Well, my first private and personal Hell Week is over. Under my belt. I’m not gonna say it wasn’t tough, because it certainly was. On the other hand it was extremely good for me. So I’ve decided to make it a quarterly event for me (once a quarter, every year).
Actually I had to spread my Hell Week over 12 days because, and maybe it is just this time of year, once or twice I would have to spend most of a day driving my wife to Columbia or Rock Hill or elsewhere because of her car accident. So I would either have to add days onto my scheduled week to make up for that or if I had to do something else for half a day just redid that same day the next day. So that was difficult, but doable.
here is my actual Hell Week Program after all necessary improvements and revisions.
No, I’m not afraid I’ll wash out or be unable to complete it but it will be difficult. Especially Tuesday and Friday. I’m not kidding myself that it won’t be hard.
But it’s a good start to incorporating all of my old training and educational and survival and CAP and others forms of training into a single program or set of programs geared to improve me at this stage and era of my life. And I’m already working on integrating all of these things into a single, unified Field System of Training. I’ll talk about that later, after Hell Week.
For now it is sufficient to say that I begin my new Hell Week tomorrow.
I’ll probably be incommunicado for a week therefore. I might make a quick post on progress, but I doubt…
Remember trying to listen to digital music legally before Steve Jobs invented the iPod and iTunes store? There were digital music players and online stores to buy tracks, but there were so many incompatible devices and different rules–this song can’t be burned to a CD, that song can’t be played on your computer–that it made…
Today, Americans, do your civic and public duty to Vote.
But far more importantly conduct yourself as an honorable and upright Free Man or Free Woman who needs no president, no congress, and no court upon your own best natures
For the Good and Free Man needs no real government to govern and tax him, no master to enslave and rule him, and certainly never a single corrupt criminal to deceive, domineer (domina), manipulate, and debase him.
Vote to be Free of All That, but no matter what happens make sure you become once again free of all that – even if that means you must Overthrow all of that.
Be not a coward, but a Free Man!Be an Actual American…
Politics in this nation should have never been about politics.
It should have always only been about higher human enterprises. Truth, Justice, Honor, Honesty, Liberty, Human Rights, Equality, etc.
But because politics became, and remains, a pursuit of base and grasping power it can only produce the very lowest of animalistic ambitions; greed, avarice, corruption, crimes, and eventually, tyranny.
Until you tame the vice-laden and real aims of politics government will forever remain degenerate and diseased and destructive to the entire nation. And as long as government remains a degenerate, diseased, and destructive enterprise it must be overthrown and replaced with far better.
The first article in this series described the concept of Business Architecture, and went on to introduce two powerful models used to build sound, robust architectural views, being the Capability Model, and the Value Stream. This second article seeks to solidify these models in the context of Business Analysis.
The International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) have identified a set of competencies they consider necessary for a practicing business analyst to be effective at their job. This article builds a capability view using these competencies as a foundation, and then considers the value streams that a business analyst uses to co-ordinate these competencies to perform their job.
Two distinct value streams emerge, one showing how a business analyst realises value on a project, and one showing how a business analyst realises value at an enterprise level.
What Do You Do?
As a business analyst, have you ever been asked to explain what you do for the organisation? The question may have come from a co-worker, but more likely you were asked by one of the more senior members of staff. The question can be quite a daunting one.
Since the field of IT business analysis is still relatively young, false impressions of what exactly a competent business analyst is, and more importantly what value they bring to their organisation generally, and their projects specifically, are rife. It is therefore important that the answer given to the question is clear and accurate.
Competency or Capability?
Before moving forward, we must first understand the difference between a capability and a competency.
Although often used interchangeably, “capability” and “competency” are quite different. Ulrich and Smallwood make the distinction that individuals build competencies, while organisations exhibit capabilities.
The intention article is to produce a strategic view of the business analyst, describing their competencies using a capability model and value stream maps. In doing so, the aim is to provide a concrete example showing how to construct these two models using concepts that are familiar to analysts.
