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27 July 2010

BA World Melbourne 2010

I went to the Business Analyst World Conference in Melbourne on the 19th and 20th of July. Like last year it was a great event.  On day 1 I spent the whole day in one room (introducing speakers.) and got to listen to three very different stories.

Matthew Coppola from Perth training outfit Paramount Training gave a talk on Understanding Strategic Planning.

It’s always useful advice to go back to basics: Where do you want to be? Do you understand your capability? Mathew’s talk gave a simple framework to drill into these two questions. (See a transcripts of the whole talk here.)

Something that struck me while listening to his talk is how odd the world is. So many of us profess to know this stuff, but when you get out into the pressure of deadlines and complicated personal relationships – how many of us stick to the agenda and define the problem sufficiently before getting into implementation mode.

The second talk I saw was by John MacLeod of IBM’s Rational team on Steps to Better Requirements Management. This was the basics of requirements management: Start with a technology neutral business requirement statement, evolve it into a solution constrained by a particular IT or system scope and finally resolve it into specific statements of functionality. And trace things from front to back to keep up with what is getting done and what isn’t.

The third talk was a case study of a project delivered in NSW police by Peter Stanford of Artefaction called Architecting change – from Here to Eternity, or Agile and Now. This talk centred around the problems of getting consensus on big decisions in large, complex and diffuse organizations. The guts of the answer seemed to be making the decisions frequent and small, and using prototypes wherever possible.

On Day 2 I filled in for Paul Culmsee who was unable to attend – and did an ‘intimate’ Q&A session for two tables of people who wanted to ask questions about implementing agile practices. Matt Hodgson and Peter Stanford also sat in answering questions. It was fun and the people there seemed to like the more interactive nature of a conversation over yet another lecture.

The rest of the session was really interesting with lots of good content and speakers. I was happy I went and recommend anyone in Australia (or NZ) to pop along to the Sydney event on the 17th and 18th of August.