Our grocer recently introduced pasture-fresh eggs from a local farm and I’ve been eating a lot of eggs lately. Fresher eggs than I’ve ever had on a regular basis in my life. The kind you’d get from the place down the road, if that place down the road ever had eggs when you stopped in!
As I’ve been thinking about eggs, it got me revisiting the chicken-and-egg scenario for aspiring BAs. You know the dilemma: I can’t get a BA job without experience but I can’t get experience without a BA job.
So, what comes first the business analyst or the business analysis experience?
My answer: They both happen at once.
Let me explain. Being a business analyst is 80% mindset. It’s more about how you approach a problem or an opportunity than what your title is or even what responsibilities you have at work.
This reality empowers you because while you can’t control what your boss asks you to do or what your job title is, you can control your mindset.
- When your boss asks you to add a new field to the database, do you take the time to understand what business process requires this?
- When a customer calls to complain that your product “doesn’t work,” do you look at things from their perspective and how the tool you support works within their process or do you rattle off product specifications and claim the product works “as designed.”
- When a co-worker complains about the input they receive from your department, do you put up a wall of defense or jump in and discover how the hand-off works between your respective departments?
(By the way, if you are looking for more helping stepping through this process of looking at problems, building a BA mindset, and even racking up some valuable business analysis experience along the way, I lead a course to help you do just that. It’s called Business Process Analysis - it’s virtual, instructor-led, and it includes individual feedback on the work samples you’ll create in a real-world setting.)
By focusing on the business process and the root cause of the problem, you can be a self-proclaimed business analyst doing business analysis work before anyone ever anoints you with the business analyst job title. By reframing the opportunities right in front of you, you can cultivate the mindset of a business analyst and at the same time build a business analyst work experience worthy of adding to your resume or chatting with your boss about come performance review time.
It’s time to break the egg.