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Posts Tagged ‘Business Analysis’

Starting a New Career Journey

July 31, 2015 3 comments

crossroad1Dear Friends and Readers,

For those who don’t know my career journey so far, here it is.

I come from an IT background, and more than 4 years ago, I took a Project Management Professional (PMP) course at the American University of Beirut – Continuing Education Center (AUB-CEC) in partnership with CMCS Lebanon.

Building on that, I went for the exam and became a certified PMP. In the mean time, the trainer who gave me the course, who eventually became a close and trusted friend, introduced me to the Managing Partner of CMCS. Few months later, they offered me a job at CMCS as a Consultant and that’s when I transitioned from IT into Consultancy.

3 years later, I managed to grow and develop at CMCS to become the Operations Manager in addition to having had the pleasure of delivering training courses of all kinds related to Project Management and Business Analysis, training being something I enjoy passionately. I’ve also managed to earn 3 other certifications (CBAP, PBA, GPM-b) and pursue my masters in Human Resources Management (MHRM) at AUB with a focus on Competency Models and Training Development.

This summer, and out of the blue, I got contacted by the HR of one of the big 5 consultancy firms asking me if I’m interested in joining their team based on my achievements and my LinkedIn profile.

So I went through the selection process and I’m proud to say that I’ve been given an offer, which I took.  Therefore, I submitted my resignation from CMCS and will be heading off to this firm by the end of August.

This means I’m ending a beautiful journey in a company I’ve grown to love and respect its team, its professionalism and its achievements. It’s a hard decision to leave something you are doing well at, but at the same time, sometimes one got to think numerous steps ahead.

In addition to that, I’m not only transitioning out of CMCS, but I’m also leaving the country, which is a major career and life-style change. It’s a leap of faith, and I surely hope it’ll pay off in terms of career growth, more challenges and opening new doors.

I’m proud to say, as of September 1, 2015, I’ll be having a managerial position in the Advisory and Consultancy team at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in their Riyadh Office!

As a final note, I want to thank everyone who supported me in this journey of growth and I’m glad to have met everyone I worked with, partnered with, volunteered with and given a training to anywhere around the globe!

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Business Analysis Certification: IIBA’s CBAP Vs PMI’s PBA

October 26, 2014 1 comment

Business Analysis Certification: IIBA's CBAP Vs PMI's PBA

I’ve been CBAP certified for more than a year and a half now and I’ve recently earned my PBA certification as a participant in the pilot phase that PMI launched earlier this year. Thus I’m one of the first batch of certified PBA (less than 170 worldwide) and currently the only one in Lebanon with any of the 2 certifications.

In this context, I’d like to share with you some insights about the 2 certifications with a comparison to help you choose the right certification for you.

To start with, the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) has been around for more than 10 years and it works on the development, expansion and promotion of business analysis. While the Project Management Institute (PMI) has been around for more than 45 years and it works on the development, expansion and promotion of  project management.

In this context, the 2 organizations are starting from a different perspective about Business Analysis, what it means, what it entails and the reason they developed their certification (IIBA’s CCBA and CBAP Vs PMI’s PBA).

For IIBA, business analysis is a full time job and has a more holistic vision about the role of a business analyst. For IIBA, the Business Analyst’s work is not limited to only projects, requirements management, communication and evaluation of the end result, but rather it takes more of an enterprise perspective and can even assist at the strategic level.

While PMI’s focus on business analysis is more of a hybrid role for the Project and Program Managers with a special focus on proper requirements elicitation/collection, analysis, scope design, mapping, tracking and communication of those requirements with the appropriate stakeholders. In this context, PMI’s perspective on Business Analysis is more of a Project and Program based work rather than Operational or Enterprise related work. This does make sense as PMI is concerned mostly with the success of project and programs rather than in starting a new profession by itself.

Therefore, both certification will not be contradicting but rather can complement each other in some places while they have completely different audience in other cases.

Below is a set of comparative bullet points.

CBAP:

  • IIBA has been developing the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge over several years and are now in the 2nd edition of the BABOK with the 3rd due on April 2015.
  • CBAP training and certification will cover numerous details, tools and techniques for those aiming for a career in business/solution/enterprise analysis.
  • CBAP already has its name and is well respected among Business Analysis professionals.
  • CBAP fits in excellently for people working in Consultancy, IT, Telecom, Hard and Software Development.
  • For full time BA’s, CBAP provides a more comprehensive set of knowledge than it’s PMI’s counterpart.

