Roshni Dominic Starts a Part-Time BA Role at the British Red Cross

Today we meet Roshni Dominic. Roshni is located in the UK and participated in the 2017 session of The Business Analyst Blueprint. Just a few weeks into the program, she turned her Support Analyst Role at the British Red Cross into a part-time Business Analyst role. Her business analysis responsibilities and capabilities have continued to expand from there.

Feel free to listen in to our conversation or read through the transcript below. And Roshni invites you to connect with her on LinkedIn.

 

Laura Brandenburg: Hello, welcome today. I’m here with Roshni Dominic. Roshni is a participant in our 2017 BA Blueprint Program. Welcome, Roshni.

Roshni Dominic: Hi, Laura. Thanks. Great to be here.

Laura: Thank you so much for sitting down to chat about your experience with The Business Analyst Blueprint program.

To just jump right in here, can you just take me back to where you were, say, January/February of this year before you got started with the Business Analyst Blueprint. Where were you at with your career, and what were you looking for?

Roshni: Around January, I knew that I wanted to make a change in my career. I was speaking to some recruiters because after time, I was an IT support analyst, so what that means is I troubleshoot the system and I also do some admin stuff like adding new users and things. So, I was IT support analyst. I was speaking to recruiters and they just kept offering me the same support analyst jobs in different places.

I said, no. What I want to do is I want to improve things in an organization. And they said, “Oh, a business analyst.” And at the time, I didn’t know exactly what a business analyst did, but when I heard that this was what a business analyst did, I thought to myself, yes, that’s exactly what I want to be.

But then, of course, I didn’t have any business analysis experience, so I, basically, scoured the internet on how to be a business analyst and how to get experience in that. That’s around the time I came across your free webinars.

Laura: Wonderful. Wonderful. Support analysts is a pretty, is a common path into business analyst. So, I’m looking forward to hearing how those pieces have come in to play for you and the path has gone so far.

When you think about that time, what felt like it was holding you back from getting started as a business analyst? Had you taken some actions to get started?

Roshni: I hadn’t taken any action to get started because I just didn’t know where to begin. What was stopping me, to answer your question, is the lack of experience. And, also, just the lack of knowing what a business analyst did apart from improving things. That’s vague and amorphous, right. Improving what you are and how. What else did a business analyst do?

So, really, it was the lack of knowledge of what a business analyst did, and then getting that experience were the two main things that was holding me back.

A third thing, which was, I would say, confidence in, the confidence you get from doing business analysis activities. I didn’t have that because I hadn’t done any up till then.

Laura: Gotcha. So, yeah, and that makes sense. You had just discovered this new profession and you felt like it was a good fit, but you didn’t, necessarily, feel like you had experience in that profession yet. Even if some of the work that you were doing was similar. You just didn’t feel like, “Oh, I’ve done this before.” It’s something new.

Roshni: Right. Exactly.

Laura: So, you took a plunge and, I’m ever grateful. You were a great participant in the program. And you participated in the Business Analyst Blueprint. And I know you did some fantastic work, and I want to talk about that.

But when you were thinking about joining, what were some of your expectations going in? What did you most want to have happen with your experience?

Roshni: So, what I wanted most to happen was it was two-fold. It was the gain the confidence doing business analysis activities, and to gain, well, three things; to gain a confidence, to gain experience in business analysis, and sort of have a more permanent, to have my role at the organization I work be a bit more business analysis oriented, because it wasn’t before. It was 100% support analysts. And I wanted to make it at least partially business oriented.

Laura: Yeah, and that was good expectations to have of the program because that’s a big part of it. Was to do the work and get that experience as well as build up your skill set.

When you think about that, what was the first technique that you were able to apply and start to get some of that experience?

Roshni: So, it’s the how to improve a business process; a business process analysis, which I really loved.

Laura: Yeah, and how did that work out for you?

Roshni: It was fantastic because, I mean, I love that we started with that module in the BA Blueprint Course because that was my favorite part about being a business analyst. It was the reason I wanted to be a business analyst was to improve things.  So, it thrilled me that I was getting to improve a process where I worked right off the bat. So, was there a further question that you wanted to ask me on that?

Laura: Yeah, let’s dig into it a little bit further. So, you were able to have document business, analyze the business process.

Roshni: Yeah.

Laura:  What was the result in your job role or the organization from you being able to step in and do that work?

Roshni: So, what happened was that I held a workshop with people in the organization so that we could collaboratively document the business process, and then improve it. As a result of this words spread in the different teams. Not even the teams that I, necessarily, worked in, but the teams that are containing the people who I helped the workshop with. People were saying, “Oh, this is really good. It’s really good.”