For the remainder of this article we are going to treat the individual BA competencies as analogous to organisational capabilities, whilst understanding the key difference highlighted above.
The BABOK, and the IIBA’s Competency Model
Let’s get back to the question that we posed to start with: “What Do You Do?”. The Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK) is an excellent place to look to begin in formulating an answer.
The BABOK, and its supporting Competency Model, describes the knowledge, skills, abilities and other personal characteristics that an effective analyst perfects in time. Also laid out is a roadmap for an analyst to plan their career trajectory from junior to master analyst.
In addition to underlying competencies expected from a professional knowledge worker, the IIBA has identified 6 core knowledge areas that a business analyst must home in order to progress from beginner to competent to master in the practice of Business Analysis.
The competencies that we will use to build our model come from these 6 knowledge areas.
Strategic Modelling Step 1: The Business Analyst Competency Model
Let us start our example by considering the analyst to be an enterprise, and the competencies presented in the BABOK to be our Analyst-Enterprise’s capabilities. Our first step is to build a capability model that represents ‘what’ the Analyst-Enterprise is doing to create value.
This example is built using the Business Architecture Guild’s Level-1 Capability Model as a foundation for categorising each competency. For the sake of clarity, the Underlying Competencies are presented separately.
Since we are considering the ‘what’ and not the ‘how’, we must exclude all of the techniques that the BABOK list. Techniques are very much a ‘how’, and a senior analyst will use several techniques interchangeably, according to the needs of the project at hand.
The model is shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Business Analyst Competency Model
You will immediately notice two things in the model:
first, the competencies, named as capabilities, have been renamed, and;
second, ‘Transition Requirements Definition’ is highlighted in red.
The reason for the name-change is that capabilities are named using nouns. Remember that capabilities are an external, ‘black box’ view of a business function that encapsulates the people (stakeholders in our case), process (think of the techniques described in the BABOK), and platforms (in our case this includes such things as CASE tools or document repositories).
To assembling our capability model we are defining what is being done, not how. By using nouns we build in a cross-check that we are not including processes or value streams into the capability model.
During analysis, it is quite easy to get tangled in naming capabilities that you are identifying in the business. If you find yourself questioning whether you have identified a capability correctly, remember that you are working towards building a view of ‘what’, and not ‘how’. Take a step back and ask: “Does my capability encapsulate people, process and platform, or have I fallen into the ‘how-trap’ by describing process?”
The reason that ‘Transition Requirements Definition’ is highlighted in red is that capabilities are unique, and must occur only once on the capability model. Let’s analyse ‘Transition Requirements Definition’ by refering to the BABOK definition:
Purpose: To define requirements for capabilities needed to transition from an existing solution to a new solution.
So, this competency talks to requirements definition, but with the narrow focus of transitioning a solution into the organisation. Therefore, it is comprised several of existing requirements-centric capabilities already on our map; it is in essence a specialisation that combines existing competencies.
This composite capability must thus be eliminated from the capability model.
Benefits of the Capability Model
Now that we have produced the model, let us consider the benefits of having produced a capability model for our hypothetical Analyst-Enterprise.
The model provides us with a talking point. We can refer to it during discussions, and importantly it drives a common vocabulary into those discussions. Moreover, it is easy to discuss individual elements of the role, whilst not losing sight of the whole.
We can quickly see, on a single page, the competencies that make a business analyst. Using this view an analyst can quickly focus on weak areas, and they can take steps to address these weaknesses.
Further, the model can aid the planning that the analyst may do by allowing objective prioritisation of actions to address their areas of weakness.
The capability model is our blueprint. The model is a stable reference point throughout our career. We may need to change a great deal, through learning and experience, to cultivate mastery in the role, but the model remains the blueprint against which we will plan to develop ourselves further.
Strategic Modelling Step 2: The Business Analyst Value Streams
When considering how an analyst delivers value to an organisation, it emerges that there are two distinct levels that the analyst engages at.
The first emergent focus is bounded by a project, and the analyst works within the ambit of the project. Working at the project level, the analyst’s deliverables address the specific needs of their project.
