How to Successfully Launch Your Business Analyst Career
Free Training (Part 3 of 3)

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Modules include…


Full text of The Industry-Standard Practices that Make You an “Official” Business Analyst

Hi there. I’m Laura Brandenburg from Bridging the Gap. Welcome to part 3 of our workshop.

I want to start out with a big thank you to everyone who has watched and commented on the first 2 parts of this workshop. It’s been great seeing you reflect the opportunities you see for yourselves in a business analyst role, and also already gaining momentum by diving right in to analyze a business process.

To quickly recap part 2 – we looked at how analyzing a business process can help you capitalize on the immense opportunities available to you within the business analysis career path. I shared my story of how I went from QA to BA by essentially defining a new test process and engaging with many stakeholders across the organization.

After interviewing dozens of other business analysts as part of authoring my best-selling book, How to Start a Business Analyst Career, I discovered that many business analysts also fell into business analyst roles.

But then I helped Wendy, who was a software developer, analyze her organization’s custom code deployment process, and her organization was so impressed with her work that they created a BA role for her. She proved to me that it was possible to create a business analyst career path with intention – not just by “falling” into the role like so many of us had.

Lane Malone followed a similar path – from a more business-focused role in donor management and analyzed the restricted giving process. This led her to a way to do the work she loved doing the most.

Kira Judge Gains Confidence (Even Without Certification)

Since then we’ve had hundreds of participants go through our programs and move forward on their BA career goals. And their successes have been absolutely amazing.

For example, there is Kira Judge who was in a Senior Business Analyst job but was really lacking confidence. Before learning the skills we cover in The Business Analyst Blueprint® – which I’ll be showing you in this video – she struggled with seemingly simple things, like who to copy on an email chain. She was so worried about taking up someone’s time with her request that she thought and re-thought the email phrasing and who to send it to.

By learning these skills and seeing the value of these skills to her organization, she developed confidence in the value of her work. She no longer worries about who she’s sending an email to because she is more concerned about making a positive impact on her projects.

And this confidence came without receiving her certification either, which is a path Kira had been exploring. We’ve been receiving a lot of questions about certifications and if they are relevant for those getting started in business analysis.

Certifications can be an extra edge – and all of our programs help you earn the professional credits you need to apply for a certification with IIBA® or PMI® – two of the world’s leading industry associations supporting project management and business analysis professionals. But what’s more important in terms of getting your start is the actual on-the-job experience doing BA work, and your own personal self-confidence in the value of your work.

This is what’s making a difference for Kira, even before earning a certification.

Munzolli Gains Confidence in His Experience Moves Into a Senior BA Role in a New Domain

As another example, Munzolli Tower had several certifications including his CBAP® before joining The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program. His BA experience was limited to a single business domain where he had been a subject matter expert. He wanted to make sure he was good in business analysis and that his experience was transferable to any industry.

Munzolli is now in a Senior BA role in a new company in a different business domain, working on all different kinds of projects.

Manuel Moves from Quality Assurance to Business Analysis

Then there is Manuel. Like me, Manuel was in a quality assurance role. While in The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program, he developed the confidence to add “Business Analyst” to his email signature and just started applying what he was learning – all the skills I’m about to cover with you – in his QA work.

Almost immediately, his manager suggested he take on a more BA-type of project. A year later, he moved into a new position at a new company working as a ServiceNow business analyst. For him, this change meant having more challenges in his day-to-day work, and an opportunity to grow and do more with his career.

Let’s step back and take a look at the big picture here, and look at the skills that Kira, Munzolli, and Manuel all acquired that gave them this internal sense of confidence in their abilities.

Let’s Take a Look at The Business Analyst Blueprint®

This is The Business Analyst Blueprint®. I created this model based on my years of experience helping BAs get started – and looking at what core skills you actually have to have in your toolbox to get recognized as a BA.

The Blueprint provides a visual overview of the 12 different business analyst skills that help you avoid missing requirements on a typical software project.

  • Business Level – this is the level where we look at what the business does. By analyzing at this level, we can often discover the real business problem and do the critical work of aligning different stakeholder groups about what the process is and should be.
  • Software Level – this is the level that we look at what the software does to support the business process, or what the functional requirements or features are.
  • Information Level – this is the level that we look at how our organization stores and manages data to support the software functionality and business processes. You don’t have to be a database engineer to do this. Many aspects of the information level are critically important for BAs and business stakeholders to understand and make decisions on.

BA happens at all of these levels. And includes both analysis, or the deliverables you create to analyze the requirements, along with communication techniques you use to engage your stakeholders in the requirements process.

Business Analysis Never Happens in a Vacuum

This is really important because business analysis never happens in a vacuum.

BAs are facilitators of organizational change and involve business and technology stakeholders in every step of the process.

You probably remember Wendy’s story and how she was able to tackle a business process for her software development team and then several months later had a business analyst role created just for her.  A big part of the work she did in analyzing that process was discovering the details from her coworkers on the software development team and then reviewing and validating the process with them, and ultimately with her management team.

Are You a Business Analyst?

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is, “Am I really a business analyst?” My answer is this – how many of these skills are you applying? And to what depth?

No matter what your title, it’s very possible you are in a business analyst role.

In our last video, I gave you some in-depth teaching on analyzing a business process, which is a major component of the business level. So in this part of the workshop, I’d like to take a deeper look at the software and information levels.

Software Requirements Clarify What the Software Will Do

Let’s start by looking at software requirements.

A use case is a textual model that describes how a user (or human being) interacts with a software system.

