5 Ways To Keep Your Business Analyst Skills Sharp

So, you take a job as a business analyst – maybe you fell into the role or perhaps you set it as your career goal.  What next?  How do you keep your skills and knowledge current and ready for use?  Sometimes I find as a business analyst that you don’t always use the skills you have learned, or alternatively you need to use business analyst skills that you don’t have.  Keeping yourself relevant and also marketable as a skilled BA is essential in this type of economic climate.

My plan of attack:

Sharpen your skills

Sharpen your BA skills

  1. If you are not building business cases at work – then pick a project that you want to work on but didn’t get the opportunity, or choose a project that you believe would bring your company value.  Then write a business case on it, also do your SWOT analysis.  I have done this and have been rewarded by being assigned as the lead BA on the project.
  2. When was the last time you wrote a business requirements document?  Pick a home project – perhaps you want to remodel your home.  What do you need to get it done?  This is also part of planning and project management and will help keep those skills current.
  3. What about test scripts – well, what has changed recently at work or at home that could use a test of the process?  Perhaps you have a new system going in at work and although you were not involved, it would take you half an hour to write a script for a few steps.
  4. Writing business process documentation is my favourite – oh, I can hear you all laughing – but it is true.  I love to write documentation.  Write up a document on how to paint – what do you need for tools, what is the first step?  Or choose something at work – not every organization documents as well as they should.  You could be doing your team a great favour and highlighting your talents.
  5. If you don’t have a skill then get it.  There are so many great online courses out there for very little money that help you learn more.  Most companies encourage learning, so learn and have a great time!  I have not done a validation of requirements for a while, so I found a two-hour online course that would refresh my skills.

Have fun doing this.  Being a BA can be so much fun and so rewarding.  My best days are when I head home knowing that I have done a great job on a BRD or process documentation.  One more check off my to do list.  Especially when you get the feedback that your manager says that they cannot do without you!

Make each day a great one.

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  1. Michelle Swoboda says

    pdte – thank you for your thoughts and ideas – it is great to hear what other people do to keep their careers and themselves relevant!

  2. Great Topic Michelle…I generally try to divide my time in following ways to keep updated and upto the mark….
    1. General reading on BA related websites/blogs/forums
    2. Interact with other BAs with my firm to get a glimpse of what are the key issues they are facing
    3. Checking on Job Addvertisement to know what is happening in market
    4. Reflecting on Leassons Learnt till date to decide how do I evolve or improve further in my role….I am trying to become more organised on this…..resolution agenda…..
    4. Daily I try this practice too , If I get difficulty in anything like Doctor’s clinic , library ,
    bookshop etc , I keep a habbit of identifying Gap and will there be any solution to it…It tunes your brain in such a way , that more the you feed in different cases , the more it gives out good output…when you face actual project situation you just have to call the output services….fuzzy logic or whatever it is…..
    5. Upon other skills which are soft skills I try to observe people who are good in respective skills…Here funnel theory works…..You might observe 100 people….you might notice 60 good things…..you remember 40 things……act upon 20 things…..become better on 10 things and finally get credit for 1 good thing….
    6. My own nature goes like – the more I practice the better I am …..the more I drive , the better driver I am …..so practice or be in touch with everything atleast every 15/20 days keeps me on optimal levels…….
    7. Yes keeping it relevant is always a matter of function of that moment/need/timing.
    If we invest continously then it doesnt hit us, we can always adapt to new perspective
    8. The example of home project is great…..it is similar to what I do in point 4. It’s Fun.

    I am sure everyone has its own style of doing things .Just felt like sharing my take.
    As I raised this topic once on one forum and to my wonder nobody answered….
    Ideally people can share tricks and build collective wisdom…..I am sure we all have
    enough opportunities to prove our talent and the competition should not get into way of sharing things…..would like to know views of others on this.


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