Helping Business Analysts Survive and Thrive Through the Pandemic

I’m writing this post on May 26, 2020. It was just over 2 months ago that the U.S. shut down international flights and schools started being cancelled country-wide due to COVID-19. For the first few weeks, I was in a state of shock, fear, and denial.

I had scheduled an impromptu open coaching session with instructor Disha Trivedi on Working From Home as a Business Analyst on March 17, 2020, to help those unexpectedly finding themselves in remote business analyst jobs. I had scheduled this before I learned my own kids wouldn’t be in school that day and my world was about to turn upside down. It took all I had to follow through on my commitment to deliver that session.

Even though my business is online, my team works remotely, and I work from home anyway, it felt like everything had changed. My kids were home full time. We lost our support network. And my customers needed me more than ever.

Then there were external pressures to do more, be more, and help everyone. Remember that?

In those initial weeks, I focused on 4 key areas of my life:

  • Taking care of myself: body, mind, and spirit.
  • Taking care of my family, and creating a positive home life.
  • Connecting with my team members to ensure they were doing OK.
  • Taking care of my existing customers – those in the active session of The Business Analyst Blueprint®  certification program.

And that was all I had at first. I also chose one behind-the-scenes project that I could complete on my own time, in those precious work moments when I had focus. This project was designed to be big enough to keep me off the news, without being so big that it put me into overwhelm. That was completely redoing our Quick Start to Success Workshop – which is completely free, by the way.

Then in late April, I finally felt caught up. I finally felt taken care of. And I started to think I had something more to give. (There’s a lesson here…we all need to take care of ourselves before we can take care of others.)

I also felt the call to lead. The call to shift the stories we were hearing in the news. The call to find the silver lining in a tragic human experience. The call to help us all step forward, move forward, and lean into the situation at hand.

And that’s how this COVID response video series for business analysts was born. I started by asking you what you needed most. And as I expected, the answers were all over the map. Yes, we are all going through the same storm, but we are not in the same boat.

Over the last month, I’ve answered as many questions as I can in this video series, and done my best to re-frame the challenges of this time into opportunities. It’s been a lot and I’ve published more frequently than normal. It’s natural you might have missed a few of the videos…or not seen any of them. Heck, we’re going through a pandemic – time is very likely at a premium for you right now too. Never fear– I’ve got you covered with links to all the videos here below.

Part 1: What this Pandemic Shut Down Means for You and Your Business Analyst Career – this is the first video, recorded impromptu at the beach with my daughters, making the most of a bit of clarity and quiet time. What I really wanted to share in this video is that even though there are so many hardships, there are also so many new opportunities. This video set the tone for the series and invited input to help me serve you.

Part 2: The BA Essentials to be Focusing on Right Now – We look at why organizations need business analysts now more than ever, what are the essential skills to be focusing on, and I summarize the key challenges you told me you were facing.

Part 3: How to Focus When You Are Working from Home – Sharing 3 concrete strategies for staying focused on “heads down” work, and also why the events of the pandemic might be making it so hard to focus right now, and what you can learn from this experience.

Part 4: What Real Job Security Looks Like Right Now – What felt so certain a few months ago might feel anything but today, and this is a huge opportunity to see where the truth of our security lies.

Part 5: 3 Tips for Effective Remote Meetings – In particular, for business analysis eliciting requirements and conducting collaborative requirements sessions virtually.

Part 6: How to Articulate Your Transferable Business Analysis Skills Across Industries – Since so many are being laid off and furloughed, we look at how to change industries, sectors, or domains, especially if the bulk of your experience is in an area brought down by the pandemic.

Part 7: I Survived the Layoffs…Now What? – If you have survived a layoff, or even if you are dealing with increased organizational pressures to deliver more with less to survive these challenging times, you might find yourself grateful for the paycheck. But also overworked, overwhelmed, and probably feeling a bit guilty as well – to have a job when so many others don’t.

What’s Next?

I’m on the lookout for topics that need to be addressed, and we’re getting ready to re-open both our The Business Analyst Blueprint®  certification program. These programs open for limited windows of time each year, and they are the best ways to work with me personally to achieve your business analyst career goals.

They are online programs that have always been online. This means they were designed from the ground up to work within the constraints of any shelter-in-place orders your local area might have in place.

And one thing I know for sure…is that it’s in times like these that we need to reach out for support more than ever. We need to lean into our communities, lean into our skills, and continue to invest in ourselves. Because security does not come from outside circumstances. No one can give you security but you. Security comes from how we think, the actions we take, and our own commitment to ourselves.

I’ve been so grateful to be able to gift this series to the community, and I’m excited to help those of you who are ready to take the next step with me.

Let’s do this together!

In the meantime, please leave me a comment below. What was your biggest takeaway from the series? Which video did you feel called to share with your colleagues? 

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