A wireframe is a visual representation of what a software system might look like.

Business analysts typically use these techniques as part of analyzing and specifying software requirements – or changes to existing software or the requirements for entirely new pieces of software, or customizations or configurations of a system you buy or subscribe to.

If you don’t have a technical background, these techniques help you get to the level of detail you need to get to in the requirements, even without knowing the details of the system.

If you do have a technical background, these techniques help you get out of tech-speak, and communicate what exactly the software will do in a way that a business user can understand and provide feedback on. Remember, engaging our stakeholders is a really important aspect of the requirements process – we don’t do this work in a vacuum.

I analyzed and reviewed nearly 100 use cases with their corresponding wireframes in my first business analyst role – the one I had transitioned into from QA.

But I really understood their power when I switched companies. You see, in that first BA role, even though I didn’t know how to code, I did understand the systems quite well. I understood how the pieces and parts were put together, and so I could have intelligent conversations with the technical team. In fact, sometimes I understood things too well – and found myself proposing specific technical solutions before getting buy-in on the requirements. I had to completely backtrack and focus on reviewing and validating exactly what we wanted the system to be able to do, and then allow the technical team to architect the solution. That was one of my biggest rookie mistakes!

In my new role in a new company, I didn’t understand the technology stack. It was a completely different language, a different type of database.

But I still had use cases and I used them as a tool to clarify what the business stakeholders really wanted and then collaborate with the technical team on possible solutions. It was in this second role where I also learned a few of the data modeling techniques I’m going to show you here in just a few minutes.

Use Cases Are Everywhere!

Just like business processes. Use cases really are everywhere.

Some of the use cases I analyzed include:

  • Search for Article
  • Login to Product
  • Order Document

Some of the use cases our course participants have analyzed include:

  • Update Customer Information
  • Generate Report
  • Submit Quote
  • Resolve Ticket
  • Book Ride

The use case basically takes you step-by-step through the interaction between an end-user and the software system. And the wireframe shows what that interaction might look like.

You can literally find them just about everywhere. Any software application you use on your computer or your phone has functionality that can be analyzed in a use case.

Data Modeling Is Critical to Understanding the Business

Next, let’s talk about data modeling.

So much of our work as BAs can be about getting information that’s currently managed via spreadsheets and forms into information systems.

And to do that, we need to understand the data model and help our business stakeholders make informed decisions about how those data models will support their business processes.

Let’s take a quick glance at the different data modeling techniques in The Blueprint.

A Glossary Clearly Defines Business Terminology

A glossary is a list of terms and their definitions, which will help you clarify business terminology to more quickly learn new domains and expertly break down the jargon.

An Entity Relationship Diagram Shows How Business Concepts Relate

An entity relationship diagram (ERD) visually shows how business concepts relate to one another. For example, how do a customer and order relate in an information system?

Now, this document can also look quite technical – and it can be – it’s the same type of model that’s used to create a physical database model. But when done from a business perspective, at a much higher level of abstraction, it helps you clarify key concepts and the relationships between then.

One of our participants, Sara Rankin, who came into business analysis from a training role gained an immense amount of confidence from putting together an ERD. She even showed it to her developer and he was so surprised that she knew how to put one of these together. She received some serious street cred with the developer after showing him the ERD and showing that she could understand more technical concepts without getting too techy.

A System Context Diagram Shows How One System Interfaces With Other Systems

A system context diagram visualizes how information flows between systems and clarify boundaries. For example, when you place an order on a website, how does that information flow to the vendor fulfilling the order?

This is an essential model for a system integration project, as often the integration between two systems is defined by how data is passed back and forth.

Data Dictionary Provides Detailed Information about Business Data Elements

A data dictionary is a list of data elements stored by an information system with key information describing each one. For example, when you complete your order on Amazon, there is an order ID, several fields with billing and shipping information, the product ordered, along with the quantity, and your shipping preferences. There could easily be 30 or 40 fields of information tracked for each order.

Data Map is Critical for System Migration and Integration Projects

Data mapping is important when you are moving data from one system to another or integrating information between systems. This model is incredibly important in system migration projects, and also system integration projects.

One question we receive a lot is, “Do I need to know SQL to be successful as a BA?” There are some more technically-focused BA roles that require you to know SQL. Others are more reporting-focused data analyst type roles, where you are doing more ongoing data analysis and reporting work.

The thing is, once you know these data modeling skills, you can talk intelligently about the data and help your business users make informed decisions about the data, even if you don’t know SQL. This gives you a lot of confidence like it did with Sara.

And if you happen to come from a more technical background, these skills help you engage the business stakeholders more effectively by giving you a framework to communicate about these technical concepts in a business-focused way.

Whew! That probably felt like a whirlwind. And it was. I pulled the pieces from a 36-credit program that we run over the span of 4 months and packed it into a 20-minute video to give you as much value as I possibly can in this free online workshop.

This Is Really about YOU

So let’s take a step back, and consider what this is really all about.

  • This is really about confidence – your confidence.
  • It’s really about having a toolbox of techniques that you can use to meet any situation on a project.
  • It’s about looking at the requirements from multiple perspectives, to avoid missing requirements.
  • It’s about engaging your stakeholders in meaningful ways so you can make the requirements fun for them – and get their best input on a project.

So really, this is about being successful as a business analyst.

Because when you know how to do all the techniques in The Business Analyst Blueprint® and you have confidence that you can do them in an expert way, then you can officially call yourself a business analyst (just like Manuel decided to do) and feel ready to you can handle any type of project as a business analyst.

