Happy New Year!

Oh wait…it's only June 30th. Wow. I sure feel like I've tried to cram twelve months of work into six months of time (with varying levels of success). And sitting here at 2010's halftime show, I wonder what the second half will bring.

But before we spend too much time plotting our second-half strategies, let's look back at the first half's highlights.

  • The business analyst's role and skills top my highlight list. In our May meeting of the Forrester Leadership Boards' Application Development & Delivery Council, a wise app dev leader pointed out that in the past, it wasn't "sexy" to be a business analyst. Well, I'm here to tell you that times have changed. According to a recent IT staffing survey by CIO analyst Marc Cecere, the business analyst role has increased in importance more than any other IT role in the past two years. That corroborates something that I see during many client interactions. Good software has to start with solid requirements. And today's strong business analyst (BA) is a leader, a negotiator, and a consultant – not just an order-taker. As a former business analyst who has always recognized the criticality of strong software requirements, this isn't shocking. And I've spent a lot of time with clients helping them figure out how to modernize their business analysis skills, practices, and tools to be more effective. BAs – you are now officially "hot" (and that is so cool!). 
  • The requirements tool market has exploded. I (finally) finalized a market overview of requirements tools, and yes – it took "way longer" than it should have, but for good reason. This is one dynamic tool market. During the research process, which I conducted with fellow analyst Tom Grant, we found new and interesting requirements tools every time we turned around. And that trend continues. After final publication (in which I instructed readers not to blink), I had an IT professional from a very large firm tell me about how they are using mind-mapping tools as part of their requirements practices. Brilliant. And now I must add another group of tools to the growing list that BAs use to define and manage requirements. All of this is good news for business analysts who can use all the tools, techniques, templates, and samples we can give them to stock their requirements tool kits. Again: BAs, you are hot!
  • Evolution has hit project management. Project managers: The time has come to change. We're seeing a fundamental paradigm shift in the way that organizations approach project management. It's not just about Agile; it's about organizations realizing that projects, technologies, and teams vary – so following one methodology doesn't always work. For project managers, this means an increased focus on flexibility, adaptability, and team-orientation over command and control. I'll be speaking on the "next-generation project manager" role at the ProjectWorld and World Congress For Business Analysts conference in Orlando in November. Come join me!
  • Metrics! Metrics! Metrics! The "hot" thing in metrics is about transitioning from tactical, operational measures to those that are more strategic and based on business value. This is a top topic for our FLB App Dev & Delivery Council and likely a hot topic for many other firms. It's also a research topic that I'll be addressing in more detail in the coming months, but I'd love to hear how you are designing and reporting measures that truly show value and the elimination of waste.


What's on your app dev agenda for the second half? And how can I help? What is most important to you and your teams?