11th Annual Professional Development Day (PDD) 2021

April 20, 2021
7:30 AM CDT - 4:00 PM CDT
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Earle Brown Heritage Center
6155 Earle Brown Dr
Brooklyn Center, MN 55430


IIBA MSP Minneapolis St Paul Chapter
Proudly Presents

Start Your Engines!  Driving Towards Agility
April 20, 2021 - Doors Open at 7:00 am
Earle Brown Heritage Center

PDD is a day which will provide you with many opportunities to grow in your professional development.  We’ve selected learning topics that will bring you new and innovative ideas, methodologies, and solutions to succeed as a BA: Performance Boosters, Pit Crew Teamwork, Racing with Agility, and Building Speed to Win.  Whether you practice agile, waterfall, or hybrid methodologies, this conference is for you!  In addition, you will receive 8 professional learning credits, a light breakfast, snacks, lunch, free parking, and an opportunity to network with peers and learn from experts.  

PDD 2021 will feature Paula Bell, CBAP®, as your Keynote Speaker.  Paula will bring you a first-rate presentation on how BAs are very much like detectives: “Uncover the Mysteries - Investigate Like a Detective”.  


Paul Bell Keynote Speaker

Paula Bell

















































Uncover the Mysteries - Investigate Like a Detective

 I’m sure many can agree there’s nothing like a great mystery.  You may remember reading books, or watching television shows, like Sherlock Holmes, Clue, or even Murder She Wrote, where you were sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to see if you solved the mystery.  These sorts of experiences are quite gripping, as it takes you through an intricate story of many different emotional journeys.  The beginning of the book, or show, grabs your attention with some sort of drama occurring, which makes you eager to find out what happened.  Then, as the story unfolds you start to work through the process of solving the mystery, as though, you are the detective.  You begin to realize you are taken over by all sorts of emotions like frustration, suspense, anxiety, as each challenge or obstacles is presented.  Eventually the story comes to end, and you finally get the answer to the question you’ve been waiting for, “did I solve the mystery?”.  By this time you are either very excited and proud of yourself, stunned by a twist, or completely disappointed.  It’s over!!!!  However, have you ever thought about what makes a mystery so interesting, and frankly hard to figure out?  Why do we get pulled into the drama and want to figure it out?  It's not just the suspense of figuring out who done it?  But it’s the entire process you go through to uncover the mystery.  Business Analysts are very much like detectives and share some of the characteristics of a good detective to solve organizational problems.  Of course, I will have a martial arts twist to this, or I wouldn’t be the BA Martial Artist (😊).  So get ready to experience being a detective, and a ninja, to obtain skills in fact finding and solving problems!

Paula Bell is the CEO of Paula A Bell Consulting, LLC. She is a Business Analyst, Leadership and Career Development coach, consultant, speaker and author with 21+ years of experience in corporate America in project roles to include business analyst, requirements manager, business initiatives manager, business process quality manager, technical writer, project manager, developer, test lead and implementation lead.  Paula has experience in a variety of industries to include media, courts, manufacturing and financial.  Paula has led multiple highly visible multi-million-dollar technology and business projects to create solutions to transform businesses as either a consultant, senior business analyst or manager.  Currently she is a Business Support Manager leading a team of business process consultants to identify processes and process improvements.

Delvin Fletcher | Heather Mylan-Mains

We are honored to welcome Delvin Fletcher, President and CEO of IIBA® Global and Heather Mylan-Mains, CBAP®, CSM – Global IIBA Board of Directors, as guest speakers at PDD 2021.  They will deliver a presentation on the Global IIBA Perspective on how to “Evolve and Grow” as Business Analysts.  It’s a great opportunity to meet the new leadership of IIBA.