And when you have that confidence, then you’ll feel more secure in your role and more easily earn the respect of your stakeholders and management.

Let’s Look at How You Build Confidence in Your BA Skills

Now, I have a free download for you. It’s our Business Analyst Skills Assessment. You can use it to determine what skills you already have and at what level, and figure out where your gaps are.

The next step to your success is to fill in those gaps – and build up confidence in areas where you might have some experience but not feel super sure of yourself in terms of applying industry standards. For Munzolli, that was the difference between staying in a role where he was the expert and moving into a senior role in a new domain.

In terms of filling in gaps, or even building confidence in areas where you don’t have an actual gap but perhaps don’t feel 100% sure of your skillset, there are 3 steps to this.

1 – Absorb learning material that teaches you how to use the skill in an industry-standard way.

2 – Apply the learning material in your real-world work setting. This is important, both because most BA jobs require actual on-the-job experience and because you’ll gain so much more confidence in applying the technique on your actual work than you will in a classroom setting or working on a fictitious case study.

As we saw with analyzing a business process, there are always opportunities, no matter what your professional role is. And the same is true with the other techniques we’ve covered today as well.

3 – Have your work reviewed by an expert. This gives you the confidence that you are applying the techniques in an industry-standard way, and that your way of working as a BA is going to serve you outside your current organization or project team.

Here’s What’s Coming Next

And I’ve absolutely LOVED sharing this content with you.

It has been awesome seeing the excitement and the early results just from analyzing a business process, let alone the opportunities from being aware of the power of all the skills covered today in The Business Analyst Blueprint®. I’m excited about the impact I know you’ll make as you gain more confidence in your business analysis skills.

Many people have been asking about what training they can go to that will help them learn all the skills they need to be successful as a business analyst. In my future communications, I’m going to be sharing how to go even deeper with me. I’ll be opening up an online program I’ve put together – The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program – and we’ll be taking on a limited number of participants who want to go deeper.

The program is online and highly interactive. We’ve had participants from all over the world, and in all types of industries participate.

Why I Started Training Business Analysts (the Answer Might Surprise You)

I’ll be sharing more details about the program soon – so stay tuned. For now, I’d like to share a bit more about WHY I created this program.

When I created my first course back in 2012, there were a lot of options in the market. Yet people kept coming to me looking for more help.

And I was frustrated because the traditional way of training business analysts wasn’t working.

  • People who had been in 3-5 day training programs then struggled to apply what they learned – or even get the opportunity to be a BA.
  • Or people who had college or even masters-level degrees in BA-related disciplines but were stuck and not getting traction in their BA careers.

When I started Bridging the Gap back in 2008, I didn’t set out to create a training company. I resisted this for a long, long time! But there was a day I realized I had to – that our community needed something different. That YOU deserve a program that actually works.

So I set out to create it.

I set out to teach other business analysts the skills that had served me so well as a business analyst, and how to do them in a fun and engaging way. And to create a learning model that would actually help you build real confidence by providing ample time learning, real-world application, and an expert instructor review so you know you are on the right track.

Again, I’ll be sharing more details soon about joining the next session of The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program.

But in the meantime, I would love to hear from you. What would feeling confident in ALL of these techniques mean to you – professionally and personally?

Please Scroll Down and Leave a Comment for Me

I’ve been reading every comment and responding to dozens of them and I would love to hear from you.

Again, I’m Laura Brandenburg at Bridging the Gap. We build our profession one business analyst at a time, and success starts with you.

Comments

  1. Hello Laura,

    Thank you once again for all of this wonderful information! It’s been very informative as I strive to start a career as a business analyst!

    Nicole

  2. Hello Facilitator Laura;
    Am very grateful and I appreciate your work, you time and energy you invested to teach us all this.
    Am happy and I have learnt much because I though I know but I have rediscovered how much I don’t know.
    Am learning how to work with stakeholders and be able to communicate effectively. I am learning how to beat resistance by persuasion rather than holding back ideas being resisted.
    I have more technical skills but my way of delivering requirements needs to be simplified and broken down, a skill gap I have found I have.
    Thank you and God bless you much.

    Lote

    • Hi Lote,

      You are so welcome and thank you for sharing such a big and inspiring AHA here. You’ve clearly identified the factor that can make it challenging for those with technical knowledge moving into BA roles. They know so much and often see the solutions with such clarity, that they really need to work on their communication tools.

      One reframe for you – instead of “beat resistance by persuasion” start thinking about “creating buy-in”. It’s a significant paradigm shift and will transform how you engage with your stakeholders. All of the analytical tools and communication techniques we’ve covered here in The Business Analyst Blueprint are about creating buy-in from your business and technology stakeholders.

  3. Hi Laura, as a IT Project Manager , I realize that a big part of my role is trying to put together all kind of requirements from the business and the users before drafting any project plan.In fact, I have never used a proven-process to cover all requirement aspects.Your program would certainly give me more clarity and direction on where to start an IT project based on the maturity of the business and user needs.
    Thank you to keep me informed about your training

    • Hi Stephane,
      What a great AHA here. Yes, many Project Managers also do BA work. And the “IT Project Manager” title in particular often seems to represent a business analysis role. We will be sharing information about The Business Analyst Blueprint training program this week. Please stay tuned.

  4. Hello Laura !!!

    Thank you for the third video it has more information and gave confidence in so many aspects. Please keep us informed about the Live sessions a bit earlier as I am from India there is a time difference and I do not want to miss any opportunity to learn more on BA jobs.

