Are You Stretching Yourself Enough to Become a Great BA?

Here’s a note from one of our readers who has made an important career decision and is seeing the positive results of that decision.

Laura, I wanted to let you know that your article on system knowing and BA competencies has been a critical article for me, as this both encouraged me to make a recent job transition, and it has been assisting me in pulling through that transition. In short, I began questioning my skillset and considering if I was an effective Business Systems Analyst, or if I was relying on my technical and systems knowledge to see me through. When I initially encountered this article, I put a two-fold plan into action: a. achieving the CBAP certification (I suppose as ‘proof’ of my BSA legitimacy, as well as an avenue to opening new opportunities), and b. breaking away from my current domain and existing systems knowledge (with which I had grown comfortable) to a completely different domain in which I had no little to no prior knowledge.

It was a frightening choice, and I had to keep telling myself why I was making the move. When I finally made the move, I had to once again tell myself why I had made the move. Even now, when I get discouraged and crave the familiarity of old systems, I realize I need to maintain faith in my BA competencies (I might make a case that the BA profession is in itself a ‘system’!). I admit, I was surprised that I was hired into a new domain sector (even if inside the same industry), so I consider myself lucky to have been hired by someone with the foresight to recognize that BA/BSA skills need not be systems nor domain specific.

Clearly, Eve is taking on the right challenges and taking ownership of her career. Clearly she sees herself as part of the BA profession and is focused on staying relevant. Clearly, we are really lucky to have her here at Bridging the Gap.

My challenge to you this week is to consider whether or not you are taking on the right challenges to move your career forward. Are you stuck in a comfortable place where new challenges are few and far between? Or, are you taking steps to put yourself in the uncomfortable situations that create growth. I dare you to take a critical look at where you are at, and where you are headed and see if it might make good career sense to stretch yourself just a bit farther.

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9 thoughts on “Are You Stretching Yourself Enough to Become a Great BA?”

  1. Michelle Swoboda

    Grayson, that is exactly it. It is like a new baby every [project. They each have their own quirks and twists and mostly they work out quite well. I feel such a sense of accomplishment when each is complete.

    1. Grayson is right. The feeling at the end of the project is really something else. For me, it’s like getting on a ride while building the ride. There are times, I have felt, literally, out of breath from focused efforts. I have felt like I have run a mile. But the end is always sweet (granted I end up inside the milestone 😉 ).

  2. What I enjoy most about being a BA is the job is never boring for me. Whether it’s analyzing new systems or new ideas for a system from the business, I’m always learning and growing. For me, being a BA is like being a mom. I have the opportunity of creating the baby and watching how it grows, encouraging a healthy path, and hopefully see it fulfill its maturity and benefit to society. (Oh my, I must be feeling very philosophical this morning…lol).

  3. When we moved from a company in which I’ve been the SME for a long time (read several years) to a new platform that is housed in the parent company I wondered how it would be to lose my “SMEness”. Well, it has really pushed me to become proficient with the new business rules and new functionalities. Interestingly enough I am now called on to answer questions on the new stuff! Sometimes it is really a stretch to get it right but it is a good stretch. I’m having fun with it because I realized I can still learn and grow at a fast pace. I’m glad I have the opportunity to prove myself in the new world even though my anwers are sometimes wrong.

  4. Michelle Swoboda

    Every time I think I am settling in and following the steps of being a BA – something changes! Currently we are working with the project management team who has published a project life cycle that includes the BA work. You may think it funny that I just said that – however this life cycle was prepared and published without the input of the BA team 🙂
    So, since my projects are further along than the rest of the team, I am working through the deliverables that I usually prepare and some of the additional items that I have never heard of before. I am doing a lot of research and talking to a lot of my colleagues to find templates.
    I had never seen a BI Requirements Definition or a formalized requirements management plan. There are others but I will stop there.
    So, my wonderful job that I love – is becoming more robust and I am stretching myself as I develop these new templates.

    1. Michelle, What a way to take advantage of a problem and turn it into a career-building opportunity! You’ll have to share more about what you are doing in a future post so we can all learn from your experiences!

  5. Now this came through just on the right time! I applied for a new position and I am shortlisted. Suddenly this afternoon, the fear of moving out of my comfort zone overwhelmed me. I have no framework of reference whatsoever in the industry of the company I applied to. Maybe it’s time to face my fear and move out of my comfort zone. Thanks for the encouragement.

    1. Hilda,
      How wonderful to hear that! Yes, you will be able to learn the industry and the company. It can feel awkward at first but it is definitely rewarding in the end! I say go for it!

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