3 Principles to help you excel as a budding Business Analyst
Article by: Carol Mwangi
Ambition is a good thing. Being good at what you do is an even better thing! As a Business Analyst, both traits combined will take you places and give you great opportunities to choose from. Achieving this milestone however comes with a very deliberate mindset that applies itself in various ways. We cover 3 success principles to help you excel as a budding Business Analyst here.
To help us understand how to propel ourselves forward, it is important to first and foremost appreciate the fact that the Business Analysis field is wide and the work available is as diverse as the alphabet! Secondly, the playing field, aka the organization, business or stakeholder needs, explored within different contexts are extremely varied both in nature and in scope. These types of scenarios place a big demand on the Business Analysis professional in terms of skill set and performance. I want to attempt to put perspective on this and give some pointers on how best we can stay on top of our game, while remaining true to who we are.
I have defined the three principles with the acronym A.B.C because I like to understand things as simply as I can and I am making the same assumption that you, my readers, are a bit like me. These points are really like guideposts, consider them as reminders of information you already know, they are not intended to be prescriptive at all. My hope is that within these points you will find something you can pick and ran with or at best, even get to know something new, and I would be flattered if that’s the case for you. Let’s dive in below:
A stand for – Always be learning
Yes, that’s right – and there’s various ways you can do this and we will discuss some of them below. Your induction into the Business Analysis world should be the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK®) Guide. The BABOK® is rich in content and has many concepts. When I started out with the BABOK® Guide, I initially felt overwhelmed; I found the content quite heavy and needing application to connect the concepts. I needed to understand what I was reading so I will share what worked for me: First, there’s no short-cut to it, read the book. The first read may feel like a gloss-over and like it’s over your head. Trust me, it will be better by your third read 😊. As you read, look up whatever you don’t understand for illustration or more explanation – you will appreciate the wealth of information already available on Google or on YouTube. As you engage in study, if you can, join an accredited IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis) school or an accredited IIBA Study Group.
These forums, which will off-set you some cash, not only help you in comprehending the BABOK® Guide but give you a safe space for one-on-one queries and peer to peer learning. You also get the bonus of building up some hours accredited towards your Business Analysis certification. A word of caution here is that you need to make sure that whichever group you affiliate with, is accredited to the IIBA® because it will give you the confidence all-round for the framework, for content and connect you to a like-minded community. You will also enjoy the bonus for hours towards your qualification. Apart from the BABOK® Guide there are other useful books that you can buy and read, and you will be well on your way to understand the subject matter better. The key take-out here is this: master the content within the BABOK® Guide because this a foundation you need and keep an open disposition towards knowledge acquisition.
B Stands for – Become an Expert at something
This statement may sound too broad to even be applicable but stick with me and I will define it better. As I mentioned at the start, the Business Analysis Field is wide
in terms of areas of practice, tools and techniques. Whereas those are considered as foundational, the profession also opens a whole new world through the concept of Perspectives. The BABOK® Guide defines Perspectives as providing focus on tasks and techniques within the context of an initiative.
There are several perspectives that are listed within the BABOK® Guide such as Agile, Information Technology, Business Process Management and more. What this means for you is that, if an initiative is focused on Agile methodology, or Business Process Management etc., then there are specific tools and techniques you need to understand and apply within those contexts. You can therefore focus on areas that are of interest to you and there are several courses available in the marketplace, depending on the perspective.
Even if you do not want to align towards any specific perspective, you can work towards mastering certain techniques that are applicable across the board as you perform Business Analysis tasks. So, the key take-out for you is this: master the foundational and become an expert in the specifics.
C stands for – Create the best version of You.
The BABOK® Guide lists several underlying competencies you need to have to perform Business Analysis, covering both soft and hard skills. The information is very descriptive and is applicable in many other professional contexts. Generally, over the years, there’s been a strong shift towards appreciating the role of soft skills as a desirable and equally important skill for the workplace. As a Business Analyst therefore, it is important to be self-aware and to make an honest evaluation (even better, a gap analysis 😊), then have a way of working towards the growth. Failure to do this can limit you and as a result, limit your potential to become successful as a Business Analyst. Well, nothing moves until you do and any growth you apply is progress.
In this article you have learnt the 3 success principles of how to establish the right foundation and mind-set to help you succeed as a Business Analyst. These principles are broadly summarized as follows: to always keep an open mind to learning, secondly identify skills you can cultivate and excel at and lastly choose the path of personal growth for yourself. So, go on and shine!
Want to join an IIBA accredited course to learn more about Business Analysis and build a professional career? Join us here.