    Request you to guide on what course we should be taking up to start with and more information about the BA Blueprint course and how to take this further.

    So happy to see you read all the comments and reply to them. Thanks again!!!

    Regards,
    Pooja

    • Hi Pooja,

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this part 3 of the workshop. They aren’t live so you aren’t behind. 🙂 I will be sharing more about The Business Analyst Blueprint training program next week. Stay tuned!

  5. Alexander Alvarez P. says

    Hi Laura,
    Sorry for the inconvenience but could you give me your point of view on the difference between Business Analysis and Business Analytics. Thank you very much in advance.
    Best regards
    Alexander Alvarez P.

    • Alexander Alvarez P. says

      From my point of view they mean the same thing but I want to know your opinion since you are the expert. Thanks.
      Best regards
      Alexander Alvarez P.

    • Hi Alexander, Both of these titles are used in various ways and inconsistently. We teach the BA skills outlined in this video training, which involves how you leverage software to improve a business process. An business analytics role would be more data-focused – so not just modeling the data but analyzing the data to find opportunities for improvement. They do go hand in hand and often the same person fills both roles.

      In case you are interested in exploring this further, here’s a video on the difference between data analysis and data modeling:
      https://www.bridging-the-gap.com/data-analysis-data-modeling-difference/

  6. Nikita Deokar says

    hi Laura
    Loved the online sessions, I do realize though I was not entitled as business analyst I was working on the same lines in my previous organisation for 2 years. I am an SAP Consultant working and was for support and maintenance project for automobile client in North America , there was lot of requirement gathering ,documenting technical and functional specifications ,getting it done from teams and finally delivering it. I moved to toronto recently and looking out for jobs however finding it difficult to get job as SAP consultant with just 2 years of experience. Will pitching as Business Analyst open more doors and help me get more interviews.?? Also will the Blueprint program certificate be recognized/accepted by the recruiters/HR in Canada?

    • Hi Nikita, It definitely sounds like you could expand your potential job opportunities by exploring BA roles and not just SAP roles. Upon your successful completion of The Business Analyst Blueprint training program, you received a Certificate of Completion. It is valid for 36 PDs – what you need to apply for the CBAP® or other IIBA® or PMI® certifications.

      Yes, this training may be recognized by recruiters, but what we really find is that the confidence our participants have in their foundational BA skills helps them frame their resume effectively and be more confident in the BA job interview, and that’s what matters most.

      Take Perry McGuire’s success story as an example: https://www.bridging-the-gap.com/perry-mcguire/

  7. Laura,
    This is awesome!
    Thank you for your 3-part videos regarding The Business Analyst Blueprint!
    Christine

  8. Hi Laura,

    Thank you for these tutorials, very helpful. I am an Office Manager for a behavioral health clinic. I’ve worked in this particular capacity for about 3 years, but I’ve spent almost 8 years performing administrative work for various non-profit agencies. As I am currently studying to be a master-level social worker performing administration and leadership functions, I found that the techniques you spoke about have a unique place in my role here. However, I am hoping to take my current skill set to the next level.

    I believe I registered for your blueprint training, but I get a bit confused with all the emails I receive about these 3 videos. Am I on the list for your training? Just hoping to confirm with you.

    Thanks again for your willingness to share your expertise.

    • Hi Yvette,

      You are so welcome. I absolutely love the idea of bringing BA skills to your leadership role in social work. BA skills really add value anywhere, and this is the perfect way to take your career to the next level.

      As far as your registration for The Bluerprint, can you please email my team at info@bridging-the-gap.com about your course registration and the email you used to register? They will be able to confirm you are all set. I look forward to having you join us!

  9. Dear Laura,
    You are amazing ! and your Blueprint program is more than awesome. I did it in last session and I am using the course materials every time I am asked to provide business analysis .
    For instance, tomorrow, I am going to provide a scope statement with the business requirements to a project manager . Before doing this work , I re-read all the sections related to this subject …
    I am more than happy, I am in fact delighted that I have followed your courses and have now all materials at hand .
    Many thanks to you and your great team .

    • Hi Zineb,
      Great to hear what’s been happening for you in your career. It sounds like you are creating some fantastic opportunities to continue to expand your business analysis skills, experience and role. I’m so glad the course materials are continuing to benefit you.

  10. Lisa Hooper says

    I received a lot of encouragement from these videos – thank you so much!

  11. Alexander Alvarez P. says

    Thank you very much for sharing your great experience through these three lessons. There are free software options you can recommend for wireframes design; I currently use Pencil. What free software would recommend for the design of business processes, I currently use BizAgiModel. I know there is another software better called Appian but it is not free software. And something very personal I ask you is to add all the figures or images shown in the videos in the full text.
    Best regards.
    Alexander Alvarez P.

  12. Hi Laura,

    I have experience working as a business analyst for a year. However, I feel that if I would have applied these skills as you listed in the course in my role then I would have become more successful. Currently, I am looking for a full-time role and hence I am actively searching for it. Meanwhile, I am also learning from your videos and articles.

    I have a question regarding the blueprint training that you mentioned in the video and that is: Since I am currently not working but I am willing to take up the training, how am I going to apply the skills that I learn in this case? Does your training provide any live or simulated projects where I can apply my learning?

    Please help me in this scenario.

    Thank you,
    Priyanka

  13. Hi Laura,

    I’m a practicing BA but I have learned a lot from the shared materials. I believe that this is not only for the starters but also those already practicing since learning is so endless! Some of us honestly lacked this simple but great introduction into the career.