The second focus is at an enterprise level, where the analyst is working with business leaders, and key decision makers. At this level the analyst is working to distill strategy into clear objectives. They work to understand the current state of the business, and to formulate the actions needed to achieve the desired future state. This analyst will often be responsible for the business plans that give rise to the projects mentioned above.
Junior and intermediate analysts will tend to have a project focus, while senior analyst will likely be found bringing their depth of experience to bear at the enterprise level.
Value Stream: Plan-to-Solution
Using the competencies identified by the IIBA, the value stream that expresses value delivery in the project context is presented below.
In the interests of simplicity, the ‘Transition Requirements Definition’ competency has not been decomposed into its discrete elements.
Since value streams are designed with improvement in mind, we can start to leverage our view of Plan-to-Solution for the purpose of improvement. Our goal may be to reduce cost by eliminating waste (maybe arising from poor upfront planning), or to produce the solution in time with customer expectation (by better managing scope and communication). Our goal is likely to vary from project to project.
Value Stream: Vision-to-Plan
Next up, let us examine how an enterprise analyst delivers value while conducting their duties.
Figure 3: Vision-to-Plan Value Stream
In this example we can see that the enterprise analyst is using many of the same value stream stages as the project analyst. This makes sense, as in both cases the analyst must plan, they must engage with identified stakeholders to elicit requirements, the must communicate and they validate outcomes. The main difference is the scope of the initiative, and the desired outcome.
Looking at both of the examples I am sure that you get a sense that the value stream presents a dynamic view of value delivery.
Key Principles of Value Streams to Remember
The value stream is customer-focused. Our customer in either instance above is the Project Sponsor, and ultimately the business itself. You may choose to represent the customer in a number of ways, whether in the map directly, or in your supporting documentation.
Keep in mind that the value stream is value centric. At each value stream stage we should be able to identify at least one customer for whom we have created value. If we are not delivering value then we are wasting time and money. It is sometimes helpful to include a purpose and value statement below each value stream.
The value streams are a business-centric view of value creation. They are aimed at strategic decision-makers, and are intended to be simple to understand and interpret. Avoid making overly complex value streams that are more process-centric than is necessary. Getting back to the initial question posed in this article: Think how quickly you could answer the question with a value stream. The high-level nature of the steam does not put off senior members of staff, and they are able to quickly understand the value delivery mechanism.
Value streams are holistic, end-to-end views of value creation. They are by nature cross-cutting, and inclusive of external parties. This allows decision-makers to formulate a common approach that can be rolled out across the organisation without needing to be tailored for individual divisions, departments or sites.
Moreover, the value streams aggregate the underlying processes from across organisational silos, and even organisational boundaries. This allows similar processes to be rationalised and consolidated. Decision-makers are empowered by the holistic view to recognise redundant or duplicate process, and to implement common solutions in these identified areas. The business as a whole becomes more streamlined and efficient.
We can decompose the value streams. This allows the value stream to be tailored to meet the specific needs of an individual product line, or business unit in the context of the value delivery highlighted by the value stream.
Lastly, we can quickly understand how the value creation process leverages business capabilities. Resources can be brought to bear, in an objective way, on capabilities that are underperforming. For instance, we may quickly realise that we are not planning our activities well enough as we are weak in the ‘Business Analysis Activities Planning’ competency. We could then plan to work at improving this competency in upcoming projects.
By using our capability model and value streams we can lay down a blueprint that lets us envision ourselves in terms of what we do, they facilitate planning of a successful approach to improving our skill, and then guiding our development of these skills.
Crucially, we are able to express complex ideas simply, and effectively. The models tend to drive out a common language, and by allowing discussions to revolve around the models we can avoid ambiguity. Armed with these models it should be easy for an analyst to clearly answer the question ‘What do you do?’.
Exactly the same principles apply when you view the enterprise through these two lenses. The opportunities for improvement become quickly obvious. Business Architecture is becoming ever more important in linking the business strategy to explicit, achievable results. As this field matures it is going to become ever more important pillar that supports the overall Enterprise Architecture.
