• Sunday, August 06, 2017 2:00 PM | Community IIBA Bluegrass (Administrator)


    Bluegrass IIBA Chapter has announced new initiatives to enhance the customer experience for their members and participants in their programs.  As part of our affiliation agreement with International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®) (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) we can accept only people who are members of the international association as members of the local chapter.  It has been difficult to convey that message to our community.  Over the last two years we had three people join the chapter that were not members of IIBA.  Last year we changed our website to show that it is a two-step process to join the chapter; 1) join IIBA (International), and then 2) join Bluegrass IIBA Chapter.  Still we hear from our community that they want it easier to do business with Bluegrass IIBA Chapter.

    In response to requests from the community, Bluegrass IIBA Chapter announces three new ways to receive discounts to participate in our programs:

    • 1)     Combined IIBA (International) and Bluegrass IIBA Chapter Membership.  For those who wish to join both the international association and local chapter in one transaction.  The cost of this membership level covers the cost of membership in both organizations. 
    • 2)     Annual Pass to Chapter Events.  This is not membership.  For those who want to “try out” the Bluegrass IIBA Chapter program prior to committing to membership.  This annual pass gives passholders discount to chapter meetings and events for a year.  However, it does not provide access to member-only material.
    • 3)     Annual Pass for Students.  This is not membership.  Cost of an education is expensive, so we have introduced our new annual pass at a reduced price for current students in accredited education program leading to a business, information technology or science degree or diploma, or business analysis certification.

    These programs give members and annual passholders discounts for participation in our programs.  You don’t have to be a member or annual passholder to participate in our programs, we will always have a Guest participation fee for all events.   Our summer CBAP Study Group is about to conclude with 17 participants; two of which were Guests of the Chapter.

    This announcement from Bluegrass IIBA Chapter comes on the heels of an announcement a couple months ago of a new SMS text messaging service.  This service is a way for people to receive notifications of chapter events on their mobile device.  They will be able to register for the event right on their mobile device.  This is intended to provide additional service to our community and make it easier to do business with the Chapter.

    Bluegrass IIBA Chapter is committed to providing desired services to the business communities in the great commonwealth of Kentucky.  We have a very strong, innovative and interactive professional development program to assist professionals to advance their business analysis career.  We also have a very strong Membership program that delivers value to our members beyond discounts to our events.  We also provide discounts from our chapter sponsors: The Solarity Group and J. Ross Publishing.  Additional membership benefits include access to member-only content at both the local and international levels.  Our Community Outreach and Marketing programs drive to greater awareness of the Chapter and our programs throughout Kentucky. 

    If you would like to see the chapter do something, or would like us to start meeting at a location near you, please email, or and give us your input. The above announcement came from input from the community, we want to hear from you.

  • Saturday, July 01, 2017 8:41 AM | Professional Development IIBA Bluegrass (Administrator)

    Bluegrass IIBA Chapter is the local association for the advancement of the business analysis profession in the Bluegrass region.  It was established here in Lexington, KY in August 2013 to serve the Bluegrass business community. Our mission is to bring together the Bluegrass community of professionals who deliver organizational change to promote best practices in delivering better business outcomes.   The Chapter intends to accomplish this mission by:


    ·        Championing Business Analysis excellence by providing an educational program, promoting best practices, and creating opportunities for local practitioners to grow personally and professionally.

    ·        Developing Business Analysis practitioners and leaders who deliver organizational results.

    ·        Cultivating alliances with organizations in the community to advance the profession in the Bluegrass.

    ·        Providing networking opportunities for business professionals to learn from each other.

    You can see from the Chapter’s vision, mission and objectives statements that the business analysis practitioner is at the heart of the chapter program.  You should be aware that not all business analysis practitioners have the job title “Business Analyst”.  You may be surprised how many people within the organization do business analysis work.  If you work with stakeholders to understand the current state and their needs, help discover which change initiatives the organizations should invest in to deliver the maximum value, deliver business solutions, or consult business management you are a business analysis professional.

