Normally, trends and projections come out in December or January. These are a little late, but at least they still make the first quarter in 2014. Here are my predictions of key trends that we will see affect business analysis and project management in 2014.
1. Agile Continues to Grow – Agile adoption will continue to grow. This will mean many changes in terms of how requirements are developed and managed. Requirement “shall” statements will be replaced with user stories. The three C’s model of users stories: Card, Confirmation, and Conversations will continue to grow. PMs and BAs will continue to redefine their roles in the agile world of self-managing teams and product backlogs.
2. Managing Data not Documents – As agile adoption continues, the need for large paper based requirement documents will go away. Requirements will be managed as data in a backlog, not as long paper-based business requirement documents (BRDs) or Functional Requirement Specifications (FRS).
3. Dual-Track Agile Takes Off – Agile will be difficult and a cultural challenge for many organizations where there are multiple teams and resources are not collocated. “User story hell” will become a reality for many organizations as teams continue to spend more and more time grooming the backlog. Many organizations will adopt dual-track agile or some variant to better manage discovery activities. This will enable lower costs as requirements will be validated using less expensive methods than code.
4. More Emphasis on Business Change – The BABOK Version 3 will be released sometime in 2014. There are big changes coming to the role of business analysis. The focus will be much more on understanding stakeholders and their needs, analyzing business change, and delivering value. The role of business analysis in enabling business change will become more important than defining user stories, which is primarily done by agile product owners and teams.
5. Managing Value not Tasks – According to the Gartner Group, program and portfolio management (PPM) is a growing area of need for many organizations; however, the results it delivers often don’t live up to expectations. According to Gartner, Since 2008, there has been a high rate of Project Management Office (PMO) startup activity with an implementation failure rate of more than 50%. Organizations must consider moving beyond traditional IT portfolio management to align with mission critical business objectives. The focus of PPM must shift to be able to adapt to changing strategies to create maximum business value for minimum cost, quickly. Gartner is bold to say: “PPM leaders must prepare for extreme transformation or prepare resumés. Enterprise Portfolio Management Offices (EPMOs) are beginning to emerge. The key driver is the need to merge technology and business projects under the same organization.
6. Measuring Business Outcomes – CEOs are placing more demands on CIOs to show more value from dollars invested in IT. PMOs will be asked to demonstrate how projects have improved business outcomes and achieved expected ROI. Defining Business KPIs will become a standard skill for business analysts and will become a standard part of defining business requirements. Business analysts will work with other BAs skilled in BI and analytics to report results using the KPIs defined in the project.
7. Business Analysis and Design Merge – Business analysis and design will merge and become one. This change is being reflected in name changes to BABOK knowledge areas from Version 2 to Version 3.
8. More Emphasis on User Adoption – User adoption is essential to delivering value on projects. If users do not adopt the solution, then the solution delivers no value. BAs will need to develop user centered design (UCD) and organizational change management skills to be more effective in this area. This area will become a key part of agile discovery practices.
9. PMs Place More Emphasis on Solution Scope and Requirements – Project managers have begun to realize that requirements and managing solution scope are two of the major reasons for failed and challenged projects. The Project Management Institute (PMI) has definitely shown more interest in this area by creating a Requirements Community of Practice, which encourages project managers to become involved in requirement activities. It will not be surprising if Requirements Management becomes the 11th knowledge area in the PMBOK or if PMI offers a Requirements Management Certification, directly competing with the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) and its Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) certification.
10. BAs Help in Choosing Cloud Solutions – More and more infrastructure and applications will be migrated to the Cloud. Business analysis will play a major role in helping the business define requirements and chose the best option for moving in this direction. Security concerns will be minimized as commercial Cloud vendors have far outpaced corporations in the security area.