; at their Building Business Capability Conference.
Chapters were recognized for excellence in eight (8) categories. Chapters demonstrated their excellence in these areas throughout the year. All 120 chartered chapters were eligible for awards, and more than 60 nominations were received for chapter awards this year.
Bluegrass IIBA Chapter in Lexington, KY was once again recognized in the area of Innovation. Last year, Bluegrass received Honorable Mention for this award; this year Bluegrass won the award. Innovations like the game "BA Feud", Bluegrass Business Analysis Hall of Fame, BA Talks video series and the role-play at their August chapter meeting made Bluegrass chapter the obvious choice for the Innovation Award.
Bluegrass IIBA Chapter invites the Bluegrass community to come celebrate this award at our annual Winter Networking Social on December 14, 2016.
International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®) awards chapters for excellence in many categories annually. Last year Bluegrass IIBA Chapter received Honorable Mention for the Innovation Award. The categories change from year to year but the theme of the awards are in Overall Chapter Performance, Alignment with IIBA Goals and Initiatives, Leadership, Innovation and Community Engagement. There are eight award categories this year and Bluegrass IIBA Chapter is once again nominated for the Innovation Award; and this year we have added a nomination for the Chapter Engagement Award. The Innovation Award is awarded to the chapter that demonstrates the greatest example of innovation. The Chapter Engagement is awarded to the chapter that demonstrates the greatest opportunities to engage chapter members and BA professionals within the community. Bluegrass IIBA Chapter is proud to have one of the most innovative programs of all 120+ chapters worldwide that engages our members and organizational change professionals in the Bluegrass region. Chapter Awards will be announced during the Building Business Capability (BBC) Conference, the official conference of IIBA®, on November 1st. Cheer for our chapter to win both of these awards!
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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
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