#BAMustReads number three, is specifically aimed at those in business analyst leadership positions, or those who are aspiring to be in them. You’re likely to be a Lead BA, Business Analysis Manager or Head of Business Manager. They are centred around developing effective communities of practice, as well as leading teams to deliver a high performing business analysis service.

#1 Building Successful Communities of Practice – Emily Webber

If you’re relatively to new communities of practice, I cannot think of a better place to start. Can be easily read within 2–3 hours, as well as being a helpful reference book to come back to time and time again.

“Communities of practice have many valuable benefits. They include accelerating professional development; breaking down organisational silos; enabling knowledge sharing and management; building better practice; helping to hire and retain staff; and making people happier”.

The author, Emily Webber, is well known across the UK Government digital teams and the models she details are well used, and to good effect. Rule number one, is ensuring you have a clear purpose for your community of practice! Emily also co-runs a meet-up called Agile on the Bench agileonthebench.com and blogs at emilywebber.co.uk

#2 Delivering Business Analysis: The BA Service handbook – Debra Paul and Christina Lovelock

I’m sure the two authors of this brilliant publication, require no introduction to most business analysts. Debra and Christina are well respected figures across the profession, regularly speaking at events all over the UK and further afield.

“Business analysis (BA) is an important business operation, and with some coordinated effort, it can become an efficient and valuable business service. This book takes you through the creation and management of a BA service, from setting strategy to recruiting business analysts, to continuous improvement, through to useful supporting tools and technology. Top tips, case studies and worked examples are included throughout”.

Also, delighted personally to have a played a (very) small part in being able to contribute to this brilliant book through one of the case studies, and as a reviewer.

Whether you’re an experienced leader in business analysis, or having recently stepped up into such a role, this is an absolute must!

Oh, and if you’re interested in developing your own BA Service — you may wish to check out a recent podcast I had the joy of recently joining as a guest, with Debra Paul and Mike Williams from Assist KD.

#3 Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity — Etienne Wenger-Trayner (formerly Wenger)

I couldn’t produce a list of recommended reads on communities of practice, without the book which introduced the concept to many. Etienne is a globally recognized thought leader in the field of social learning theory, communities of practice, and their application to organizations

My suggestion, would be start with Emily Webber’s publication, and if you want to then understand more of the theory that sits behind communities of practice, order this.

“This book presents a theory of learning that starts with the assumption that engagement in social practice is the fundamental process by which we get to know what we know and by which we become who we are. The primary unit of analysis of this process is neither the individual nor social institutions, but the informal ‘communities of practice’ that people form as they pursue shared enterprises over time. To give a social account of learning, the theory explores in a systematic way the intersection of issues of community, social practice, meaning, and identity. The result is a broad framework for thinking about learning as a process of social participation. This ambitious but thoroughly accessible framework has relevance for the practitioner as well as the theoretician, presented with all the breadth, depth, and rigor necessary to address such a complex and yet profoundly human topic”.

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