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A consultant for BA normally is a collaborator, expert, or an additional pair-of-hands when facing clients. The book by Process Impact’s Principal Consultant Karl Wiegers is about these three modes of interactions. Let us explore these to learn more.

1. The independent model:

The Expert:

The expert works with clients who have pain-areas and approach you to fix them through training personnel, process validation/assessment, or alter and review some process/ project documentation or deliverables. The expert can only help with the tools like the assessment of ineffective processes and practices, possible solutions to the root causes, the current position report or a roadmap to effectively reducing the causes of pain. Managers, practitioners, employees and the management need to work on culture changes and sustained improvement techniques to ease their own pain.

The collaborator of ideas:

The consultant is an expert collaborator of ideas supplying solutions and ideas that make processes and performance in them more efficient and productive. According to Karl Weiger’s personal experience out of ten generated ideas, two are bound to be ridiculous, another two not suitable to the culture and process, three could be obvious and tried already and only two or one novel, innovative and brilliant in the fit. Being client and technology appropriate is vital.

The Agile Coach:

The BA may also coach and become the expert consultant using his advice to study the current practices and help discover better ways of doing the tasks. On a bigger scale, they could be of use to maintain, monitor practice standards, and establish them from a

Centre of Excellence for business analysis. The BAs role could involve preparing training materials, developing methodologies, creating process and guidance documents, templates for project deliverables, and such.

Difficulties faced:

The NAH and NIH issues are general syndromes that creating resistance in organizations. By NIH-not invented here most expert-offered solutions get rejected because the people using it do not trust it. By NAH-not applicable here complaints clients disapprove solutions citing they wouldn’t work in their environment since they were different. The BA expert consultant and coach cannot implement their solutions and rarely get any feedback regarding the outcomes. This means change management is crucial to organizations who hire such experts to provide solutions which cannot work in isolation.

2. A many-handed mode:

Often the extra pair-of-hands mode has many benefits where the domain of the consultant is exploited since the company may lack time and staff resources though they can perform the task themselves. The client is allowed to independently assess deliverables with the consultant working on his own.

Ex: Hiring experienced BAs on a fixed-term contract basis for specific developments in a software project.

The consultant here performs the regular BA tasks like eliciting requirements, identifying users, writing specifications, and so on until the on-site project work is completed. Often deliverables are iterated and worked till the final product is acceptable. At times you may do the novel and innovative task. In such cases, a vision statement is absolutely mandated covering the following assessment parameters since the outcomes are fuzzy.

For whom? (targeted client)

For Who? (statement of opportunity and specific needs)

Is a? (Deliverable type)

That? (Key takeaways)

Unlike? (current process)

This deliverable? (The new deliverable differentiators) 

3. The side-by-side collaborator:

Collaboration is the key parameter in this mode where the consultant needs to work for side-by-side the client organization’s staff in creating deliverables, identifying solutions, making decisions and setting priorities. It could be an extended off-site engagement that is collaborative or in the independent pair-of-hands-mode of operation. It includes reviews of the governance process architecturally, making environment peer reviews, working on reviews and product objectives, developing e-learning presentations, drawing up review processes and training of staff, recording e-learning training courseware scripts and such.

Concluding notes:

It is always best to use the three consulting modes depending on the engagement type and the specific project needs. There will be times when as an expert you may not agree with the mode selected and that’s where one will have to keep the client’s best interests in mind no matter your role. Often you will function as all three-The consultant, the expert and the collaborator of ideas.

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