Business Analysts are often lonely in their organizations, which is especially true in smaller ones. In this context, assessing your Business Analysis practices is not an easy task, and it is hard to convince yourself that you’re a good Business Analyst and that you follow the best practices in the industry (which can be completely different from being a good employee).
Not to help, Business Analysis practices in organizations are often created on an ad-hoc basis to answer very specific situations. While it’s not wrong by itself (context is a core concept in the BABoK v3), it always had me wondering if we could be more efficient.
For a long time, I felt like an impostor in the Business Analysis world, always wondering if I was doing the right things right, even though I spent many years at university and worked successfully as a BA. Being curious by nature, I have always looked at ways to improve myself professionally, but until recently, I wasn’t able to find interesting and appropriate official training opportunities.
Then I realized that I wasn’t searching properly (or maybe searching way to far!), and that the answers to my continuous self-questioning were right under my nose. I was only a few steps away from a free assessment of my Business Analysis practices!
When forced continuous education is they key (a real life story)
With my whole new CBAP title comes obligations for recertification,such as continuous education. I haven’t look at all the details yet (shame on me), but just knowing about it kinda forced me to be more aware of education opportunities.
In this context, during last spring, I attended to 2 different webinars (here and here) and to a conference at my local IIBA chapter that made me realize that my team’s way of performing Business Analysis was not so far from some of the best practices highlighted in these webinars. This made me realize that you don’t have to look far away to get feedback on your work and answer to your questions about your Business Analysis practices. There are a lot of resources just waiting for you to pick up.
Side note #1: Agile is often implemented as an hybrid methodology in most organizations; this makes it hard to evaluate whether or not you’re doing it right, and if you’re doing a good job as a BA in this context. However, by listening to some webinars on the subject (and especially the Q&A segments at the end), I was happy to see that our way of being Agile was not that bad!
Side note #2: it was the first time I attended a conference at my local IIBA chapter. The conference and the presenter, George Bryson, were very interesting, but I wasn’t expecting to be introduced by him to the audience as the “famous Eric the BA” (I’m usually a shy guy)! However, it was a good ice breaker for the evening 🙂
The quick and easy path to assess your Business Analysis practices
Here are some of the (mostly free!) resources that I started to use recently to improve my BA knowledge and evaluate my own Business Analysis practices.
LinkedIn groups | While many of these groups are either big job or advertising boards, some of them have a very active community and host interesting discussions about numerous subjects. One thing I like to do with these groups is to ask open questions to get tips and feedback from other BAs (one of the last discussions I launch was about BA communities of practice).
At the time of writing, I especially enjoy the official IIBA group, the Business Analyst Forum, the Business Analyst Professional group, and a restricted group for designated CBAPs (get your CBAP to get the link 🙂 !).
Your IIBA local chapter | A great thing about events organized by your local IIBA chapter is that it gives you the opportunity to grow your professional network and improve your knowledge in your own language (hello, fellow non-English speaking BAs!). Don’t hesitate to bring your work colleagues with you, they might like it!
IIBA webinars | Quick and easily accessible from all around the world, the IIBA webinars are a great way to earn CDUs and improve your knowledge in many different areas. While it’s more interesting to watch them live (since you can ask questions), recordings are also available so that you can catch up in case you missed them.
Blogs | If you’re reading this post, you’re already on your way to improving your BA skills. Blogs are an easy way to dig into some very narrow knowledge areas, and allows you to interact with the author and his readership. I especially like mine (haha!), but you can also take a look at Mark Owen’s blog, Laura Brandenburg’s Bridging the Gap, or David Allen’s Mastering Business Analysis podcast to get different perspectives on Business Analysis.
Books | There are thousands of books out there trying to grab your money, but they are not all useful especially when you’re looking for very specific information (or for some interaction). I haven’t tried it yet (it’s on my never-ending todo list), but the IIBA Online Library aims to solve this by providing your for free (!) hundreds of Business Analysis-related books. This could be a great way to evaluate whether a book might be interesting to buy or not… Think of it as your local library, but a very specialized local library 🙂
Many of these blogs offer you different ways to get up to date with new content, such as newsletters, so that you don’t have to worry about forgetting to check them from time to time.
Your summer challenge: start now!
Now that you have so many easy options, take a first step to get on the path to right Business Analysis: sign up for Eric the BA Newsletter to get notified when new posts are published, allowing you to perform a continuous assessment of your Business Analysis practices!
Do you like what you’re reading?
Do you have other useful resources to share with us? If so, do it in the comments below!