BA motives – what’s your motivation?

BA motives

This is the first in my “Today I read …” series where I aim to summarise. or recapitulate, excellent, and educational, articles that I have read

Discover your motivation

Today I read a great article on the IIBA site: “Discover Your Motivation“, authored by Ahmad Khalifa.

The article asks the question “What motivates a BA?“.

It then states that the simple answer is that “the BA seeks to provide their organization with best value through change“. Which is correct.

However, it’s not that simple.

Influence Motivation

A BA is also an employee, as well as a person. And employees, and people, have different forces that influence them.

To  explain this diagrammatically, the author presented a three tier pyramid:

BA motives - Motivation Influence

Essentially, the motivation of the lower tiers influences the tier above it.

In trying to determine what motivates the BA, it is important to understand the drivers behind the Employee and Person layers.

While this is a difficult question, the article turns to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to try and shed some light on this, and also highlights that each layer presents different supporting, and opposing, forces that influence decisions, and actions taken. (An example given is that of an elicitation interview – the way it’s conducted can be influenced by a BA’s need for creativity or problem solving, and might also be influenced by the presence of risk for the organization or simply by job security.)

Image: "Discover Your Motivation" - Ahmad Khalifa

Image: “Discover Your Motivation” – Ahmad Khalifa

The article describes, further, the mental forces that apply to decision making (and the motivation behind it) – Bias, Prejudice, or Preconception. Biases can be based on successful experiences, or negative experiences, creating prejudices. Either way they can still distort the decision making process. Preconception occurs when a notion,or idea, is brought into the decision where that notion was not formed consciously such as an argument from a figure of authority where you regard it as fact straight away.

The author points out that the motivation of a BA can impact the solutions and the value that they deliver, and can occur at different levels of involvement:

  • Tasks – the smallest contribution that a BA can make
  • Facilitation of solutions
  • Stakeholder Interaction

Further to that, phases that a BA’s motives are activated intensely are: the Selection Process, the Start of Execution, where the BA begins an undertaking of organizational impact, and Start of Maintenance where the BA begins an undertaking that was previously executed and which has organizational impact.

The authors describes a way to identify and handle one’s motivations.The trick is to RELAX: Recognise, Eliminate, Learn, Acknowledge, eXercise.

Recognise – this is where the BA has to slow down, and try and be objective. Question why they are making certain decisions, and identify the influences behind it.

Eliminate – Having identified the influences, the BA should rethink some of the decisions while eliminating the cause of the influnce.

Learn – Ask colleagues for unbiased advice. Take on board how they would have handled something. Learn about new thinking processes.

Acknowledge – Don’t blame yourself for having made a decision. “Acknowledge that you made the best decision at the time and that even if you would make different decisions the next time, you still made a great decision in the past based on the knowledge you had.”
(I have quoted this directly from the article because I think that it is so perfect!)

Exercise – After learning what motivates your decision making, and ways of overcoming them, actively apply this in real-live situations.

The link to the full article is:

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Want to learn more?

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