Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.
I had the opportunity to speak personally with Durga Patil, a business analyst with L&T Infotech. Durga has been a business analyst for over three years and prior to becoming a business analyst held various roles in software development and testing. Below is a snapshot of our discussion.
Laura: What is the BA role like in your organization?
Durga: In India, the BA role has become much better defined and valued in the last 3-4 years. In my organization, the BA role used to be part of the project manager’s or project lead’s responsibilities. Now it’s a separate role and that enables the business analyst functions to be much more valued by management. In my organization, the BA manages the client and the PM manages the team.
Laura: Tell me about how domain experience impacts your role.
Durga: I work in the insurance domain and I came into this role with a technical background. The business advised that to jump in my career, I should gain domain expertise. I pursued an academic degree in insurance which taught me much of what she needed to know and helped me understand my customer’s perspective. I chose this academic path because the SMEs I was working with all had it. The rest of the domain knowledge came from experience with different projects.
Laura: That sounds like a great piece of advice. If domain experience is required to advance your career, talk to experts within that domain about what training and education they would recommend. I can imagine each domain would have different requirements.
Durga: Yes. It really made a difference in how I am respected within this organization.
Laura: Tell me about business analyst training opportunities and how that helped your career.
Durga: I was lucky that early in the formation of the business analyst role at this organization, they provided fairly comprehensive training on how to be a business analyst. That training provided a solid base to start working within the role. We learned how to elicit requirements and convert requirements into a language that technical professionals could work easily with. Such a training session sets a strong foundation towards developing strong business analysts in the organization.
Laura: What advise would you give to new business analysts?
Durga: As a new BA, I advise you to leverage others’ experiences. Allow experienced people to help/guide you learn how to use the BA skills and techniques to improve how you do things. Also network extensively to meet BAs outside your organization because you can learn so much from their experiences. My mentor always used to tell me “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”
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