PBA:

  • PMI has recently acquired 2 companies that have a wealth of knowledge about requirements management, project and product design, assessments  and the like.
  • PMI has a very big marketing department with massive outreach, global partners, training providers and a global network of chapters.
  • PBA is more focused on Business Analysis work within Project and Program Management, with a special focus on requirements management, scope management and communication.
  • Professionals certified by PMI (ACP, CAPM, PMP, PgMP, PfMP) will find it more natural and smooth to earn the PBA as it is aligned with PMI’s framework. For hybrid PM-BA work, it’s sufficient as the PM will not necessarily need all the info presented by IIBA.

I hope that helps and if you have any questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate to let me know.

3 Elements of Mind Mapping

August 15, 2012 3 comments

Image

Many have seen me use mind mapping in meetings, workshops, brainstorming sessions and even in project planning. Now what many don’t know is how and when to use mind maps. So I’m going to share with you some quick insights on its origin, usage and basic guidelines.

Origin

“Min-Map” as a term was made popular by Tony Buzan in Britain in the 1950s though the term itself was present before. Nevertheless, visual representation of information is not a novel idea, it dates back to the third century when Porphyry of Tyro, a philosopher, graphically represented Aristotle’s concepts. Back then they knew the value of graphical representation of ideas and it’s still valid till today…people retain graphical information more than textual.

Usage

If, like most people, you think that mind maps are a tool for brainstorming only…think again! It can be used in a multitude of ways..some of them are:

  • Note Taking
  • Project Planning
  • Cause-Effect Analyses
  • Root-Cause Analyses
  • Brainstorming
  • Evaluation
  • Creativity Enhancing
  • Concept Explanation
  • Listing of Related Items

Obviously the list is not exhaustive, but it gives you a good idea of where to start.

Guidelines

Now if you’re planning to do a mind map, here are few recommendations by Buzan himself (with personal amendments) to ensure you’re utilizing it well.

  • Start with a word or image at the center.
  • Use not only words but also images, diagrams, drawings or anything that helps in expressing.
  • Switch between Upper and lower cases when needed to stress on some main ideas.
  • Each word/item is to be put on a line by itself, they don’t like sharing the same line.
  • All items must be connected starting from central idea/word/image and growing outwards, no hanging fruits.
  • Draw thicker/longer lines for more “important” ideas.
  • Use different colors for branches, ideas..etc. to stress on differences.
  • Try out several small mind maps to find your style before you start using it for business or studying.

I hope the above helped a little bit and I wish you the best of luck in mapping your mind!

Systems Thinking: Understanding the Complexity of Our World

June 7, 2012 2 comments

Systems Thinking is based on the field of system dynamics, founded  by MIT professor Jay Forrester in 1956. The idea behind systems thinking is to be used when analyzing change, interventions and solutions to consider how the component being under study is interacting with other components in the system.

So for example, if we’re trying to introduce new roles in the organization or solve a social issue or introduce new projects and initiatives in the community or organization…we need to consider how those interact with other parts of the system. Many of the traditional methods take a sequential approach to analyzing issues, systems think
This leads us to actually ask, what is a system? Well in a nutshell, a system is a group related, interdependent, bound and related components that interact together. So the computer you’re using is a system, organization you work in is a system, the city you’re in is a system, the country you’re in is a system. In this context, systems can be a “component” of a bigger system. Thus our world is constantly interconnected and has multiple influences from the broader system on the smaller ones, and vice versa.ing on the other hand focuses on the big picture and how are it’s components interacting thus a more complex and iterative approach.

For example, the company’s “system” is made up of:

  • Policies & Procedures
  • Human Capital
  • Facilities & Equipment

So to introduce a change in one of those 3 elements, whether it’s team performance or overall cost reduction, there will be an impact on the other 2 elements and thus in many organizations instilling some change in one element will end up leading to un-expected changes in the other and thus the “original” problem would be resolved, but other problems would’ve popped up.

The key benefit of Systems Thinking is that it provides a better way for analysis and for solving most complex problems that are plaguing our world from governments to communities to business and so on.

Systems Thinking is being used in very wide spectrum of fields today and this proves that the people are becoming aware of it’s value. Some of the fields where it is being utilized are:

  • Engineering & Construction
  • Management & Consultancy
  • Environment
  • Health & Medical Services
  • Manufacturing & Industry
  • Business Analysis
  • Project Management
  • Policy Making & Governance
  • Community Development
  • Computing & Information Technology
  • Sustainable Development

In conclusion, with the increasing complexity of our world today it becoming a necessity to be able to see the “big picture” and understand the systems we are working with or else our proposed solutions and improvements will fail to reach the impact expected with long lasting sustainability.

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