The primary mission for most IIBA chapters is serving the local members. We serve our members with chapter meetings, training on tools and techniques, and networking events. Many chapters offer help preparing for CBAP certification, online discussion forums (Nice example here [IIBA Dallas]), information about local BA jobs, and more.
But what are we offering Business Analysis Managers? In the first post of this series, I talked about how BA Managers are underserved and need a network of peers. It’s not surprising; the BA discipline is rather new and only becoming organized in the last decade. Historically, the folks who supervise BAs have a background in development, project management, or were part of the business operations. When your profession is new, you can reasonably expect the management around the profession to be similarly inexperienced with subtleties of the work.
I mentioned the networking luncheon for them, but this is the first event for BA Managers I’ve ever heard of. We have not even held the event yet and already people have asked if this is being held or repeated in other cities. So far, the answer is no, but I certainly hope others will pick up this torch and carry it on. The need is too great to limit this to just one city.
Also, Managing Business Analysts was just published by the IIBA, another good step to give some support to this audience. Lastly, many chapters also offer an annual moderated panel discussion where BA Managers and IT executives answer questions from BAs, but this is pretty directly related to BA needs, not their leaders.
In the second post, I listed many reasons why BA Managers should care about local IIBA Chapters. The list isn’t complete and focused on BA Manager goals, but this isn’t bad. It’s just recognition we all act, on most levels [link to Maslow’s Hierarchy here], in a self-serving manner. Let’s acknowledge this point and move on.
In this final post, it is time to talk about why local IIBA chapters should be working overtime to get BA Managers involved. It’s in their best interest!
Relationships Increase Attendance
One of the biggest reasons people stay, or leave, their job is due to relationships with coworkers [http://www.apa.org/monitor/apr07/social.aspx]. Relationships are key to a happy working environment. The same is true for organizations. Relationships are key to a happy and growing a IIBA Chapter.
You should accept as a given co-workers and bosses will influence how many and how often BAs will attend your meetings. If you own a restaurant and upset your customers, they won’t come back. When you build a good relationship with customers, they are more likely to return. Building a positive relationship with supervisors forms the basis for a strong relationship with their staff.
Building Your Membership
Let’s talk about the most obvious and overarching reason you, the local IIBA chapter, should focus on satisfying BA Managers; their employees are Business Analysts! Talk with BA Managers in your area and let them know how you are working to improve the discipline of business analysis.
Good managers should understand you are helping them when you help the profession. Employers want to work with you when are helping their staff. Employers are often willing share the areas you can help their staff grow in preparation for upcoming challenges. Maybe the managers know about upcoming projects, projects needing more facilitation skills, or presentation ability, or how to document for that new Scrum style they are about to adopt. Building the skills of individual BAs helps not only the individual, but their employer.
When you are partnering to improve the skills of BAs, you are helping local employers. What company or manager turns down a partnership that improves their staff?! When bosses and employers understand your goals include building relevant skills; BA Managers will encourage their staff to attend your meetings.
Finding Good/Great Members
In general, there are two kinds of folks who will attend IIBA meetings because their managers attend or suggest the staff attend. The first kind is a “suck up.” (I was going to type something a bit meaner, but you get the drift.) These people will attend and, at best, fake involvement to win some brownie points. So what? Give them a reason to get involved and maybe you can win them over! If not, it doesn’t hurt you to have them attend your functions, does it?
The second type is the Business Analyst who wants to get better. These are the mother load! This is the stuff you really want to find. BAs who care about their job? Coming to your chapter meetings and functions? Learning more about their professions? PLEASE, SEND ME MORE!
The truth still is, many BAs are unaware of IIBA and how the chapters can help them grow professionally. Building relationships with BA Managers in your community will give you a pipeline to BAs who want and need what chapters have to offer! You may never find these folks without an insider in their organization. Why wait for an IIBA member to be hired into Acme Rocket Co? Just go talk to the relevant manager and show them what you can do for their employees. Let them do the recruiting for you.
A special thanks to Neil Bazley, IIBA Vice President of Chapters (@neilbazley) for his early review and advice on this series.
[editorial update] After posting this article, I realized I missed a key reason why IIBA Chapters want local Business Analysis Managers to attend. If you are the first person to list the reason I thought of in the comments below, I will send you a copy of Managing Business Analysts. Contest ends Feb 16. Good luck!