Hybrid roles are becoming more of a reality in today’s workforce.
You may be a business analyst while also taking on other roles like becoming a project manager, tester, product manager, or even a developer.
While this diversity offers great long-term career options, it can sometimes leave you feeling overwhelmed and unfocused day to day.
In this short video, I’ll show you exactly how to leverage hybrid roles for your career expansions without the burnout and overwhelm. You’ll discover how to:
- Get yourself out of the business analysis box
- Design a hybrid business analyst role that elevates your career potential
- Set boundaries and intentions in your hybrid role
- Grow your career while filling multiple roles
If you are looking to clarify your level of awareness and experience of key business analysis techniques and process, our FREE BA Skills Assessment is for you!
- Discover the essential skills to succeed as a BA.
- Gain clarity on your strengths and transferable skills.
- Define an action plan to expand your business analyst skill set.
>> Download the Assessment <<
Hybrid roles are a reality in today’s workforce. You may be a business analyst, but then you’re taking on other roles like project manager, tester, product manager, or even a software developer. This offers great long-term potential and can really get you set up for success in different roles. However, it can also be extremely overwhelming and leave you feeling unfocused, like you’re wearing too many hats and sort of being a jack of all trades. So stay with me and I will show you exactly how to leverage hybrid roles for your career expansion without all the burnout and overwhelm.
Hi, I’m Laura Brandenburg with Bridging the Gap, where we help you start, succeed, and excel in your business analyst career with weekly videos on business analyst tips and techniques.
Get Yourself Out of the Business Analysis Box
The first thing I want to say about hybrid roles, specifically, is that it’s an important mindset to get yourself out of the box that a so-called traditional business analyst role, or really an idealized concept of the role will tend to put you in. It’s like we have this box and we think that everything we need to do is in or out of that box. Either we have a business analysis responsibility that’s in the box, or it’s in something that a business analyst is not supposed to do, so it’s outside of the box of what we see is something that we can do to contribute to our organization.
Now, contrary to what you might hear elsewhere, I believe that hybrid roles are a good thing for you as an individual with a career path. Taking on hybrid roles expands your career potential and grows your skillset. Your experience in multiple different areas, in multiple different responsibilities gives you this broad set of qualifications that you can draw from when it comes to future career opportunities. They literally open the door up for you.
The most important thing to realize is that you are in charge, not some industry standard of what a business analyst should be, not even really your employer’s idea of what a business analyst should be. This is your career, your work, the way that you contribute your unique value to the world. So if you are looking to officially get into business analysis, taking on a hybrid business analyst role filled with a set of responsibilities that you already have more confidence in can really set you up for an easier transition. What you’ll find is that your business analysis skills are really relevant to many different positions.
For example, we have a past participant, Lisa Curll, who leveraged her BA training to shift into a sustainability leadership position in a major energy company. She’s navigating complex stakeholder relationships to build out composting programs, and she’s overseeing solutions to achieve her company’s sustainability goals. Lisa had experience in project coordination, a passion for sustainability, and doing nonprofit work in that area, plus her business analysis skillset. Those were all leveraged to create this ideal job for her.
Now, if you are not exactly sure where you stand as a business analyst, you can still find success like Lisa did. A great place to start is by using our free business analyst skills assessment. This tool will help you clarify your level of awareness and experience of key business analysis techniques and processes. After taking that assessment, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions about training and career opportunities and sort of what skills you need to focus on personally.
Let’s talk about how to design a hybrid business analyst role that actually elevates your career potential.
How to design a hybrid business analyst role that elevates your career potential
You want to be choosing opportunities that really take you forward in your career. For example, if you eventually want to be managing a team, taking on a hybrid business analyst project management role would be a great stepping stone because that project management experience is going to give you management experience and leadership experience that will help you as a manager of business analysis.
If you want to get into a business analyst role, volunteering to take notes in a meeting and updating your business analyst requirements documents would be a great step to start to build those business analyst experiences that are needed to break into the role.
But if you are already a BA who’s looking to get into management and you took on everybody’s meeting notes, and testing, maybe even, those are not going to advance your career. Those are activities that are going to burn you out. You really want to be discerning about the activities that you choose.
If you are clear about where you are headed professionally, that’s really critical work to do. I have a whole video on building a business analyst’s career path that can help you get clear on where you’re going and where you want to be professionally within, say the next three to five years. I encourage you to watch that video after this one.