Delvin Fletcher is an exceptional leader with strong experience leading organizations, most recently as Chief Information Officer with the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario (CPA Ontario) where he provided leadership as their CIO and became more familiar with membership and certification organizations. Delvin spent his formative years as a Consulting Manager for KPMG serving on projects around the globe.  He has served in leadership roles in global firms like SAP, Rubbermaid, and was SVP and CIO for Shred-It as this franchise hit hypergrowth internationally.  Delvin has served as Chief Operating Officer in entrepreneurial ventures such as Xchange Technology Group where he held responsibility for IT, HR, operations, and several business revenues lines in North America and Europe. His background in membership associations, information systems, public accounting, government, and not-for-profits will give him insights into working with IIBA's dynamic ecosystem and audience.  Delvin will bring new energy to IIBA’s journey.

Heather Mylan-Mains, CBAP®, CSM, is from Des Moines, Iowa. Heather is a stimulus for change as a mom, consultant, instructor for Netmind, and a longtime volunteer for IIBA®, currently on the Board of Directors as Director.  For the past 20 + years, she has collaborated with a variety of project teams to create better business outcomes.  Heather is a fierce advocate for business analysis and loves to share her passion through speaking, teaching, and mentoring.  She believes business analysis is a thinking profession and applies to everything and everyone!  Heather loves to put together puzzles and figure out how the pieces fit together. She also loves to travel and wants to visit everywhere in the world.  Heather has an MBA from Drake University, a BA in Accounting from Grand View College, and has survived many PhDs (pretty hard days).  Heather blogs at www.BAsWithoutBorders.com.


Speaker Tracks - Coming Soon!


Performance Boosters Track


 BAs Will Build the Future: Reimagine Your Career Path
 Rebecca Scott

The Business Analysis Career has experienced an identity crisis. We've had to explain that Business Analysts DO belong in Agile teams, or deal with reduced time and resources for business analysis.  In this session, we will visualize the BA Career Path differently, and discuss the BAs hiding in plain sight.  Also, learn how you can leverage essential skills and your strengths to shape the future of business analysis.

- Gain a new perspective on the Business Analysis Career Path.
- Identify the Business Analysts Hiding in Plain Sight.
- Learn Why and How Business Analysis Will Shape the Future of Business.



 5 Characteristics of a Great Leader
 Judy Alter

Leader is not a job title but can be someone at any level.  Today’s business environment is collaborative like a sports or racing team.  Athletes are trained with a “team first” attitude.  A BA is in a better position to be a leader than even management.  Participants will learn that a leader must encourage:

- Put your own ego aside.
- Team attitude for success.
- Encourage Innovations and Questions.
- Encourage Excellence over Perfection.
- Lead with Your Heart.



 Learning to Fail in Order to Grow
 Sinikka Waugh

Every day that I end smarter than I started it is a good day.  Certainly, we all prefer those days where the learning is easy and filled with accolades and triumphs, but sometimes it's the lessons of failure that stick the best.  As we seek to grow our Business Analysis careers, we often shy away from failure or even the possibility of failure, rather than embracing it as a way to adapt and achieve success more readily.  By participating in this engaging keynote presentation, participants will:

- Encounter six examples of key lessons any of us might encounter in our careers.
- Gain practical takeaways to help succeed faster from hard lessons.



 Becoming the CEO of You - Negotiate Like a Pro
 Melissa Delay

You don’t have to serve as an official CEO to become the CEO of You.  Since it’s limiting to rely on just one job or one company to fuel your long-term livelihood, it’s necessary to master the art of negotiation and learn how to position yourself like the pros.  "Learn and practice the exact power phrases you need to successfully negotiate, gain influence in professional circles, and communicate with true confidence.

- Negotiate when someone won't budge.
- Navigate high-stakes conversations.
- Speak up when your voice isn't being heard.
- Ask for a raise or promotion.
- Set the tone at a meeting.


Pit Crew Teamwork Track


 5 Steps to Communication with Integrity
 Les Hill

Learn the five steps to communicating with Integrity.  This breakthrough presentation shows how to bring your communication game to new levels of success.  Break down the walls that are hindering your ability to communicate with your Pit Crew.  At the end of this session, you will learn how to:

- Breakthrough in being responsible for communications; both listening and speaking.
- Breakthrough in being present and learning how to create an environment that supports and alters how present people are in all areas of their business and personal life.
- Breakthrough in being in another person's world and what that looks like.  (This has some fantastic short exercises to demonstrate!)
- Defining and creating the distinction "INTEGRITY".