    Thanks for sharing and keep-up the great job.

    • Hi Samuel, You are so welcome and I’m glad you are benefiting from the free training. We do have BAs of all levels join and benefit from our training programs as so many of us are not exposed to industry-standard best practices early in our careers.

  14. Thank you so much Laura! Your videos feel so warm and inviting. As an aspiring BA I really appreciate you breaking down the fundamentals in an easily digestible way. I hope you will continue making these online training videos; they’re extremely helpful!

  15. Madan Mohan Dasila says

    Hi Laura,

    Thanks for this wonderful and knowledgeable session for define key(skills) for BA profile

  16. Darlene V Holland says

    Laura,

    OMG! I just started a new role as a Functional Analyst (coming from Project Management Financial Analyst/Project Coordinator). I came across your course about 2 years ago and I thought I save the link. However, I searched for my videos and COULD NOT find it…I could not remember your name, the course name or anything else. I prayed, low and behold, yesterday I received an email from you! God does answer prayers (and QUICK)! When is the course starting? I look forward to it…I NEED IT DESPERATELY!!!

    In this role, I am so lost! I REALLY need your help! I have very little assistance to learn this role.

    • HI Darlene! I am so grateful you found your way here at just the right time. The course is starting next Thursday, February 28, and we’d love to have you join us. There is a link at the top of this page and you should have one in your email as well.

      And congrats on your new role!

  17. Ruwanthi de Silva says

    Hi Laura,
    I’m glad that I was able to find this blog as I’m thinking of change my track to BA right now! I’m from software QA background and I have been working for five years.
    I’m so grateful! Your videos are excellent! Short and sweet! It gives a very clear idea about the BA concepts. Not only that but also you encouraged me on my track change by giving the opportunity to make me aware of how to apply these techniques in practical scenarios. I’m hoping that the BA blueprint will make this even stronger!
    Ruwanthi de Silva – Associte Consultant QA

    • Hi Ruwanthi,
      I’m so glad you are enjoying the training, and we look forward to having you join us for The Business Analyst Blueprint – our participants experience the confidence that comes from applying these techniques in real-world scenarios.

  18. What are the certification levels / grading system for BA’s please

  19. Thanks again Laura!

    Working at a Fortune 500+ company and not getting accolades for achievements and current analysis work…. will use this information to maybe get recognized and move on.

    • Perfect, Patricia. Sometimes it’s just a confidence boost that you need, to make sure you get recognized for the analysis you are doing. Or make the subtle tweaks that make that analysis more effective, so you do receive the respect and recognition you truly deserve.

  20. Barbie Henig says

    Hello Laura,

    Thank you for so generously sharing your Business Analysis wisdom! I am a BA who is currently in transition, eager to create a “flow chart” of a business’s challenges & needs, taking the solution process from [Start] Problem to Success [End]. I’m taking an opportunity every day to learn something new, and today’s lessons were both validating and inspiring. I can always add a new tool to the toolkit, or remind myself of a forgotten page of the blueprint.

    • Hi Barbie,

      Thanks for sharing, and I’m so glad that we helped you validate your business analyst skills and experience. It is inspiring to see just how much you know, and how much you are able to do.

  21. Hi Laura – the passion you have for this field shows is inspiring. I am new to this (4ish years) and you hit the nail on the head for me in the first video. What am I doing? Am I doing this right? I am so lost! I’m glad to be in the boat with so many other folks – and with terrific folks like you leading the way out of the fog!!

  22. I’ve been a business analyst for around 3 years now and have worked with both waterfall and agile methodologies. I really enjoy working on agile projects for many reasons, but am recently struggling to see the value that a BA can bring. It feels like I’m either a proxy-PO as there’s a lot of overlap in the role bar final accountability for product decisions, or the UX team are doing the BA analysis that I normally would: looking at customer journeys and analysis into issues etc. You touched on it briefly in this video but what do you think is the real value a BA can bring to a scrum team? I don’t want to turn into a user story “ticket monkey” as I know I can bring so much more than that. I’ve also heard that to bring more value you need more technical knowledge to go into in-depth problem solving with devs and QA – do you agree or is there somewhere else I can add value?

    • Hi Chesney, Great question! And the answer really depends on where you want to go with your career.

      So, yes, supporting the PO is a great place for the BA to be.

      Another option is to step out of the team, and be looking at business processes and requirements across sprints and teams, and doing the higher-level BA work that stitches everything together strategically. It sounds like you might be ready for this step.

      Or, merge your BA work with some UX expertise to be qualified for those roles in your organization.

  23. This video contained EXACTLY the information I’ve been looking for. I’ve gravitated toward BA work for most of my career and have been quite successful at it but never learned the technical skills. I’m at a point where I know I need to fill that skill gap to really move forward into a solid BA role. I am very interested in your training but I’ve been out of the work force for a few years taking care of family. Do you provide business situations to work with in the training or do we need to be able to draw from our own work experience? I’m now starting to look into returning to the work force part time and am hoping to find a BA gig. I’d like to do a training like yours to both refresh myself, build my confidence and finally really learn these technical skills. Thoughts on embarking on the training while not employed?

    • Hi Wendie,

      I’m so glad this information resonated with you! And I’m glad you are interested in The Business Analyst Blueprint™ too. It is a great way to refresh your skills and confidence.