    Now that you know you are a business analyst, do you use the professional development program of Bluegrass IIBA Chapter to advance your own career?  Have you participated in:

    1.      Chapter Meetings

    The chapter meeting is the corner stone of the chapter’s professional development program.  The chapter holds at least nine (9) chapter meetings per year.  They are held monthly from August through May.  Each meeting has a different topic that would be of value to the business analyst.

    2.      Workshops

    A workshop is more in depth training than chapter meetings.  They typically have some combination of education and student activities to maximize the learning experience.  They typically are longer in duration than the one-hour chapter meeting, and are offered on a variety of business analysis topics.

    3.      Social Events

    Social events, sometimes referred to as networking events do not offer an educational program.  They allow our members and participants to discuss the “hot” topics of the day, or any topic they wish at their leisure.  Our annual social event is our Winter Networking Social held in December of each year.  Our social events do typically contain some element of food!

    4.      BABOK / CBAP Study Groups

    Whether you are interested in learning the content of A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK® Guide) or obtaining your IIBA® certification join our BABOK / CBAP Study Group.  Whichever your purpose for participating in the study group, it will set you apart and help you advance your career.

    5.      IIBA Professional Development Material

    IIBA International has many materials aimed at helping advance your professional career all over their website (  As a service to our community, we have brought these all together and put them in one place for easy access (  Some of these resources are members-only, but some are available for the community.

    6.      Professional Development Reference Material

    As another service to our community, we have scoured the internet and found many resources that business analysis professionals can use to advance their own careers.  We have brought all these resources together and put them in one place for easy access (  Now you don’t have to scour the internet yourself.  We also maintain a list of Upcoming Business Analysis Webinars (

    7.      Members-only Section of Bluegrass IIBA Chapter website

    We have a members-only section on our website where we have not only all the recordings of our past chapter meetings and BABOK study groups, but we have some more business analysis material from the internet made available just for our members.

    8.      BA Talks Video Series

    Have you stared in a BA Talks video?  This is your opportunity to grow professionally and give back to the community by mentoring others on business analysis topics.  Contact the chapter for assistance in producing your BA Talks video and have it included in our video series.

    If you have not yet partaken of this innovative and exciting professional development program and all its resources, then I personally invite you to do so.  I have met many great, passionate and conscientious professionals in my work with the Bluegrass IIBA Chapter.  It has been my pleasure to develop and continually mature this program for the benefit of our Bluegrass community.  I hope every business analysis professional gets value from participating in the program.


    Aaron S. Whittenberger, CBAP

    Vice President of Professional Development

    Bluegrass IIBA Chapter

    Lexington, KY

  • Thursday, June 15, 2017 10:30 AM | Marketing IIBA Bluegrass (Administrator)

    In the analyst role in Information Technology, I learned that the most important responsibility is to gain a clear understanding of the business requirements and accurately document captured requirements and business processes to include non-system related business rules that will impact the functional logic.  The goal is to gather good clear requirements that support the customer’s expectations of the software deliverable.  This is best acquired through working in the business process with the user to observe each step completed to achieve a specific desired result and gain an accurate clear understanding of why the user is completing each step.  This is called Genchi Genbutsu, a Toyota Production System term that suggests that in order to understand a situation you must “go and see” where the actual work is done.  By doing this real time observation in the actual business process, it drives identification of business rules and requirements that the user might overlook due to repetitive practice.  I also learned the importance of asking good questions when interviewing users. This is an area that I applied the 5 Why Methodology to identify the root cause of an existing problem, to identify the real requirement or additional associated requirements that must work in concert to yield a specific expected result. The 5 Why Methodology technique requires asking ‘why’ 5 times to gain visibility into the root element. 

    Say we are implementing a solution to correct a process problem.  Before we design the solution, we must first identify the requirements for the solution.  With the ‘5 Why’ process, you will ask the question ‘why’ 5 times to drill down to the real problem to solve. If the root problem is identified before the 5th why is applied, you can stop the process.  

    Example: We are shipping incorrect parts to our customer’s manufacturing plant.  You ask our inventory team ‘why’ incorrect parts are being shipped to our customer’s plants.  Inventory is pulling and confirming incorrect parts to fulfill the order.  Why are they pulling and confirming incorrect parts?  The order/picking ticket displays the incorrect part number and stock number.  Why does the order display the incorrect part number and stock number? The ordering system is populating the incorrect part number and stock number.  Why is the ordering system populating the incorrect stock number?  The system is pulling part number and stock number field data from the wrong table.  Why is the system pulling the part number and stock number values from the wrong table?  The logic is mapped to the wrong table.

