Earlier this week I spent two days at BAWorld Denver. It was an amazing event. It’s great to spend a few days immersed in topics related to business analysis and chatting with other BAs. I met lots of great professionals and have a list of take-aways that spans a few extra pages in my conference notebook. Just thinking about those two days gives me a warm fuzzy. If there is a BAWorld near you, definitely check it out.
Now, my “Becoming a Promotable BA” didn’t get quite the attendance I was hoping for. But those who attended were amazing and offered great insights from their careers. Amongst at least a few that ushered themsleves over to the business rules session, there seemed to be a bit of guilt in learning about “being promoted” instead of “hard skills I can use to do my job better.”
This helped me realize that while I titled my talk about the result — the promotions and all the fun stuff that happens when you are a great BA — I’m really talking about how you get there. How are you going to take some new abstract knowledge on business rules and actually use it to make a difference? How are you going to add more value to your projects so that you are assigned to more interesting ones? It’s the “how you get there” that attracts interest and I had, alas, let it slip my mind why it’s so important to talk about our value.
Then, today, I received a strong reminder. Many thanks to @MrAlanCooper for the following two tweets.
What did @rotkapchen have to say? Ah, a few things, but they aren’t quite so nice. In fact, way back when I had to shut down a blog post here because her comments about requirements templates had become inflammatory. I abide by the policy that if I wouldn’t let it happen at a dinner party in my living room, it’s not going to happen on Bridging the Gap either. I don’t invite people over and let them throw insults at my friends. You can read the comments if you wish or just get a flavor of the tone below.
While I’d love to say this is an isolated instance, this Twitter conversation represents the fact that there are others talking about business analysts as if it’s a load of crap and business analysts as change-resistant requirements documenters. This is an important perspective to understand. Like it or not, there are grains of truth in these comments. Grains representing individuals BAs who were focused on finishing documents as opposed to discovering value or protecting their role as gatekeepers instead of communicators. Even if these harsh statements don’t reflect you, there might be things you do that support these types of perceptions (something I’m speaking about next week at WI-BADD).
With a bit of trepidation, I’m reopening the discussion. I’m not quite sure what’s going to happen. Maybe you’ll read this post and shrug your shoulders and click away. Or maybe I’ll stir up a new fire. Heck, it is Friday afternoon, why not have a little fun? This time, I won’t put it out. i.e. this comments section on this post is not my living room. And while you can write what you wish, barring obscenities and spreading false information, I’d highly suggest you apply your own internal filters and treat others with respect, attempt to absorb their perspectives, and learn from what you read.
I’m mostly interested in hearing from BAs. How do you react to this negative perception of our craft? How do you do you work in such a way that you are above such criticism?