Building Business Analysis Experience as a Software Developer

Dave’s story shows us how a little persistence and creativity can go a long way. Dave’s organization does not have a BA practice and he has many software development responsibilities to attend to, yet he has managed to expand his experience and begin qualifying himself for more BA roles.

Dave Wolf is a software developer. In his organization, there are no business analysts, but there are project managers who do some business analysis. Nearly all of the project managers come from an engineering background and hold an engineering degree as well as a PMP. David has a degree in Economics and extensive experience in a variety of IT roles.

In mid-2012, David started his business analysis career journey by documenting the process his software development team uses to test and release new software. From this experience, he realized that even while he may never break down the barriers to becoming a business analyst in his current organization, he could expand his relevant experience so that he is employable as a business analyst outside of his organization. Since documenting that process, David has reached out to the project managers to cultivate stronger relationships and surface opportunities. He’s stepped up to create some technical documentation that has many parallels to a requirements specification.

A recent event created an influx of new business for his organization. The project managers are overwhelmingly busy and David has stepped up to fill some of the project management and analysis tasks on his projects. He’s also started to build some client-facing interaction during project meetings. Along the way, he’s decided that he’d prefer a role where he can keep a few toes in software development, but also do some analysis. And he’s well on his way to either creating that role internally or qualifying himself for a BA role in a new organization.

We were able to check in with Dave in August 2013, and here’s an update on his path to business analysis.

I recently passed the PMP and, as predicted, this lead to more BA type work in my current position as software developer.

I’m presently serving as the liaison between the company I work for and three contractors. Together we have been hired by a state agency coordinating the design and implementation of a series of web services designed to serve as the interfaces for passing data and files back and forth to support the process of conducting field assessments, documenting storm damage, and assigning and monitoring contractors.

This project has given me the opportunity to strengthen my skills in several critical areas including leading meetings, interacting with stakeholders, and designing and documenting business processes. In fact, I developed the first detailed process document for this project which became a hit and was frequently quoted and used as a template in subsequent meetings several levels above me.

I’m learning a lot, developing confidence and hope to use this experience to help transition to a more defined BA role either in my current company or elsewhere.

Thanks for sharing your story Dave. We look forward to seeing your continued success in the business analysis profession!

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