    This methodology allows identification of and focus on the real problem.  At this point, you may have placed focus on replacing what appeared to be a broken software when you may only need to remap the field. 

    Once the requirements are captured and documented by the analyst, the analyst must flush the captured requirements to confirm the requirements are complete, correct, necessary, unambiguous, verifiable and conflict free from other requirements.  If this mark is missed on capturing great strong requirements then every process downstream will be negatively impacted and the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) process will not be seamless as designed.

    My advice to all interested in becoming an analyst in Information Technology, you must encompass qualities that support working with non-technical oriented customers, technical oriented colleagues and systems/software.

    Written By: Ali Robinson; Tempur Sealy Global Supply Chain IT Manager (formerly an IT Analyst)

  • Friday, June 09, 2017 4:30 PM | Marketing IIBA Bluegrass (Administrator)

    Company Profile

    The Solarity Group is a professional change, project, program, and portfolio management and business consulting and training services firm based in Kentucky. Solarity provides certified, experienced change, project, and program managers and business consultants to assist government agencies and businesses with specific efforts to enable them to focus their resources on what they do best. Solarity also provides business consulting in strategic planning and business analysis. Additionally, Solarity is a Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.) for the Project Management Institute (PMI) and a Microsoft Partner specializing in Enterprise Project Management (EPM) using Microsoft Project and Microsoft Project Server.

    Solarity’s mission is to help people, organizations, and communities THRIVE. Our commitment is to provide our clients with the ability to move toward quality lives and outcomes. We work to help our clients envision a better future through strategic engagement, strategic planning facilitation, and selective training. We then can help our clients advance their strategic goals by defining the right work, planning that work, and working the plan, adjusting as necessary until we achieve success.

    Our niche is “building success by doing the right things the right way for the right reasons.” It is easy to be busy doing things and not accomplish the desired outcome. That is why we always seek to ensure we all have the same vision of what the right things are for us to accomplish, and then bring our collective experience to bear to ensure we’re doing them the right way.

    Our primary business focus is to assist organizations with strategic changes that require the synchronization of people, processes, platforms, and content. We do this using the disciplines of engagement, change management, coaching, project management, and business analysis.

    Solarity’s Values

    All our people and practices are centered on our core values, which help us ensure we provide our customers with the highest quality work in the best possible manner, continuously improving our ability to deliver sustainable results over time:

    • Quality—We are committed to delivering valuable results for the greater good of our customers by using proven practices and highly skilled people; we gain quality through…
    • Wellness—We believe we do our best work when we are spiritually grounded, have healthy relationships with our customers, family, and friends, and practice healthy behaviors—healthy behaviors lead to good…
    • Relationships—We are committed to building relationships with the community, clients, employees and business partners through honesty, respect and integrity. These relationships help us with our…
    • Continuous Improvement—We are always assessing performance and adapting practices to achieve better results—identifying these areas to improve allows us to…
    • Focus—We relentlessly focus on those areas that help us strategically grow and sustain our capability to deliver value, which produces high Quality results and a high quality of life for those with whom we work.

    All of our values are interdependent: Quality comes when we maintain wellness by practicing healthy behaviors, which lead to good relationships that are open and honest. When we hear truth from one another, we can continuously improve, focusing on sustaining what works and addressing areas that don’t. That focus leads, in turn, to a higher quality of service for our customers and a better quality of life for ourselves. 

    Written byCory Camic, PMP®, The Solarity Group, Lexington, KY

  • Tuesday, May 30, 2017 9:24 AM | Marketing IIBA Bluegrass (Administrator)

    The Bluegrass IIBA Chapter is a non-profit professional association established in August 2013 to serve the business community of central and eastern Kentucky. We welcome professionals of all disciplines who deliver organizational change including business analysis, business management, project management, product management, quality assurance and control, change management, consultants and recruiters.