The new pool of cheap labor: everyday people using their spare cycles to create content, solve problems, even do corporate R&D.
—By Jeff Howe
What is crowdsourcing? In 2005, this term was coined; and in 2006, the definition has been published by Jeff Howe for the first time. After that, in global, crowdsourcing has been explored and applied by enterprises when they want to solve some certain problem effectively. Until now, it is still in adoption phrase.
To understand crowdsourcing well, we have to mention community, which is more familiar to us. Nowadays, the relationship between customer and brand becomes more and more intimate; and communities is helpful to enhance it. No…
I recently gave a talk on education innovation to a diverse group of young adults. Transcript below.
Technology has shaped our lives and changed our worlds at breakneck speed. Imagine if we lived 50-odd years ago back in 1960. That was the year my mum was born. This was a world before the BBC had tv shows in colour, before ATM machines, PCs, even barcodes.
Now think about our life today. Raise your hand if you found out about this event through whatsapp or social media? Raise your hand if you used google maps to get here or listened Spotify during your commute. Raise your hand if tonight, you might use your Uber app to get home safely?
Smartphones. Social media. Apps. None of these things existed 25 years ago, let alone 50.
And yet, if I ask you to imagine a school, imagine a classroom in 2016. What image…
I know that we are only two days in but so far this entire week has already been or will be meetings, taking people places, talking to investors, research, reorganization, testing processes, and travel.
I know that technically all of these things are productive, but it doesn’t feel very productive to me. It feels like I’ve already blown the entire week due to the time suck.
I just want to work uninterrupted.
I sometimes wish there were ten of me that I could delegate mundane tasks like travel to these other selves while I just worked. Usually that’s all I really want to do… just the Real Work.
It’s evident that extensive research has gone into the making of this masterpiece. Thomas J. Stanley studied wealthy individuals for decades before he co-authored this book along with William D. Danko. There are quite a few ‘get rich’ books on the market. This one is undoubtedly special.
The good news is that anyone with a decent job can accumulate a fortune over time. The bad news is that high income does not automatically translate into great wealth. What do the wealthy folks in America have in common? Have they merely inherited a fortune? Not so, say the authors. One thing they all have in common is frugality. We all know of Warren Buffet, but hey, there are dozens of others! And the rich are not who we think they are.
The authors state that affluent persons tend to answer ‘yes’ to three questions they were asked in routine surveys:
Donald Trump’s campaign has launched a nightly show that will air via Facebook Live from the Republican candidate’s Facebook page at 6:30 p.m. everyday. Hosted by Boris Epshteyn, a senior advisor to the campaign, Cliff Sims, another Trump advisor, and Tomi Lahren, a commentator for The Blaze, the program broadcasts from Trump Tower and will…
Imagine catching a glimpse of what your future home will look like, even before it is even built. That’s what I experienced at the Highline Residences showroom recently, where visitors can visualize themselves being a resident in the upcoming development.
Highline Residences is a 99-year lease condo expected to be completed in 2018
Highline Residences is a 99-year lease condo expected to be completed in 2018
Equipped with a nifty headpiece and a clicker, I navigated myself around the virtual version of the project’s three and four-room bedroom units – all while remaining seated on a revolving chair. Apart from featuring the interior of selected suites within the development, I was also able to engage in an immersive 360 exploration of key landmarks around the vicinity through a really detailed introductory phase of the total VR experience.
It’s like being in Tiong Bahru while physically present in…
So, after all, there was not one kind of Strife alone, but all over the earth there are two. As for the one, a man would praise her when he came to understand her; but the other is blameworthy: and they are wholly different in nature. For one fosters evil war and battle, being cruel:  her no man loves; but perforce, through the will of the deathless gods, men pay harsh Strife her honor due. But the other is the elder daughter of dark Night, and the son of Cronos who sits above and dwells in the aether, set her in the roots of the earth: and she is far kinder to men.  She stirs up even the shiftless to toil; for a man grows eager to work when he considers his neighbor, a rich man who hastens to plough…
“The concept of a peaceful transition of power between one criminal, thug, or tyrant to another criminal, thug, or tyrant as the result of an election is not some admirable or wonderfully inherent trait of American Republicanism, it is but another aspect of a totally corrupt and degenerate formulation of American democracy.