 Gaining Alignment Using Smart Power Techniques: Acing The 4th Principle of the Agile Manifesto
 Tom Esch

In this session learn about techniques for embracing and commanding the 4th principle of of the Agile principles to gain smarter alignment with your Agile Teams and Organizations using effective powerful techniques.

- Define the difference between hard power, soft power and smart power.
- Gain working knowledge of how understanding rank power translates into better alignment.
- Identifying signs that alignment is breaking down and knowing how to restore it.



 There are No Politics in Business
 Joe Perzel

You are faced with lots of data and must make lots of decisions; and there are lots of opinions about those decisions.  If someone doesn’t support your project or strategy making it political it is because they have a different perspective based on their experiences and priorities.  Their lack of support for your idea is not politically based; it's because you do not understand their perspective.  It is up to you to listen better to appreciate an alternative view.

This presentation will discuss how to take out (or at least reduce) politics in your project, program or portfolio, leaning on effective, pro-active approaches by altering your view of “politics” and improving your understanding of other perspectives.



 Becoming a Person of Influence
 Jason Hunt

There are only two ways to lead: through your title or your influence. Influential leaders don't need a title - people follow because they want to.  Learn the three myths of leadership and insightful ways to make a difference through your influence.  Whatever your vocation or aspiration, as you grow your influence, you grow the positive impact you can have in the lives of others - at home, at work, and in every other area of life.

- Assist participants to understand both the meaning of leadership and the myths of leadership.
- Help participants learn the rules of leading through your influence.
- Get to know other people and have fun through engaging activities.


Racing with Agility Track


 Agile Strategy Execution - Deliver Your Future
 Daniel Lambert

Design, Architect, Prioritize and Deliver your Corporate Future Successfully by getting key insights in this Agile Strategy presentation.  Harness the power and clarity of Agile Strategy.

- Learn about Agile Strategy Execution.
- Learn how architecture can optimize SAFe.
- Describe in details requirements, epics, and user stories using business architecture.



 Business Knowledge Management - The Key to Agility
 Fabrio Laguna

Discover the key to agility, in this presentation participants will learn:

- How to manage requirements in business knowledge bases.
- The key techniques to map business knowledge.
- How you can increase business agility by configuring processes and rules.



 Secrets to Thriving in Agile World
 Courtney Vos

Discover the secrets to thriving in the world of Agile as a Business Analysis.  Unlock awesome approaches to driving a successful project as an analyst while utilizing new modern collaborative techniques.

- Get an insider’s view to being incredibly effective in Agile environments.
- Build your career as an Agile Analyst.
- Get insights on how to change the course of your Agile world for the better.



 The Impact of DevOps on the Business Analyst
 Michael Roberts

The convergence of solution development and operations is the unstoppable trend in business today.  Business are looking to implement new products but also to change dramatically with increasing speed and agility.  The timeframe from Ideation, product development, through development, and finally into an operational state in production is getting shorter and shorter.  This presentation shows how a business analyst fits into this new world.

- Current state of organizations and their SDLC.
- What DevOps is and how it can be implemented.
- A few examples of generic stakeholders as described in the BABOK® Guide and how to apply the DevOps context to stakeholder roles.


Building Speed to Win TRACK


 Don't Let Your Design Thinking Silver Bullet be a Blank
 Robin Goldsmith

Design thinking PR paints it as a panacea - perfect on-demand innovation projects every time.  Yes, empathy and ideation are key but are far harder and scarcer than design thinking suggests and too often are merely hollow buzzwords in an all-too-conventional mistaken model.  This interactive session presents powerful models that enable design thinking to achieve its potential and special skills to make it happen.

- Identify design thinking’s strengths and also it too-commonly-overlooked pitfalls.
- Analyze what’s actually involved in effective empathy and ideation.
- Describe a more appropriate model that better enables effective empathy and ideation.