      We get this question about case studies a lot and what to do if you are not currently employed. The Bridging the Gap learning model specifically encourages you to apply the course materials in your real world work, even if you aren’t formally in a business analyst position, because this is how we see participants get the most benefit from the course and take their careers to the next level. This also means that you get to leverage our instructor support on your real-world project work for the full 4 months of the program.

      Participants who are in-between jobs get the most benefit if they volunteer, say at a non-profit or small business, to apply the key business analysis techniques to help that organization improve its processes and systems.

      When these scenarios do not work out, we do have alternate suggestions to apply the techniques in your personal life or using publicly available systems, so there is still a way to successfully complete the program.

      In this session of The Business Analyst Blueprint™, I will also be hosting kick-off webinars for each module with the exclusive focus of helping all participants choose the best project to help them move their career forward.

      We sincerely hope you can join us. If you have any other questions about the program, please post here or reply to this email. We’d be happy to answer them for you.

  24. Thanks for sharing your insights Laura. Looking forward to learn more from you.

    • You are welcome Ankisha. Are you considering joining us for The Business Analyst Blueprint?

      • Segun Ibigbemi says

        Thanks Laura for your laudable efforts at helping BAs get the right foundation not only to kick off their career but to quickly make progress. Your videos and other resources are so rich in content and added value! I’ve been working as a BA for about 5years now having come from years of PM experience in oil & gas. However, I still find your videos quite refreshing and engaging and have used some of your materials for mentoring junior BAs. Some of them have also enrolled on your courses. Thanks once again and please keep up the excellent work!

      • Hi Segun,

        You are so welcome. And thank you for sharing our resources with your BAs and for the work you are doing mentoring others. It is so incredibly important to build up our profession.

  25. Jennifer Inman says

    Hi Laura,

    Great video as always!

    One thing you talked about is having these core skills that you can use on different projects. That really helps! Obviously in today’s economy, people will probably move from job to job, department to department, and possibly industry to industry. So I’m assuming that these skills and templates can travel anywhere?

    Also, you’ve given us templates, how can we use them in our jobs as far as copyrights, etc., and if we customize them for ourselves or for the projects we work on, how do we give Bridging the Gap credit for the original?

    Thank you for all these encouraging videos and transcripts. I’ve printed out the transcripts and put sections up on my wall as encouragement!

    Take care, and thanks for all the free advice 🙂 🙂
    Jennifer

    • Hi Jennifer,

      What a great point – yes business analysis skills are timeless, and transfer with you from job to job, and title to title. There are probably 5-10X more people doing business analysis have the title “Business Analyst”.

      if you are recreating the templates from the visuals, they are really your own. That’s how copyright works – you cannot copyright an idea. If you buy our templates, you can update them for your own personal / business use, you just can’t resell them or give them to others as your own. (I have to say that because we’ve had people do it.)

      • Jennifer Inman says

        Okay, thank you!!

        I so appreciate the way you interact with all of us! I get a lot of good stuff from other people’s questions and answers as well.

        Have a great week 😀

  26. Hi Laura,
    This class has been great. I’m doing some of this BA work in the presently and not realized that this is what I’m doing at the time. I left the software development about 6 month years ago. I have learned that I belong back in the software development and I taking responsibility for a few areas that I think I need work on in order to get into a BA role. I am planning on a new opportunity and that opportunity will allow me to grow in any way that I want so I will definitely take all the hard work that you have done review it and try to apply it.

    • Hi Awais,
      Thanks for your feedback and I love that you are taking responsibility for your career direction. There are always ways to apply the BA techniques – so start exactly where you are improving and expanding your skills. Good things will come of it.

  27. Hi Laura, hope youre having a wonderful day.
    I’m pursuing a Health Service Administration and graduate this Fall. I Just got a BA Internship at a big insurance company. I’m very excited I got this position and motivated to work my way up the company with knowledge. I was hoping on getting more information and knowledge since I’ve never had any education on BA. I checked all your videos in the free courses section and really enjoyed them. I’m interested in continuing my education but my current economic situation is not the best. I was wondering if you and your team are interested in sponsoring a very motivated student.

    I wish you the best.

    • Hi David,

      Congrats on your college degree and your internship. We do find many participants invest in our training alongside or after their college degrees, to get the practical knowledge they need to succeed in BA roles. We are not able to offer scholarships at this time, and we look forward to having you join one of our programs when the time is right for you to invest.

  28. Dear Laura,

    WOW its wonderful lecture! This information helps me alot. Couple of year i am floating with lots of jargon about BA. Could not figure out what is my role in BA. I am not directly playing BA role but my 40 work related to BA. I love your information and examples that makes me so clear what is about it. Your complete specification about the terms clear me and confident me a lot. As i am information system developer, your example makes a lot of sense to me. I have to deal with many stakeholders, end users, as well as developers including me. Thank you very much! I will look forward to your training if there is any.

    • Hi Sanjida,

      Thanks for your positive feedback. Yes, it definitely sounds like you are in somewhat of a business analysis role and by learning how to apply these skills you could bring more clarity and engagement to your role with stakeholders and end users!

  29. Dawn Ramasike says

    Thank you Laura for this insightful videos. I have been in the business analyst role for about a year now, in a banking organisation. It’s been quite an interesting role that I’m doing. Most of the time I have been feeling like I more of a reporting analyst than a business analyst because all my work is around reporting on sales and service performance. So my work evolves around creating reports that the business unit uses to monitor and improve performance. My question is how can I really put into use the skills and techniques of business analysis to help management make better business decisions? Is reporting or should reporting be a major part in business analysis? I do not have any formal training or qualification in business analysis, it’s just been learning on the job kind of training I have been acquiring.

