Challenging the BA Status Quo – 2017 BA Conference


That Time of Year 

It’s September – so it must be time for the annual BA Conference. The theme of the 2017 event was Challenging the BA Status Quo. There were delegates (501) from all over the world (something like 28 countries!) and a new venue. Westminster Central Hall is a beautiful methodist church right next to the Houses of Parliament. It provided an inspiring backdrop for the 3 days of events. I was definitely excited to see what this year’s conference would deliver.

Pre Conference Workshops

This year, I was lucky enough to have a 1/2 day conference session accepted onto the programme – and I have to say I had a ball! I had adapted a problem solving process from Google Ventures. We navigated our way through the process to explore the thorny issue of Requirements Approval. Despite coming from a wide range of industry domains (on line fashion, banking, utilities, quality services amongst others), so many of the challenges were common. It’s either comforting or worrying and I’m not quite sure which! We worked hard, had some laughs along the way and the groups came up with some fantastic storyboards that we are (as I type) turning into an eBook. It looks like it’ll be a graphic novel. I hope delegates will be able to use the finished product and put their ideas into practice.

The afternoon workshop I attended, was a game of top trumps and a discussion about fun at work. Do you like table tennis or a Friday BBQ? Dress down or Bake Off in the office? The games gave us an opportunity to visit some much loved, and brand new techniques and a chance to draw on our creative sides when it came to designing our graphics. (I was particularly impressed with the PESTLE & Mortar produced by one of my colleagues.)

These workshops are a fantastic way of sharing experience as well as having fun whilst learning at the same time.


The first day started with a blast from the past – Maggie Philbin as the key note. Those of you of a certain age will remember her on Swap Shop and Tomorrow’s World. She talked with passion about the Teen Tech Awards ( All about encouraging young people into tech. Be Positive are supporters of the Digital Xtra Fund which supports projects in Scotland targeted at getting under 16’s inspired by technology, so this sort of initiative is something that is very close to our hearts.

The conference sessions offered topics from Mindfulness to Disruptive Networks, from  Psychology to Splitting User Stories – a hugely varied program. There was a common thread of how can we better engage stakeholders through better understanding and engaging with them more effectively. I particularly enjoyed the session on ‘Why pretty pictures matter’ – some great ideas that I am going to see if i can incorporate in my deliverables.

Talking to other BAs is always fascinating and I chatted to delegates from the Ukraine, Istanbul, Singapore and well as catching up with familiar faces from closer to home.

Overall, I enjoyed this year’s conference – well organised, inspiring location and informative content.



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