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6 Mantras for Managing Self-Organizing Teams

In Part 1 of this blog post, I put a new spin on an old set of “commandments” that I learned early in my career. Drawn from a book given to me by a key mentor, those commandments encouraged me to challenge the very hierarchical environment in which I worked. Our organization structure looked like […]

The Reality of Organizing a Self-Organizing Team

As I was thinking about writing on the topic of self-organizing teams, I ran a Google search to see what popped up.  All the top-level results were references from agile sites like  That would lead one to believe that the concept of self-organizing teams is new, something that was somehow invented along with agile […]

3 Key Factors for Building an Elicitation Plan

I really love teaching. I guess that’s not surprising, given that I’m (at least) a fourth-generation teacher. Check this out: This is a clip from the 1920 Wyoming Census. The first entry on this page, Gertrude Shaw, is my great-grandmother. Widowed at 29 with three children to support, she taught in a one-room schoolhouse in […]

Structure Your Thinking: The Pre‑Interview Interview Hack

Who hasn’t interviewed or been interviewed at least once in your life? I would be surprised if there is anyone in the world over the age of two that hasn’t been a party to this technique! It’s actually so common that it may seem there is nothing new to discuss about an interview, but interviewing […]

Don’t Drop the Ball! Define Your Team’s Collaboration Model.

My husband and I have been together for more years than I like to admit. We are like two peas in a pod…except when it comes to work. Understanding what in the world his wife does all day is NOT something my husband cares to do. He remains blissfully ignorant to my on-the-job contributions, and […]

4 Techniques to Break Down Communication Roadblocks and Impact Change

I bet we share some of the same experiences with bad communication. I bet you’ve been in a meeting for a project that you have been working on closely and heard something for the very first time that others in the room have known for days, weeks, or maybe even months. How did you miss […]

7 Guidelines for Achieving Business Process Improvement Project Success

I like to focus on the positive. I’m the person who skips right over the headlines about attacks and shootings to get to the stories that make me feel good. I figured out a few years ago that if something was really important and world altering, somebody in my family would tell me about it […]

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle… and Apply the SCAMPER Technique

I recently had a thought process that I wanted to share… I promise it ends with something useful! I was initially reflecting on Earth Day, which is coming up soon, and thought about how the motto of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” can be applied to our work – our processes, tasks, and even people. My mind […]

A BA’s Guide to Validating Requirements

Here’s a question related to requirements validation that pops up regularly in the classes we teach: How do I know I’m not missing any requirements? My first response is: “You don’t!” I know that’s not what you want to hear, but you have to remember that nothing is perfect. Unfortunately, as business analysts we typically have at […]

It’s Critical to Make Time for Critical Thinking

Have you ever been a part of the “meeting after the meeting?” You know, the one where colleagues get together to debrief a meeting that’s recently taken place? The “meeting after the meeting” (MATM) typically includes two main agenda items: the debrief and the re-plan. First, attendees debrief to try to identify what actually took place or […]

Project Context is King: Stop, Organize, Think and Confirm

When you ask an analytical person a question, you will rarely get an answer. Instead, their response will likely be in the form of another question. Why is this? Answers depend on context. Context refers to the framework of a situation or event. Even a simple conversation requires context to be understood. Consider this dialogue: […]

Going Beyond the “Who” to Analyze Stakeholders

Maybe it’s just me, but I frequently find that the most challenging aspect of a project is the people. We refer to the people involved in a project as “stakeholders”. Just knowing who your stakeholders are isn’t enough. We need to analyze stakeholders and develop a thorough understanding of them in order to work effectively […]

Measuring Agility: It’s Not The Same

Metrics of the Past Have Taught Us A Lesson Many traditional KPIs can instigate and proliferate bad behaviors in software development. In the past, programmers have measured their progress by how many lines of code they’ve written, quality was measured by the number of bugs fixed, and user needs were considered met by checking off […]

Metrics for Business Agility

What should your metrics tell you about your organization? They should tell you: Did we succeed with what we did in the recent past? Are we succeeding now? Will we succeed in the future? Traditional metrics often measure outputs, not outcomes. In an ‘agile world’, we need to understand if what we are doing is […]

