Business Analysis Experience – what level of experience have you got?
There are many different types of Business Analysts with a wide spectrum of different Business Analysis experience levels. Some have very specialized Business Analysis knowledge (i.e. they apply the tools and concepts in the BABOK® Guide very well!) and then there are some who knows a lot about a particular topic (something like Payroll or Finance) and only have the basic skills of a pure Business Analyst. Then there are many dimensions in between these two extremes. So which one of these Business Analysis Profiles suits your experience best?
Let’s have a look at the different Business Analysis Experience types or profiles and discuss what each of these mean:
The Generalist Business Analyst
This is where everyone starts when they embark on their careers as Business Analysts unless of course you start your Business Analysis career with a few years of experience within another field, such as Finance or Engineering. Typically people that fall into this category are doing mostly requirements gathering and other requirements related tasks on their respective projects to start building their Business Analysis experience. At this level the Business Analyst can decide whether they want to specialize in pure Business Analysis as a Profession, become a Subject Matter Expert or develop both their Business Analysis and Subject Matter Expertise experience and work towards becoming an Experience Business Analyst.
The Business Analysts that fall within the Specialist Business Analysis level of their career have typically spent their time working as a pure Business Analyst within a variety of different subject matter areas. They don’t tend to delve too deeply into the Subject Matter Area of a project but rather focus on using their very diverse and highly developed Business Analysis knowledge, tools and techniques to service any subject matter area. This career profile Business Analyst can either decide to stay focused on purely Business Analysis for the remainder of their careers (and be a true Career Business Analyst) or decide to take the next step and develop their Subject Matter expertise within a specific area. Often the Business Analysts within this profile work towards developing their leadership skills and become Domain Leaders.
The Experienced Business Analyst
This is the Business Analyst Profile that many Business Analysts would fall in at some time in their careers. This profile level have a good few years of pure Business Analysis experience under their belts with some years of specific Subject Matter Expertise experience as well. This profile level has the advantage of being able to decide whether they want to specialize in pure Business Analysis and become a Specialist Business Analyst or whether they want to achieve the profile level of Domain Leader. This is a great profile because by this time the individual have experience in both pure Business Analysis and some experience in one or two specific Subject Matter Expertise areas. This enables the individual to make very informed decisions about their future direction for their careers.
The Subject Matter Expert
This profile is often that of people who have decided that they would like to change their career direction to become Business Analysts. It is great for people to then analyze their past career experiences to discover what parts of that experience can be translated into becoming Business Analysts. For individuals with Subject Matter Expertise in their career history it is often the natural next step to develop their pure Business Analysis experience especially if they are looking at diversifying their careers. They can then as a next profile work to achieve the Domain Leader Profile once they have strong pure Business Analysis experience to combine with their years of Subject Matter Expertise experience.
The Domain Leader
The Domain Leader Profile is the most challenging and rewarding profile within the spectrum of Business Analysis. The reason for this is that this profile carries with it not only Business Analysis experience and Subject Matter Expertise experience but also the dimension of leadership among peers. This profile has a strong emphasis on developing leadership skills and strong relationships of influence within their organization. An individual can spend the remainder of their careers within this profile and be challenged with personal and professional growth throughout. Every individual should aspire to achieve this profile not only as a result of years of experience but rather as a result of Business Analysis Excellence.