The feedback that I got from the workshop was that it was good to be, for them to be an active participant in deciding whatever process should be and how it should be improved rather than just someone from higher up in the hierarchy like a manager or someone saying, “Well, this is what the process should be whether you like it or not.”

And what happened was that I contacted the program manager for the project off the bunch of project lists that were related, and he introduced me to another, to a project manager who was thrilled when she heard that I wanted to do business analysis. She was looking for someone to help her. As a result, my manager approved that part of my role would be business analysis going forward. So, it wouldn’t just be support analysis, which was great because that’s what I wanted.

Laura: Yeah, I remember you saying that inside the course and my heart jumped a little bit. It was just so exciting to hear because I talk about that and share that at Bridging the Gap, and give people that advice. When you start to do one thing, there’s a snowball effect. Just like you’re saying that word spread within your organization. It’s easy to catch it on my side of the process. Be like, “Dude, this really works.” But, then when you shared it, I was like, “Oh, see, it really works.” And it worked for you.  I was so happy about that.

So, take us forward. Are there any other key pieces that stand out for you as you think about…I mean, Business Process, was the first module of the course. But anything else stand out as something that helped you move forward or a win that you had as you went through the rest of the program?

Roshni: Yes, so, I was often using my own initiative as well, which I felt I needed to do if I were really going to learn about business analysis. I mean even during the first module, I had kind of, I wouldn’t say, skipped a few steps, and went straight into meeting with a person who was responsible for the systems and the development, the technical lead. And I asked him, “Hey, is this business process improvement that I got from the workshop. Is it feasible?

He was impressed with my initiative, which was why he recommended me to the Program Manager as well. Again, that snowball effect. But what I also appreciated from the course. I mean, of course, in the second module I learn how to do it systematically instead of just jumping ahead and speaking to whomever I thought I should speak.

And the other, I spoke to the head of Refugee Services, which was quite a big deal because he didn’t even know who I was. I just took that plunge and spoke to him and it was like speaking to someone sort of higher level and I’ve never really had to do that much before, so that was really confidence building.

And then, I want to say that both yourself and Doug have been excellent mentors to me. You were both extremely encouraging. Even when I thought, because I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist with my work, and I remember being a little bit anxious and weary of doing the wrong thing and taking the wrong step and Doug said, you know, it’s fine. The business analysis police are not going to come and get you, which was funny. But it was a huge learning point for me which is that I shouldn’t let that kind of paralyzing fear of perfectionism stop me from, at least, attempting the work and giving it my best shot.

Again, there were things, just related to this point, there were things that I was nervous about doing, like the entity relationship diagrams, especially in the third module, which was more technical. Which I guess I should have been more comfortable with. But, again, I didn’t know how it was going to relate to the business analysis side, so I was still nervous about it. But with both your and Doug’s encouragement, I decided that I should just give them my best shot. And wasn’t that scary once I did it.

I think your and Doug’s mentorship was invaluable to me. The encouragement and the feedback were invaluable to me as well. The instructor feedback or the email. What else was I going to say? Yeah, just that it wasn’t too bad once I tried it. It was really about initial fear of the unknown and that thought that, “Oh, what if I can’t do it?

And, also, something that made me feel relief was when you said at the end, you said, “If it feels a bit shaky at first, then just keep doing it.” I thought I was the only one who it felt a little bit hard for because I had only done it once. So, I was relieved to hear another participant say that, and I was relieved to hear you say, “Oh, that’s normal. Just do more of it and then you’ll get used to it, and you’ll get even more confident at it.”

So, I thought I was getting confident from all the things I’d done in the course. I felt good that I’d feel even more confident by keeping on doing it. I feel like I have a lot more confidence now, now that I’ve done something that scared me. Especially the last module was a little bit scary. But not just that.

Every single module of the course was a confidence-building activity, not just because of the course that I had to submit in terms of the diagrams and things, but going out and talking to people, scheduling meetings with people higher up in the organizational hierarchy who didn’t know who I was and who I thought I had no business talking to because I was just a poor analyst. But in the end, I realized that as a business analyst, I had to take that initiative and go talk to them and I had every right to be there because I was trying to help the organization with my new skills. And they appreciated that. They were all interested, and they said, “Well, good luck. This is great.”

Laura: What a fantastic story. Just to share kind of that uncertainty. I think anybody who takes any sort of training program kind of has that feeling of how am I going to do this? Is it going to work?

One of the challenges with investing in something like we offer at Bridging the Gap, is we ask you to do the work. So, the advantage is, oh, just kind of learn how to do it, and theoretically, you have to go out and apply it. But it’s because that’s where the confidence comes from. So, it’s just great to hear you say that, and then to take it another step and not just be doing the techniques, but going above and beyond to collaborate with your stakeholders. I think that’s where you saw those career results come from. That’s what created that snowball effect so quickly for you. That’s just a fantastic share. Thank you.

