We often receive questions about how to make it into business analysis when you don’t have a technical background and aren’t officially assigned to any sort of project work. The reality is that this path can be a little more challenging. You have to get creative with your approach while mixing patience with a whole lot of persistence.
Today I’m honored to share a success-story-in-progress from one of our recent course participants, Adam Haesler from Vancouver, Canada. Adam is a Customer Service Representative who coordinates the decoration of garments for his organization’s customers.
(Adam would love to connect with you, so feel free to check out his LinkedIn profile.)
Adam’s Customer Service role.
Here is a quick summary of Adam’s primary job responsibilities in Customer Service:
- Work with the decorators, and within the limits of decoration options to produce the final decorated product as close to the customers’ requirements as possible.
- Produce an approval form reflecting how decoration will be done, and an idea of the final result, which both decorator and customer agree on.
- Work with decorator, customer, shipping timelines, and product availability, to be sure that the whole order gets out to the customer ideally in time.
- Educate customers on possibilities of various decoration techniques.
- Coordinate with sales representatives and internal accounting department the setup of new accounts.
Adam’s work, like many business-side professionals looking at careers in business analysis, is relatively routine from day to day. Yes, there are challenges inside of all these job responsibilities that I’m sure Adam is able to handle with grace and professionalism, but for the most part, work flows in a relatively predictable way.
When Adam found Bridging the Gap, he was ready to explore a new level in his career and thought he might want to be a business analyst. He took a few Bridging the Gap training courses to validate his career change, and then to help in his current career.
Learning business analyst skills.
Here’s how Adam was able to leverage his new business analyst skills:
- After taking Business Process Analysis I was able to help with getting the team I work on clear about the as-is process for shipping a crate to a trade show and eliminate the reoccurring issue of not knowing everything that needed to be in the crate and showing up unprepared. The biggest take-away was the value of sitting down and getting clear on how the process works in a step-by-step scenario.
- After taking Use Cases and Wireframes, I was able to move forward with more clarity on how to resolve issues of getting minimum viable product and increase speed of each sprint by thinking in terms of the use case or wireframes, even if I did not write them up formally.
- Adam also participated in Data Modeling for Business Analysts, but hasn’t yet found a way to use those skills specifically in his work. He appreciates the importance of data modeling skills: Although likely a labor intensive task to create, the right data models would make it ridiculously easily for the IT team to figure out how to move everything from one system to the next, or have information coming from/going to third-party systems seamlessly to work together. Also, the financial benefits would be enormous to anticipate most potential issues and confirm viability of building a new system in the first place.
When I checked in with Adam about a month ago, he was still in his customer service role and no longer satisfied with the work. While he inquired at his annual review for the possibility of more small projects like the ones he was able to do as a course participant, or even a business analyst position in the company, he was denied.
Adam was submitting resumes to companies, with the confidence that he has the education background to move forward into a business analyst position. He also has specific experiences he can talk to in an interview situation, about how he applied various business analysis techniques in his work.
Then the magic happens.
A few weeks after this check-in, Adam emailed me to say that his manager had approached him for more information about what a business analysis role would look like. They were sensing that Adam might leave the organization and wanted to do what they could to convince him to stay.
So while Adam is still not yet an “official” business analyst, he is one big step closer, as he begins negotiations with his current employer and continues his job search.
This is exactly what happens when you start consciously building your business analyst skills and expanding your business analyst experience. Progress can be slow at first, but then the momentum builds. All of a sudden, you realize that you aren’t in quite the same place career-wise. You have more options and more opportunities.
Eventually, your patience and persistence pay off, and you find your first full-fledged business analyst position.