The COVID-19 pandemic most definitely changed our lives and reshaped how we do business these days. Even now, we must cope with everything around us changing even more rapidly than before. What we look for in business now is either how to streamline our daily work and achieve key goals faster, or how to continue striving to maintain the “as is” state. The choice is up to us. Thankfully, we can leverage Pega Express Values and best practices to ensure the desired results.
Although all Pega Express Values are equally powerful, based on my professional experience working on projects over the course of the pandemic, the importance of effective collaboration has never been greater. Many of us work from home offices, see teammates only occasionally, and our professional life overlaps our personal life. We might be tired or even burned out. So, let’s think about how Business Architects could support the team in these difficult times.
Bring people together toward solutions
BAs should be one of the key players when it comes to bringing people together, either getting to the bottom of clients’ needs or brainstorming and crystalizing project solutions with the development team and Product Owner. Think of BAs as bridges between interested parties, helping people work together to achieve business partnerships and deliver great results.
One of the key situations in which a BA’s expertise and skills are needed is DCO (Directly Capture Objectives) sessions, where BAs work hand in hand with a business and developers to establish ground rules and best practices for collaboration. This step cannot be skipped, and you cannot underestimate the power of planning. We often tend to think “Somehow, we will make it work,” or “What could possibly go wrong?”. But only by using DCO can we visualize the next steps to be performed, as well as the entire process from beginning to end.
Collaborate, iterate, and validate using DCO
By following this continuous cycle of collaboration, iteration, and validation the BA can keep the team disciplined, focused on the goal, well-informed, and able to plan ahead and anticipate risks. In the meetings that we call “show and tells,” BAs use the visualization part of DCO sessions to clearly describe the proposed solution to the stakeholders from beginning to end; they provide context and real-life examples to highlight the added value compared to the “as-is” state of the process. DCO sessions should happen as frequently as required, and as early in the project planning as possible, to ensure common understanding and to set up the structure and design of the Microjourneys that shape the Minimum Lovable Product. And while this might seem like just scheduling and hosting meetings, it’s actually much more than that.
Explain the value of change
Another aspect of a BA’s involvement in the project might be ensuring that all stakeholders understand the need for change and the value of those changes. Many companies hang on tightly to their current processes and even want to develop their new solution as close to the old ones as possible. Many such companies think that the best outcome would be to never have to change their solutions. It’s human nature to fear change. People fear that the new process might not be good enough, lack functionality, or be difficult to understand. The BA’s role is to ensure that their fears are overcome by communicating the changes, allowing and being open to feedback, and also by reserving the time for all teams to learn how to perform their tasks in a new way. This is exactly why we have MLPs – so that we can plan to build the smallest possible functional piece, and then enrich it with more and more functionality as time passes. Working according to Pega Express Values and best practices means that we keep the human-centered approach and ensure the successful adoption of the new process on the client’s side.
One important point about the power of collaboration in every team and the areas where BAs should be proactive is communication and planning; or to put it more in the Pega Express way, governance and planning. Of course, at every company level, there are people who are designated to these tasks, but BAs most certainly can and should ensure that the developers and stakeholders involved in the new solution understand the reasons for the change and the value that the change will bring, as well as any potential dependencies or risks. Even on a smaller scale, they should inform the interested parties about the progress of the project, or changes in its scope for example. Only by being well informed, can we feel more confident about a change, and plan our next steps accurately. Without proper planning, there will be little to communicate, which is why all elements of a project play an important role. For example, scrum ceremonies.
As BAs, if we choose to be proactive in our role, and support the team, the business, and the PO, we can help everyone succeed at all stages of project development. Because only by working together and playing to our strengths can we achieve great business results in no time.