Development Days run by IIBA® chapters provide their attendees the opportunity to get concentrated professional development and learning opportunities equivalent to five or more regular monthly meetings of the chapter. Many of the programs are directed at the individual business analysis practitioner as well as Managers of Business Analysts and Business Analysts Teams. Programs are typically divided into tracks of programs that give a generalized subject matter of the sessions on the track. This assists the attendee in planning which sessions to attend; thereby creating their own individual learning program for the day.
These one or two day conferences allow the individual to attend this concentrated professional development program that can enhance your business analysis skills and help you do your job better. Attending professional development programs shows your employer, or perspective employers, of your desire to increase your skills and drive your career toward business analysis. This keeps you relevant and competitive in the marketplace and on the job.
For organizations, it provides a cost effective training opportunity to which they can send their business analysis professionals. Not only cost effective, but time effective also. Most chapters provide a one-day conference that provides excellent training on a variety of business analysis topics. This provides organizations a great opportunity to give their business analysis team(s) great training and the organization great bang for their buck.
Attendees get the opportunity to meet and share ideas with other business analysis professionals in the local community. This gives participants great contact with more experienced members of the community as well as experienced members of the broader business analyst community that speak at the conference.
Many of these professional development days offer a “Lunch with a Speaker” that gives attendees an opportunity to have lunch with a particular speaker with which they have a common interest. This gives them an opportunity to connect in a smaller group setting to have conversation with an expert in the field of that common interest and gives even greater learning opportunity for the participants.
If the next conference you attend doesn’t offer a “Lunch with a Speaker”, don’t let that stop you from organizing your own lunch learning experience. Approach a speaker and strike up a conversation, preferably prior to lunch. Even ask to have lunch with the speaker. Most people who speak at these professional development days enjoy talking one-on-one with attendees, and consider it a successful conference if they make new connections. So be one of those connections, and it will be a success for you as well.
Much of the exposure and value of attending a professional development has been mentioned above: exposure to a concentrated learning program, exposure to networking opportunity with seasoned professionals of the local business analysis community, and exposure to experienced speakers at the event. If a Vendor Exposition is associated with the conference, it gives attendees exposure to vendors of tools and services to business analysts.
For those vendors, it gives them exposure to business analysis professionals of the local business community. As professional development days tend to attract more attention than monthly meetings, this gives vendors greater exposure to the local business analysis community than they otherwise have available to them.
For the local IIBA® chapter, as I just mentioned a professional development day tends to attract more attention than monthly meetings. This gives the chapter greater opportunity to influence the local business analysis community and raise awareness of the value of their programs and services to the community.
Event Planning Experience
For those that are interested in working with a team to plan the many things necessary to put on one of these professional development days it gives great opportunity to learn and grow in many different directions. It gives you opportunity to use business analysis, teamwork and planning skills outside your normal job duties and organization.
For the chapters that provide these development days, it becomes an essential part of their program offering to the local business community. Wisconsin; Minneapolis-St.Paul; Calgary (Alberta, Canada); Central Iowa, Central Indiana and Cincinnati, Ohio are among the chapters that have developed well received professional development days within their local business analysis communities. I am sure there are other chapters out there that offer professional development days besides those that I mention here. Connect with your local IIBA® chapter and find out what professional development experience they offer. Volunteer for a leadership role within the chapter and help them mature their professional development program offering. That will help the local business analysis community and give you an excellent learning experience.