Last week, I talked a bit about business analysis and that that can be applied to the laboratory. On that note, I wanted to mention that I attended an IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis) meeting a couple weeks ago.

IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysts) is a professional organization and is similar to PMI (Project Management Institute) ( Both are international organizations that have local chapters. The local chapters have meetings on related topics to promote learning and professionalism in their topic. For anyone interested in these topics, finding out if there’s a chapter local to you and attending one of their meetings would be a useful idea.

The particular meeting I attended wasn’t the first IIBA meeting I’d attended, just the first one since I’d moved to the Cleveland area. Just as with their local Boston group, the local Cleveland group was a well-attended meeting. Last month’s presentation was entitled “Getting Back to Basics.” It went through the nuts-and-bolts of doing business analysis, all the way from how to identify a stakeholder, to prioritization, to the issue of creating the appropriate format for documentation for the various types of stakeholders.

The premise of this was similar to what I’ve said about other topics, especially project management and other project issues: we keep getting new methodologies and tools to do our work. Whenever something new comes out, there’s often a bit of excitement regarding it, with whomever is “selling” it trying to make it appear to solve all our problems. Yet, there is no tool or methodology that will do that; hence, we continue to have high failure rates in our laboratory informatics project activities. And, in this case, high failure rates in the way we analysis the business of the laboratory.

Here’s the bad news that no-one wants to hear: nothing replaces hard work nor a solid understanding of managing projects and getting the basic blocks finished. The same is true of any other activity, including but not limited to business analysis. We can continue to find new ways to approach it all, but nothing can replace experience nor hard work.

The other point I want to make is that this meeting had excellent content, was free (many of their events appear to be sponsored so they are free or quite inexpensive, I’ve found) and was convenient (since it was local, I did not have to fly anywhere). Since it was well-attended, the questions and discussion was excellent, too, and I had some great conversations with the people I met during the pre-meeting networking. This is just one example of the kinds of resources available to all of us, regardless our budget.

Gloria Metrick
GeoMetrick Enterprises