Train them with their business units. At Clorox, business analysts might attend conferences about gathering and documenting project requirements, but they also attend the same training and conferences that business people in their specialties (manufacturing or human resources, for example) attend, says Linda Martino, vice president of business engagement and application delivery. Likewise, Tyco's business analysts attend both formal training events, like project management classes or PMI certification, and business-specific trade shows and industry events.
Keep them talking to one another. Clorox sponsors "communities of practice" -- grass-roots teams that meet regularly to discuss best practices, templates and tools with people who have similar jobs -- and the business analyst community is one of the most active, Martino says. These meetings explore topics like project post-mortems, discussion of positive and negative project experiences, brainstorming sessions, or note-sharing from conferences or specialized training events.
Consider cross-training. Clorox also has started to cross-train a number of its business analysts so they can work across departments. The company's goal is not only to keep its analysts interested, but also to be more flexible in its ability to meet business needs. "Demand isn't uniform," says Martino. If, for instance, she has three business analysts with expertise in HR, but projects in marketing or supply chains have cropped up, she wants to be able to have the expertise to handle those requirements.