About Michelle Swoboda

I am totally passionate about business analysis. I have always loved my work - however when I found this role - I felt like I was home. I have been a BA for 12+ years. I have had many roles - project manager, business process analyst, team lead, business analyst - all that I love! I enjoy mentoring people and love to coach and hold webinars to train people. I live in Alberta, Canada with my wonderful husband and three West Highland White Terriers.

How to Translate Your Skills into Business Analysis

I have been talking with a number of people who want to become business analysts.  One of the biggest hurdles seems to be how to translate your work experience into business analyst ‘speak’ for your resume. So, say you worked on a project but your role was not titled project manager or business analyst. I […]

4 Self-Confidence Secrets Every Business Analyst Should Know

Business analysts are sometimes assumed to be overconfident and self-assured.  What happens if you are new to the business and have not found your niche and are feeling less than confident?  Here are a few ways you can build your confidence into quick wins.  1. Celebrate the small victories Even completing a stakeholder analysis or […]

What’s the Difference Between Business Analysis and Business Development?

A reader asks: What is the difference between business analysis and business development? Michelle’s answer: Business development is just that; the growth of new or existing business.  It is usually associated with the sales team within an organization.  Sales and marketing are responsible for growing existing business – so finding areas of customers that have […]

Should I Accept a Position with an Internal Promotion Path to BA Within One Year?

A reader writes: It’s tough to get a BA post with just 5 months experience.  I was working as Business Analyst in the Travel Domain. It was my first position as a BA. Before I had experience in Sales in different fields. The company did not have the right technology in place. They used to […]

Help a BA! How Do I Get Sign Off on Requirements?

A reader asks: How do I get sign off on requirements? Michelle’s answer: While gathering requirements is critical to the project, validating them with stakeholders is also critical.  There are two times during each project when I ask for sign off on the requirements from the business.  The first is when the business requirements document […]

Help a BA! What percentage of BA duties are administrative?

A reader asks: What percentage of a business analyst duties are administrative? Michelle’s response: In my experience, it depends on what part of the project you are in.  If you are in the elicitation, stakeholder analysis and requirements gathering stage, I find I spend a larger percentage of my time setting up meetings and writing […]

Should a Business Analyst Be an Introvert or an Extrovert?

A reader asks: In order to elicit and elaborate requirements, communicate, facilitate, negotiate, present, etc., is there an advantage to being introverted or extroverted in personality? Michelle’s answer: What a great question and honestly I believe that you can find advantages for both personalities when you are a business analyst. As with all people, everyone […]

How Do I Answer These Business Analyst Job Interview Questions?

A reader asks: Recently, I attended an interview where the interviewer asked me the questions below… Could you throw some light on how to handle these kinds of questions? Why do you want to become a BA ? If given an opportunity, what is the one aspect you wish to change in BA ? What […]

Investing Some Time in Stakeholder Analysis

As of last Monday, I reported to my new contract position in a company that I have never worked for.  One of the first items on the agenda – stakeholder analysis.  This company is very structured in its business analysis and I love it.  I am using a newly formulated stakeholder analysis template that I […]

3 Different Requirements Gathering “Dances”

When you watch Dancing with the Stars, there are certain elements you are looking for as each couple takes their turn on the dance floor.  You are watching for their technique, their ability to listen and interpret the music, the confidence on their faces, and that spark between the couples.  Each week you watch, a […]

6 Tips to Keep Writing UAT Scripts Fun

I am sure that any business analyst who has written user acceptance scripting can confirm that script writing is super detailed, critically important and mind numbingly boring.  But is it important – yes it is.  Why you ask would something so boring be important?  Well, if the business user cannot validate that the new business […]

How to Collaborate with Other Business Analysts

The business analyst profession seems to attract A-type personalities: driven to succeed; high energy; very creative; perfectionist. This type of person contributes to the success of many projects.  What happens when you bring a number of these high performing people together to work on a larger project?  How do we work together without clashing personalities?  […]

How Do I Get Stakeholders to Come to My Meetings?

Reader Question: I am working at a rapidly growing company as a BA. Sometimes I really find it hard to catch my stakeholders and other interested parts at their places and to make an appointment with them for a meeting. I have tried many techniques and tools like mass email notifications, invitations to join meetings […]

5 Ways To Keep Your Business Analyst Skills Sharp

So, you take a job as a business analyst – maybe you fell into the role or perhaps you set it as your career goal.  What next?  How do you keep your skills and knowledge current and ready for use?  Sometimes I find as a business analyst that you don’t always use the skills you […]

How to Build Critical Stakeholder Relationships

When you are ‘dropped in’ as a consultant into a company that you have never worked for or even when you are starting a new business analyst job or a project with new stakeholders, the most important first step is to begin to build the relationships with your stakeholders.  Not only do you want them […]

How to Use a Process Walk-through to Validate Requirements for a New System

When I began my latest consulting job, one of my first deliverables was to assist the stakeholders with a process walk through.  The purpose of the walk through was to identify gaps in the ‘to” be business process.  This was one way of determining if there were gaps because all teams were in new positions, […]

Evolving a Note-Taker Assignment into a BA Leadership Opportunity

In my entire career as a BA, I have been blessed by the clear understanding of the benefits a BA can bring to each business unit – until now.  I recently accepted a one month contract position, that has moved into a longer term assignment.  I truly love the challenge – the project, the people […]

How Do I Get Beyond Being a ‘Jack of All Trades’?

Reader question: “I have been a PM for 12+ years. Prior to that I did tech support and prior to that I was strictly on the business side. Because of my soft skills, I moved up each ladder quickly, but always felt that I was more of a ‘jack of all trades’ master of nothing! […]

What is the Difference Between a Subject Matter Expert and a Business Analyst?

Reader question: Can you briefly explain the differences between a subject matter expert and a business analyst? Well, this is a really great question.  A business analyst is responsible for the deliverables of a project – the beginning, middle, and end.  She/he is also responsible for many areas of the project – the scope assessment, […]