    • Hi Dawn,

      You are asking the absolute perfect question! It’s great that you’ve been able to succeed in your new role and add a lot of value with reporting. And it sound like now you are ready for more. There is definitely more to BA work than reporting, and that’s a great place to have gotten started.

      I would suggest looking at the decisions that are being made. What additional techniques could you use to help make those decisions? Perhaps analyzing a process? Evaluating the software requirements? Also look at areas where the business does not have data to make informed decisions – those would be ideal areas to apply all 3 areas of The Business Analyst Blueprint, from the process to the software to the information level, to get that data in place to support future decision-making.

  30. Tender Thel says

    Hi Laura,
    Thank you for grate teaching and infirmation

  31. Benson Opawoye says

    Hi Laura,

    Your videos have been quite insightful, thanks for giving your time. My question is how can i gain confidence to becoming a career BA person without having hands on experience or getting involved in one project or the other practically, kindly advise on the way to be a confident BA.

    Regards,

    Benson Opawoye

    • Hi Benson, Great question! Confidence comes through taking action, and so I recommend finding opportunities to apply these skills in your current role or though a volunteer project so you turn learning into experience, which leads to confidence. You can apply the techniques one at a time, even without being a BA on a formal end to end project. This is a process we walk participants through in The Business Analyst Blueprint.

  32. Hi Laura,

    Thanks for another good video! Recently, I had an interview where they asked me what a context diagram was(I looked it up after the interview). I’ve written requirements and done BA work, but we never created a context diagram. It looks like it would be very useful. I can’t afford it yet, but it looks like a great course for a beginning BA(or experienced BA) to make sure that they are aware of all the tools available to BAs.

    • You are welcome Jan! Context diagrams are fairly common, but if you’ve never worked in an environment where they weren’t used, it would be easy not to know about them. This is a great reason to continue your learning through blogs, reading, and training programs!

  33. Hi Laura,
    Please am in the middle east, can i get your Business Analyst template on discount.
    Thank you

    • Hi Paul,

      Thanks for your comment. Be sure to stay on our email list so you can hear about any future promotions. We run an annual Spring Your Career Forward sale on the templates, typically in April.

  34. Sergey Ivanov says

    Hi Laura! Thank you for all the content you putting out on a weekly basis, it is very refreshing and clear. My question will be slightly unusual.
    In my case, I’ve been working as a part of restaurant operations management and in hospitality industry since I moved to London in 2015.
    Before that, I worked as a Customer Service Adviser,Manager of Customer Support & Success. for 3 years.
    And I became really passionate about becoming a BA, and my aim is to get my first Entry-Junior BA role this year.

    However, It is indeed can be quite challenging to switch my career profile from restaurant management into a new career as a Business Analyst. I won’t simply get any responds.I have a BCS Foundation diploma in Business Analysis, and currently I’m reading BABOK Guide.
    So my questions is, how would you overcome this situation? Just keep applying, enhancing my skills, networking with BA professionals on Linkedin and ask for a help from Graduate IT recruiters who might be able to place me to work?

    Thanks in advance!
    Sergey

    • HI Sergey,

      Your are so very welcome. What you want to be doing is to be applying these business analysis techniques in your role as a restaurant operations manager. Likely you already are, but you need to be confident in this expression of your skills and that you really already are qualified as a business analyst. More than likely, you will not be going for entry-level roles, but mid-level roles requiring 3-5 years of experience.

      If you aren’t getting any responses, it’s because your resume isn’t showcasing your BA skills and experience. Also, focusing on BA jobs the restaurant / hospitality domain, but outside a restaurant operations role, could turn up more opportunities for you.

  35. Shashidhar Tuppad says

    Hi Laura – This is very interesting, crisp and clear presentation for all BA aspirants including me. I have been wanting to jump into BA role ever since 2010 and also undergone some local institute but it didnt helped me at all. I am getting back to BA again through this channel. Let me work on it how I can start on it.

    • Hi Shashidhar,

      Thanks for your feedback. Yes, many participants find our training gives them the practical knowledge they need to succeed as a business analyst, following more theoretical training that happens at many institutes and universities. We’d love to have you join The Business Analyst Blueprint.

  36. Hi Laura,

    Thanks a ton for the meaningful insights you have provided on Business Analysis and the Business Analyst role using the 3 videos.
    I am currently on the look out for an entry into the BA profile and was really confused on where to begin and how to go about as my previous work experience was more on the technical side of things,but your videos have helped considerably in clarifying my doubts and helped me understand how I can co-relate the work I was previously doing with what I would be doing as a BA. And its as you mentioned,Business Analysis is present everywhere.It just needs effort to identify that its a BA process. 🙂
    Thanks once again for the wonderful effort put in by you and your team for helping novices like me find the right path ahead.

  37. Hi Laura,

    Your videos are great. This is really a great insight for anyone wanting to be a BA. Thank you so much.

  38. Hi Laura,

    Your content is perfect and the best business analysis training I have come across. It has realily had a huge impact on how I approach a new career path as a contract business analyst from being a senior IT manager and service designer. it has enabled me to which I am very thankful to you!

  39. Thank you Laura for this video, it has been really insightful.

  40. Thank you so much for these training videos. This one was especially useful.
    I’ve been a BA for almost a year now, and I was brand new to the profession when I started. I often wonder if I’m missing techniques in my BA toolbox, since I’m still learning a lot with every project that comes along. However, this video reinforced that I have some experience in all of the techniques commonly used. Thank you for the huge confidence boost!