Indeed the very idea that anyone should expect a peaceful, genteel, and meek transition of power from one criminal, thug, or tyrant to another criminal, thug, or tyrant is so anti-American, so asinine, so obsequious, and so submissively servile a concept that I have another term for it entirely – unmanly.
The idea of peacefully and meekly submitting to criminals, thugs, and tyrants is not admirable or wonderful at all. For to admit such a thing is to admit to yourself, and eventually to the entire world, that not only are you passively satisfied with being ruled by…
Seven years ago, my guest today published what has become an underground cult classic on masculinity. His name is Jack Donovan and that book was The Way of Men. I had him on the podcast a few years ago to discuss it — check it out if you haven’t listened to it. In The Way of Men,Donovan argued that for men to really live what he calls the “tactical virtues” of masculinity, they need to join an all-male honor group, or what he calls a gang or tribe. In his latest book, Becoming a Barbarian, Donovan lays out what creating these honor groups would look like.
On today’s show, Jack and I discuss why masculinity is often tragic, why today’s modern world makes it hard for men to…
When Leonard Cohen was twenty-five, he was living in London, sitting in cold rooms writing sad poems. He got by on a three-thousand-dollar grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. This was 1960, long before he played the festival at the Isle of Wight in front of six hundred thousand people. In those days, he was a Jamesian Jew, the provincial abroad, a refugee from the Montreal literary scene. Cohen, whose family was both prominent and cultivated, had an ironical view of himself. He was a bohemian with a cushion whose first purchases in London were an Olivetti typewriter and a blue raincoat at Burberry. Even before he had much of an audience, he had a distinct idea of the audience he wanted. In a letter to his publisher, he said that he was out to reach “inner-directed adolescents, lovers in all degrees of anguish, disappointed Platonists, pornography-peepers, hair-handed monks and Popists.”
Cohen was growing weary of London’s rising damp and its gray skies. An English dentist had just yanked one of his wisdom teeth. After weeks of cold and rain, he wandered into a bank and asked the teller about his deep suntan. The teller said that he had just returned from a trip to Greece. Cohen bought an airline ticket.
Not long afterward, he alighted in Athens, visited the Acropolis, made his way to the port of Piraeus, boarded a ferry, and disembarked at the island of Hydra. With the chill barely out of his bones, Cohen took in the horseshoe-shaped harbor and the people drinking cold glasses of retsina and eating grilled fish in the cafés by the water; he looked up at the pines and the cypress trees and the whitewashed houses that crept up the hillsides. There was something mythical and primitive about Hydra. Cars were forbidden. Mules humped water up the long stairways to the houses. There was only intermittent electricity. Cohen rented a place for fourteen dollars a month. Eventually, he bought a whitewashed house of his own, for fifteen hundred dollars, thanks to an inheritance from his grandmother.
Hydra promised the life Cohen had craved: spare rooms, the empty page, eros after dark. He collected a few paraffin lamps and some used furniture: a Russian wrought-iron bed, a writing table, chairs like “the chairs that van Gogh painted.” During the day, he worked on a sexy, phantasmagoric novel called “The Favorite Game” and the poems in a collection titled “Flowers for Hitler.” He alternated between extreme discipline and the varieties of abandon. There were days of fasting to concentrate the mind. There were drugs to expand it: pot, speed, acid. “I took trip after trip, sitting on my terrace in Greece, waiting to see God,” he said years later. “Generally, I ended up with a bad hangover.”
Here and there, Cohen caught glimpses of a beautiful Norwegian woman. Her name was Marianne Ihlen, and she had grown up in the countryside near Oslo. Her grandmother used to tell her, “You are going to meet a man who speaks with a tongue of gold.” She thought she already had: Axel Jensen, a novelist from home, who wrote in the tradition of Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs. She had married Jensen, and they had a son, little Axel. Jensen was not a constant husband, however, and, by the time their child was four months old, Jensen was, as Marianne put it, “over the hills again” with another woman.