Roshni: That’s okay. And I just wanted to add one more thing, if I may. That it’s really great to that in the plan, you actually get us to go out into our place and do the exercises there as opposed to give us theoretical case studies because I found it helpful and extremely confidence building to go out in the real world and do the exercises which, of course, involved talking to people and dealing with real-life scenarios, and I think that’s important as opposed to just doing the coursework based on a theoretical case study.

Laura: Gotcha. So, if you had somebody who was thinking about joining the course and they were nervous about that piece or just not sure that they would get that same result out of it, what advice would you give them to make sure that they get the most out of it and the kind of confidence that you’ve been talking about over the last few minutes?

Roshni: Yes, I would definitely tell them go for it. If they have a passion in becoming a business analyst, then that seed is them already. Of course, there are going to be fears about whether they can do it right or even manage this, and I had the same. But I would say just take the plunge and do it. That’s the best way to get over your fears. It’s okay to take baby steps. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard in recent times is “Insert the thinnest end of the wedge.” That means you don’t have to go and do the scariest thing possible, but you can start by just doing a little bit of it. So, just attempt one exercise.

For example, in module 3, I attempted the ERD, and I thought, oh, this is not so bad. Maybe I can do the other stuff, like a glossary and a data dictionary, and things like that. So, the more you do, the more confidence you get. It’s kind of like a snowball effect. Just pick the thing you’re most excited about or the thing that feels the most doable and the easiest for you, and just do that, and then your confidence will gain momentum from there and it will snowball from there. And you’ll feel more and more capable of doing the rest.

Just from experience, I can say that there’s nothing quite like the rush of doing something that you thought you couldn’t do, and that you were too scared to do. There’s nothing that compares to that rush. I think it needs to be experienced to be believed. I say go for it.

Laura: Awesome. And that is something that you will continue to experience in your BA career because there’s always something new; getting comfortable with that.

Roshni: Yes, even now. And I just wanted to add a couple more things that came to mind that I really appreciate about the course, especially the weekly webinars. They were extremely helpful in keeping me accountable because I felt that I needed and wanted to finish my coursework, or at least finish listening to the module content before the next webinar so that I could ask questions during the webinar. That was nice accountability there.

And, also, valuable bonuses that you give with this course. For example, what I’m appreciating right now is the BA Essentials Master Class because I’m on a project now and I need to know what to do on an end-to-end project and I know that we discuss what to do in like the main sort of activities in the modules and to be able to plan. But then it’s helpful to have that extra bonus of the BA Essentials Master Class so that I know all the nuts and bolts of what to do on an intern project. So, I’m really appreciating that. That’s two more reasons to join the course.

Laura: Thank you. And just one last question for you. If you think back to that January time again, and if you had not decided to move forward with this, where do you think you’d be today vs. everything that you just shared with us?

Roshni: I’d feel really lost. I’d feel very frustrated that six, seven months have passed, and I hadn’t made any progress towards the career I wanted, and I would not have been helping a program manager in a BA capacity right now. My role, I would just be, like it would be floundering, and I wouldn’t have had a targeted approach.

Now, if I want to look for a fully BA role, I can tell recruiters, this is what I’ve done, and these are BA activities, not what I think should be BA activities. These are real activities that I’ve done here and the exercises I have done here. This is what I’ve done in my work place. Here’s the real stuff. I can say that to them now. Whereas if I hadn’t done the course, I wouldn’t be able to say that, and I wouldn’t be having the confidence, most importantly, to say, “Yeah, I can give that a go. Yeah, that’s BA related.” I may have seen that before, or maybe it’s something new that’s BA related. I still wouldn’t have the confidence to say, well, if I can do everything in the BA Blueprint, then I can do this, too. I can give it a go. I can learn, and I can do this.

Laura: Awesome. I’m so excited to hear that you’re assisting a project manager as well. So, you’ve moved forward, even, just since our few months together. That’s awesome.

Well, you have really, I mean, you made this, too, Roshni, I just want to share. The program was designed to do everything that you have just shared with us, but not everybody had these results because not everybody embraced all the activities and confronted their fears, and just went out there and did it and made it happen. So, I just want to acknowledge that as well and acknowledge you and everything that you put into this to make this happen. So, thank you for that. It makes my work feel very fulfilling and rewarding.

Roshni: Thank you so much, Laura. And my thanks to Doug as well because you were both extremely encouraging. I really could not have hoped for better mentors just because you were there every step of the way and the feedback and encouragement, it really, really helped and it really made the difference in me. So, thank you, too.

Laura: Well, thank you so much.

 

Stay informed about new articles and course offerings.

(You'll get a free step-by-step BA career planning course too).

Click here to learn more