  41. Thanks for the videos, Laura.
    I have been in quality assurance for nearly 10 years. Every time I watch or read something of yours I realize that I really should be in a BA role instead. For the past year I’ve been taking on work flow changes using the techniques you describe here, but I’m starting to realize my organization isn’t interested in creating a BA type role. I’ve also found it difficult to jump from one company as QA to another as BA. Can this program help with the jump between companies as a BA?

    Thanks

    • Hi Scott,
      Great question! It is definitely easier to switch companies going from one BA role to another. That being said, you don’t have to have the BA title – you just need to be able to describe what you are doing as a business analyst job. It sounds like you are doing some BA work already, so I’d suggest expanding that to strengthen how you can position your skills and experience for a BA role in a new company.

  42. Hi Laura,

    This has definitely been informative and helped bring things down in a straight forward manner. I haven’t been in a position to apply the touching points in this video but i am hoping to be soon! I’m not sure if this info can be used from a QA perspective which is where i am currently in. I am looking to get into BA and found your previous video more useful! I hope I get submitted for a promotion this year! I pray this course helps me.

    • HI Wavies,

      Yes, you can definitely use this information from a QA perspective to start practicing and applying the business analysis techniques, which could help pave the way towards a promotion into a business analyst role. I made the transition from QA to BA through an internal promotion, and a lot of it came down to how I communicated with stakeholders and was able to bring a process mindset to my work.

  43. Thnks a lot Mam,

    From your teaching, i came to lean one thing ….that in my free time i will start practicing the process-oriented work and enhance my understanding.

    Thanks

  44. Hi Laura,
    Thank you for that great overview!
    I use to work more on a data analysis site (gathering requirements for the reports, set up my own reports and dashboards, provide analysis). I want to emphasis now on a business analysis in my new career move.
    Is it possible to advise what will be the best for me to do that- get some specific course, training.
    Thank you in advance.
    Valentina

    • Hi Valentina,

      You are welcome. Data analysis is a great segue into business analysis. The Business Analyst Blueprint program is designed to help you emphasize the business analysis aspects of your role and enhance them as you make a career move. If you have any questions about the program, please let me know.

  45. Awesome and lovable presentation.Looking for a BA role, but thinking if its right time to start a training like the BA Blueprint and move onto certification.

  46. Hi Laura,
    This class has been great. I have done some of this BA work in the past and not realized that this is what I was doing at the time. I left the software industry about two years ago. I have learned that I belong back in the software industry and I wanted to refresh my memory with the information that you have provided. I taking responsibility for a few areas that I think I need work on in order to get into a BA role. I am planning on a new opportunity and that opportunity will allow me to grow in any way that I want so I will definitely take all the hard work that you have done review it and try to apply it. I may create my own scenarios just so I get the understanding completely.

    • Hi Lisa,

      Applying The Business Analyst Blueprint in your next role sounds like a great plan to expand and formalize your business analysis experience. You can certainly create your own scenarios, and this is something we can provide support on inside the program as well.

      Either way, good luck and it sounds like you are on the right track!

  47. Hi Laura,

    Can you give a quick overview of how you would back into use cases when you are brought into a project that has a list of stories, so that you can verify nothing is missing?

    Thanks

  48. I’m in love with the way you present information and break down the content of each topic. I’ve wanted to take the blueprint for a while now; however I’m not at the top of my list for training opportunities at work. I may have to look at making this my own expense because it looks like just what I need.

    • Hi Andrea, Thank you for your kind words and I’m so glad you are benefiting from this information. We have many professionals invest in our training on their own behalf, and so you will be in good company if you decide to join. One way to justify the investment is to think about how the program may pay for itself this year in terms of a potential salary increase or additional career security.

    • Andrea,

      Do yourself a favor and pay for this course any way you can. I did and do not regret it one bit. I’ve been a BA (not formally trained) for over a decade and all I can say is that I was blown away at how Laura explained each step of the BA process so effortlessly and to the point – even a beginner can follow. EVERYTHING makes sense now. When I’m stuck on a project, I sometimes go back to the Blueprint videos for a refresher and come up with new ideas!!! I am incredibly busy juggling multiple projects and haven’t had a good night sleep in weeks. (Note to Laura, Sorry, I’ve been watching your videos on high speed, it sounds funny, but there isn’t enough hours in the day!!!) So if this sounds like you, then know that you can watch/listen to a recorded version of the group conference calls at any time.

      • Gerri! Thanks so much for sharing this! It’s also great to receive this check-in and see how much success you are experiencing in your business analysis career. Love the tip for watching the videos on high-speed. The transcripts are great for a quick refresher too.

  49. Susan Futey says

    Laura, thanks for reinforcing the fact that my BA skills are useful and needed as I start a new project within a scrum framework.

    • You are welcome. I can’t imagine them succeeding without you. 🙂

      • Thank you so much for the information-Level content, very helpful . This is an area where I struggle the most in my BA role, I plan to invest in the training very soon.

      • You are welcome Elizabeth! I’m so glad that landed with you – the information-level requirements are really important and can help many BAs get to the next level. They are also, like we say in The Business Analyst Blueprint often, a little “mind-bendy”. That’s my way of saying the techniques get you to think differently, which is why there is struggle now as likely no one has ever taught you how to think in this way about modeling the data.

    • You are welcome Susan! Always great to see you here. Your skills ARE so incredibly valuable.

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