Forming a Business Analyst Community at AO — Part I

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We’ve been on a journey for the past few years as a business and as a Business Analysis function. As a BA function we’ve grown from a team of 2 to 14 across retail and logistics over the past 5 years. This has been a massive change and we have been able to support the different business areas more effectively at a greater breadth. Our Business Analysts are domain aligned and have influenced a large amount of change in the business.

Darren spoke alongside Marc Huntington at the 10th Annual Business Analysis Conference Europe this past September in London on the subject,How to Form a BA Community“.
View the BA 2019 conference website here.

Are we a team — yes or no?

A big part of our journey as a team was establishing if we were in fact that! In November 2016 we felt like a group of people who did the same role but weren’t really a team. This is mainly due to us being in separate sites and a bigger focus on the wider projects team.


In February 2017 we held our first BA retrospective. The purpose was simple, let’s try it and if it works great, if it doesn’t then we’ll no doubt learn something and have the knowledge that we tried something. The first one was a success, it enabled us to talk open and honestly about; what was going well, not so well and what we could do resolve the issues we had. A key finding was, regardless of if you’re based in Crewe, Manchester, Telford or Horwich our BAs were experiencing the same issues. If we didn’t have this forum then those pains wouldn’t be aired and we’d be trying to fix them in silo. Our biggest take away was — let’s do this again!

Continuous Improvement

As part of our retro actions, we created a simple Trello board (I love Trello as it keeps everything simple!) to store the actions and assign them to people in the team with due dates J This board has quickly evolved into a resource board where we put; interesting reads, events, training and tools.

The Evolution

The sessions soon evolved in terms of structure and content, up till now we’ve had 9 BA Retros. It’s important that everyone feels part of the team and able to participate. We rotate the facilitators around the team so that we don’t rely on certain team members. Each facilitator keeps to the rough format of;

– Warm up game (the interview game has been my favourite)
– Review past actions
– Retro
– Team lunch
– Team activity

We also go to our Manchester office as the chance to get distracted is much less

Next steps

We have to get better at maximising the time and are looking at ways to improve in this area. We now have a backlog (typical!) of activities/content etc for future sessions which keeps our sessions fresh. Our last community day is towards the end of year where we’ll wrap up the year and set some goals for next year

Darren Moorghen is a Lead Business Analyst working with a team of Business Analysts focusing on retail projects and initiatives for AO. He has spent the past 4 years at AO covering projects ranging from eCommerce, back-end systems and logistics. He was previously at the BBC as a Business Analyst and was part of the team who developed and launched BBC iWonder.

Copyright Darren Moorghen, Lead Business Analyst,

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