 Gather Requirements Like an FBI Agent
 Deena Chadwick

In this presentation, learn key insights and techniques for eliciting requirements from witnesses.  Or maybe confessions. Wait – it’s stakeholder requirements.  Yeah that’s it – stakeholder requirements.  Understand and take advantage of natural human behaviors and instructs.  Get the tools and techniques you need to elicit comprehensive requirements. Learn 3 different approaches to overcoming resistance and build trust.  Grab your badge, notebook, and head on into this session.

- Learn How to Elicit Requirements Like an FBI Agent.
- Learn How to Elicit Requirements Like a Mother of a Teenager.
- Learn How to Elicit Requirements Like a 2-Year-Old.



 Build a Strengths First Culture
 Scott Gostchock

Through this engaging presentation, participants will be motivated to take action.  Whether you have taken the Clifton Strengths assessment or not, you will walk away with knowledge to be applied to your work environment for positive change for yourself and your team.  Through a combination of lecture and audience participation, participants will be highly engaged to use this information in multiple ways.

- Understand the uniqueness of each person’s individual strengths and their value to the organization.
- Understand the need for using others' strengths as partner-up opportunities.
- Identify how all strengths fit together, using strengths for others to increase engagement, energy, and efficiency and coaching from strengths.



 The BA Plan - Making or Breaking Your Project & Career
 Mark Hunt

BA Planning is one of the most important aspects of a project.  Mark will share his experiences creating BA Plans and provide attendees with a variety of tips that will make the planning process less mysterious.  At the end of this session participants will:

- Recognize the importance of having a BA plan, for any project.
- Learn the important parts of a BA Plan.
- Come away with tips to customize their BA Plan for any type of project.



Need a little help convincing your boss to attend? We gathered a few experts to help you out.


Directly State That You Want to Attend the Conference

Be direct when you ask to attend a conference.  AJ Agrawal has seen people dance around the subject and fail to get a clear answer because management doesn’t understand why the topic is important, or even what the employee wants.  Agrawal encourages employees to be direct, even if speaking in front of management is intimidating. 

“A winner will go right up to their boss and say exactly what they mean,” Agrawal writes.  “They want to go to the conference, and they are asking whether they can go and whether the company will foot the bill for it.  It does not always lead to a positive answer, but you get a firm answer, and you know exactly where you stand.”


It’s OK to Show Excitement

When you present your request, make sure your excitement for the opportunity shows.  Jeremy Goldman writes that excitement is contagious, and your manager could catch some of your enthusiasm as you make your presentation.  This also shows you care about your job and want to perform better.

Sometimes, employees try to appear too professional and hide their eagerness.  This can be counterproductive: Your boss might actually read your professional detachment as apathy.


Highlight the Importance of In-Person Networking

There will be mentors, vendors or experts whom you will have the opportunity to connect with and that can bring significant value in helping you and your organization overcome obstacles or roadblocks.  Nothing beats in-person conversations when you are are looking for advice.

"It's easy to ignore an email.  A follow-up email.  Even a voicemail,” the team at Create & Cultivate writes.  “But if you take advantage of the golden opportunities ... it could open a myriad of doors — not only for you, but for your company, as well.”

Emphasize the value of in-person networking that forms at conferences. Even waiting in line for coffee or finding a table at lunch can create useful connections.  Starting a conversation isn't easy with folks that are not in your organization, but they can provide a fresh new perspective. 


Return With Clear Objectives for Change

Once you get back, make sure you highlight exactly what you learned and include actionable steps your company can take to get better.  The team organizing the Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference highlights three ways employees can share this knowledge:

  • Use a staff meeting to review what you learned and any next steps that you recommend.

  • Write a blog post about something you learned.

  • Create a presentation for your manager and co-workers that you can give during a lunch-and-learn. 

If anything you learned has a significant impact on your company, make a note of what impact it had. This will help you make a stronger case the next time you ask to attend a conference. 

We will see you soon!

Need an invoice? Contact us at [email protected]







$299.00 Member Rate

$359.00 Non-Member Rate

$299.00 Group (5 or more) Ticket Rate