Keep Calm and Limit WIP

Twas the night of Thanksgiving,And all through the houseAll the dishes were readyThe food was set outAnd while we were eating,Just out of the blue,It hit: the newsletter!!Oh, what do we do?! Our oldest child does a lot of the artwork and graphics for B2T4U, our monthly newsletter. While cleaning up after Thanksgiving dinner, they […]

7 Habits of a Highly Effective BA

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away there were two Business Analysts that wondered how they could be more than average. They wondered what habits they needed to become highly effective and how they could help others become highly effective. They thought and they planned. They collaborated and communicated across their time […]

6 Steps to Creating – and Using – a Persona

The first step in developing a customer journey map is knowing your customer. Sounds basic, right? It’s easy to forget, though, that there is no such thing as a “generic customer” for most businesses. Before we can understand how a customer will interact with our product or service, we have to understand *them*. I recently […]

Take the Trip: Digital Customer Journey Mapping

As customer experiences become more and more digital, we have to change how we interact. For most organizations, the days of winning over a customer face-to-face with a hand shake and a smile are over. Digital customers are the new norm and are transacting with us all over the world, 24/7, independent of a sales […]

Requirements Analysis: Have No Fear!

I have to admit, I hate horror movies. I’m the person who covers her eyes and waits until the scary parts have passed before I can watch again. If you’re hosting a Halloween party featuring a “Friday the 13th”movie marathon, don’t bother to invite me. Not gonna happen. Nuh-uh, no way, no how. Being a […]

What’s the Difference Between Business Requirements and Functional Requirements?

What are business requirements? A common answer I get when asking for an example of a business requirement is a sentence like: “The system shall facilitate the automation of email to the customer.” Is that a business requirement? Well of course it must be. The business told me that specifically, and in those words! It […]

3 Key Elements of Your Requirements Elicitation Plan

I really love teaching. I guess that’s not surprising, given that I’m (at least) a fourth-generation teacher. This is a clip from the 1920 Wyoming Census. The first entry on this page, Gertrude Shaw, is my great-grandmother. Widowed at 29 with three children to support, she taught in a one-room schoolhouse in Wyoming. Pretty cool, […]

8 Takeaways from the Ultimate Virtual Facilitation Experiment

B2T first offered virtual classes in 2009. At the time, we were really pioneering the concept of “live virtual” classes. We initially developed our “live virtual” capability to provide a convenient way for students to attend our public classes without having to travel. As time passed, we continuously improved our delivery, striving to match the […]

Just Enough Doesn’t Mean None! The Agile Business Analyst Role

I have recently been teaching and consulting in organizations that have transitioned to an agile framework AND have decided, as part of that transition, that business analysts are no longer needed. In this blog post, I would like to note where I think this mentality came from and then argue against it. The agile approach […]

The Case of the Disappearing BA Role

We start most of our classes with introductions. Participants tell the rest of the class a little bit about themselves, their work, and what they hope to learn during their time with us. Most students include their job title as part of the introduction. Over time, we’ve noticed that fewer and fewer participants actually have […]

Beginner’s Guide to Using Kanban

It’s been a year of fresh starts for us here at B2T. We’ve had the opportunity to assess how we do things and figure out what’s working and what could be improved. This has allowed us to move ahead with some concrete goals and a clear direction. Well-run IT organizations also reflect on their results. They ask […]

Kanban with B2T Training at BBC

It was great to be back at the Building Business Capability conference last month in Las Vegas! It’s such a terrific opportunity to interact with the BA community. I always come away with fresh insights and a renewed sense of purpose after interacting with other speakers and attendees. This year one of our instructors, Scott […]

B2T Training is Back!

For those of you I haven’t met, please let me introduce myself. My name is Kathy Claycomb, and I’ve been with B2T since 2005 as an instructor, courseware developer, and lead expert. I’m very excited to share that my husband and I are the new owners of B2T Training. A little history: In 2018, after […]