Last weekend, my daughter and I went to Home Depot. As a means of making the errand slightly more interesting, I let her bring her LeapPad – basically a miniature iPad for learning. During the drive, she was playing her LeapPad, and I was listening to my music. Apparently the music was interfering with the LeapPad’s lovely sound effects, however, as she pointedly told me to cut the tunes.
Ha! I thought. Here’s a solution that will make life negotiable. I’ll put the music entirely in front and on the driver’s side, allowing me to enjoy my music Leap-free. And she, in the back seat on the passenger side, can enjoy her LeapPad music-free.
Then ha! I thought. What a perfect topic for a blog post, as technologies like these provide a wonderful way of achieving everyone’s goals concurrently. And technologies like these abound: Different temperatures for different sides of…
There’s a old Chinese saying that “If one cannot even manage his home, then he cannot manage his country”. The idea is that our ability to face the outside world comes from WITHIN us, how we handle our personal life speaks directly to how we will handle our business/career life. How can we focus on our work if in the back of our head we have all these personal issues bothering us? A lot of people think work and personal life should be completely separate, the truth is they are linked together, it’s impossible to have completely separate sets of emotions when you shift from personal to work life. That’s why it’s important to put our family first, to make sure we spend enough time and effort and take care of their physical and emotional needs. Only then, we can have a peace of mind and get ready to battle the…
In writing about any architecture for space exploration I have a set of fundamental philosophies that govern my thoughts on the matter.
The Economic Development of the Solar System
It is my considered opinion that the economic development of the solar system is the best path (along with the development of advanced nuclear energy sources on the Earth) toward maintaining and advancing our human civilization, whether on or off the Earth. The issues that those who believe in a Malthusian dystopia (population growth, resource depletion, energy) are all solved by this great leap into space. The graphic below was first put together by the Chairman of the Board of General Electric, Ralph Cordiner, in 1960.
The Economic Development of the Solar System
Cordiner gave a speech in 1960 that was transcribed into a book by Simon Ramo, along with several other writers on the subject of the then just…
Everything you do in life should be a simultaneous, active, and fearless advance of what is best and what is good, and an outright and unflinching revolt against evil and wrongdoing. Simultaneous, active, and fearless. Not unrelated, separate, passive, and safe.
With just the stroke of a pen or the click of a mouse, you can now transform your 2D sketches into 3D animations.
New computer software, known as Mosketch, allows anyone to try their hand at 3D animation without toiling away at numerous sketches.
A Singapore-based firm has developed a test that can detect seven major tropical diseases, including Zika and dengue, from just a drop of blood.
The fingernail-size microchip was developed about a year ago by Veredus Laboratories, a Singapore-based medical diagnostics company, according to its press statement yesterday. It can also detect malaria, chikungunya, West Nile, Yellow Fever and Japanese encephalitis.
Dr Rosemary Tan, chief executive officer and founder of Veredus, told The Straits Times that the test has been sold to hospitals, clinical laboratories and organisations in Indonesia and China. Local hospitals have also expressed interest.
Each kit costs about $100, and it takes about two to three hours to identify the pathogen.
“Zika is now becoming very famous in Singapore due to the outbreak, but we developed this chip more than a year ago which can detect different species of malaria, serotypes of dengue, chikungunya and…
SAN FRANCISCO – Like clockwork, September signals an iPhone update.
So, last week, when Apple sent out an invitation to journalists, the headline to the message read simply: “See you on the 7th”.
With no details, not even a hint for eager techies to sink their teeth into, it was inevitable that the multi-coloured spheres that decorated the invitation would be mulled over, dissected and over-analysed.
So, they deduced – from the resemblance of the spheres to bokeh, or out-of-focus areas in a photo, and the event date, Sept 7 – that all this portends an iPhone 7 with a dual-lens camera.
What is known is that the event will be held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, which can seat 7,000. The huge venue signifies that there will also be other products announced at the same time.