    We offer a plethora of opportunities for starting and advancing your career. As Vice-President of Membership for the chapter, I have had the opportunity to grow both professionally and personally along with some of the best and brightest professionals in the central Kentucky area. I have benefited from many of the offerings and encourage you to gain the maximum value from your membership with us.

    Here are some tips to help you get the most from your membership.

    Bluegrass Chapter website

    • Subscribe to our Event Notifications service to receive notifications about upcoming chapter meetings and events, our newsletters, and other topics of interest for business analysis professionals

         Click the Subscribe button on our home page

    • Opt In to SMS Text Messaging to receive Bluegrass IIBA Chapter event notifications via SMS text message. You will be able to register for events right from your mobile device

         Click the SMS icon on bottom, right-hand side of our home page   

    •  Follow the IIBA Bluegrass Chapter on LinkedIn

          Click Follow                               


    • Network with and learn from other Business Analysts by attending one (or more!) of our events
    • Share the opportunity by inviting a friend to attend with you

    Professional Development

    • Access Business Analysis resources including the BABOK® (Business Analysis Body of Knowledge) Guide, online library, training, webinars, and career center – just click the Professional Development tab on our website
    • Show the business community and perspective employers of your expertise in the business analysis field and your continued commitment to the business analysis profession and your career by earning an IIBA® professional certification
    • Email for more information about any of our professional development and certification opportunities and/or to help shape future chapter activities focused on Professional Development and Certification

    Get Involved

    • Check out our volunteer opportunities – just click the Get Involved tab on our website for a listing of opportunities

    Membership Renewal

    • Continue to receive resources and network opportunities that support your development and career growth

    We hope you will take full advantage of your chapter membership. Feel free to contact us with any questions, help shape future activities and events, and/or get involved.


    Joann Sims, CBAP

    Vice-President Membership, Bluegrass IIBA Chapter

  • Friday, May 19, 2017 1:18 PM | Marketing IIBA Bluegrass (Administrator)

    The Bluegrass IIBA Chapter is pleased to announce we now have the capability to send SMS text message to you as an event notification option.  You will be able to register for our events directly from your mobile device.  To opt in to our new SMS text messaging service, view our homepage, or scan the QR code below.  There is an OPT IN option on the the bottom right-hand side of the homepage.

  • Thursday, April 20, 2017 3:12 PM | Marketing IIBA Bluegrass (Administrator)

    Justinmind did a Q&A session with our very own Aaron Whittenberger earlier this month.  Check out their website for Aaron's commentary on how prototyping helps streamline software development lifecycles.  Click the link to view the full article.


  • Thursday, April 06, 2017 7:47 PM | Membership IIBA Bluegrass (Administrator)

    Congratulations on passing the CBAP® exam James Haner!

    James Haner was one of the first to take the Certified Business Analysis Professional® (CBAP®) in September 2016.  International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®) has just completed the process of determining the passing score from the experience of the first group of people taking the exam.  IIBA has informed James that he has passed the exam and is now a Certified Business Analysis Professional.  James credits recordings from the 2015 BABOK Study Group provided by the Bluegrass IIBA Chapter, saying that they were very helpful.

    The Chapter's heartfelt congratulations to James on this distinguished achievement.  Way to go James!

  • Friday, March 17, 2017 9:00 AM | Marketing IIBA Bluegrass (Administrator)


    LeShai Phelps

    Chapter Position:

    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.     

  • Wednesday, March 15, 2017 10:14 AM | Marketing IIBA Bluegrass (Administrator)

    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 are gaining an increasing strategic role within the organization.
    • BAs act as the focal point for key organizational knowledge about business processes and IT systems.  They are subject matter experts!

    • BAs “own” the relationship with the business area that they support, becoming a trusted member of their team, not just working with them on approved projects. 
    • BAs need to be much more technical in their knowledge of the applications already in the environment and the ones being installed.  They are no longer just translators between the business and IT, but are now acting as architects of the business.
    • BAs have become much more involved in Quality Assurance and end-to-end testing, making sure there are good test cases for all of the requirements that have been gathered.
    • BAs have taken on a much more active role in creating Training documentation and the actual delivery of Training.

    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 



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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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