In general, you want to be thinking about where you can expand your capabilities to be successful in new situations. That would be branching out into new projects outside your department or even outside of your company and eventually shifting from how you can personally be successful knowing, “Hey, I can take on anything as a business analyst and be successful,” to enabling others to be successful. That’s when you move into more of those leadership, senior level and management type positions.
How to set boundaries and intentions so your hybrid role doesn’t become a catch-all for the tasks no one else wants to do
We are talking here about how to expand into and take on more. It’s critically important as you do this, that you set boundaries and get clear on your intentions so you don’t just become this hybrid role that’s a catchall for the task that nobody else wants to do. That’s a recipe for burnout and overwhelm. So a few tips on this.
- The first one is that you want to regularly reevaluate your responsibilities. Look at what tasks you’re doing week over week, month over month. What is pulling you forward versus drawing you back? You want to eliminate, delegate and minimize the activities that are not aligned with where you want to go, or have become stale and you’re no longer learning and growing in those activities. I recommend doing this at least every six months as things can change really, really quickly. If you haven’t done it a in a while, now is the perfect time.
- The second thing is to be really clear about your boundaries and how many and what complexity of projects you can take on at the same time. Then within each project, you want to be really clear about what role or roles you’re filling on that project, both for yourself and for everyone else involved. On one project, you might be the project manager, the business analyst, and the tester. And on another, you might be in more of a pure business analyst role or maybe even a pure project management role. It doesn’t always have to be the same on every initiative, and you don’t want to make assumptions about what your role is. Certainly a more complex hybrid role like that would work better on a smaller project than a larger one. A larger project, you tend to need multiple people in those different roles.
- The third tip I have is to invest focused time in each role. If you are wearing multiple hats, make sure that you’re intentionally dedicating time to each of those roles so that none of them really just kind of falls by the wayside and becomes sort of that extra thing that never gets done. You could color code your calendar, set aside dedicated time for each role on each project, or you could organize your weekly planning to have categories for each role. Those are just some ideas, but make sure you’re giving each role focused time for each project.
The next actions you can take to grow your career, while continuing to fill multiple roles
Let’s look at, given the boundaries that you’ve set, the intentions that you have, what are some ways that you can really take action today to start to grow your career while you’re in multiple roles. I would suggest thinking about how you can invest in your professional development for each of those roles. This could be a book, it could be a training course, it could be a certification, it could be a mentor. But if the role is worth your time to do, and if it’s moving you forward towards where you want to be, it’s worth your time to learn how to do better. There is always room for improvement.
The next thing is a mindset tip. It is really to think of roles as jumping off points rather than as landing points. As you take on new responsibilities, consider where this will lead to and what opportunities this will open up. There might be a role like project management where you’re like, “I don’t really want to go from business analysis to project manager. That’s not my career path. I want to go to management or leadership or be a BA team lead of some sort.” If you’re looking at it that way, you might just have this tunnel vision of, “I’ve got to go from business analyst to business analyst lead,” and not see that actually taking on a few opportunities within project management could help get you to that BA leadership role. That’s not to say that project management becomes your new career path. It’s a jumping off point that takes you to where you want to go.
This is going to evolve as you evolve and as you take on new responsibilities. I will say like on the flip side, when you’re trying to get into business analysis, something again, like taking meeting notes is a great opportunity. Testing is a great opportunity. That’s how I got into business analysis, creating test plans, putting processes together. When you’re doing those things, those are opportunities that would get you into business analysis. Business analysis lead. It’s a whole different set of opportunities. You want to be really cognizant, again, of where you’re going and what jumping points will help you get there.
Finally, I said this in the beginning, but it bears repeating because I think we need to hear it again and again and again, is that you need to actively take charge of your career and your career path. The most important thing to realize is that you really are in charge. This is your career, your work, the way you contribute your unique value to the world. It’s more important than ever that the way we work is aligned to who we are as individuals. No one knows who you are better than you. This is your choice. This is your opportunity.
As I mentioned earlier, if you’ve come to the video with more questions than answers about yourself, take our free business analyst skills assessment. It’ll give you a lot of guidance around where you’re at and where your skills stack up in your business analyst career.
>> Download the Assessment <<