From Administrative Assistant to Business Analyst to Strategic Initiatives in Healthcare: Jami Moore

Today we meet Jami Moore. Jami participated in the Spring 2020 Session of The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program, and has achieved some phenomenal successes in her career as a business analyst.

You are going to want to tune in to discover how Jami:

  • Transitioned from Administrative Assistant to Business Analyst by shadowing BAs, volunteering for stretch assignments, and finding a career sponsor.
  • Moved to a new company in a business analyst role, and then was quickly assigned to a significant strategic program to analyze every aspect of the customer experience globally.
  • Choose to invest in The Business Analyst Blueprint® after several 1-2 day trainings, to learn more in-depth about a structured, industry-standard business analysis approach.
  • Wrote her first use case to show how a certain Salesforce function could be used to accomplish a business objective, receiving the response of “I’ve never ever seen it done this way and this is fantastic.”
  • Worked through her perfectionist tendencies and chose to embrace feedback from the instructor team, as a part of her continual learning and personal growth.

For those who prefer to read, here’s the full-text transcript of the interview:

Laura Brandenburg: Hello, and welcome to Bridging the Gap. I’m here today with Jami Moore, who is from Clinton, Massachusetts. Hey Jami.

Jami Moore: Hello.Jami Moore

Laura Brandenburg: Hey. So excited to have you here. You are working on some really fantastic projects. We were just talking as we got started, like, a bigger than any ERP project. And also, just recently participated in our session of The Business Analyst Blueprint. I wanted to talk to you a little bit about that and any exciting things that you’re doing in your career.

Jami Moore: Awesome.

Laura Brandenburg: If you can kind of just take us back to where you were. Before you started The Blueprint, I know, we’ve talked a little bit, you were doing business analysis for a while. If you can share how you got into it and where you were in your career before you started the program would be great.

Jami Moore: Sure. Maybe I should go a little bit further back than that. Back in 2013, I decided, as an administrative assistant, that I wanted to be a business analyst, something that people had said to me frequently that I was but had no real understanding of what that was. When I made that determination that I wanted to do it, I was working for a medical device company and worked for two years to actually prove that I could do the business analyst role and do the work.

I was offered a great opportunity to move over to our IT group as a business analyst, introductory business analyst, for six months while I prove that I could actually do the work of a BA. Spent about three years there working as a Salesforce Business Analyst. Very highly focused on that, but also doing some smaller projects as well outside of just being that.

Last September, I actually moved to a new company, still within the medical device realm, but more focused on diabetes. It’s an insulin pump company. As part of that, got promoted to a senior BA role. My focus really was around helping to solution and manage all of our technology for our customers, from a customer portal perspective. We called that our customer experience technology group, which I am still a part of, which I love.

As part of that, had decided that I also wanted to take some additional training. I had been taking business analyst training for quite a while, but wanted a more structured and extended training because most of what I was doing was one or two day trainings, just to kind of get myself familiar with some of the skillsets that a BA needs. I talked with my boss and said, “Listen, whether you pay for this or not, I’m doing this.” Got him and his manager, who is the vice president, on board to actually pay for it.

Just as I signed up for The Blueprint, got the opportunity to go over to a very large program within the company as part of the strategic initiative to help re-imagine our entire customer experience.

What that means is looking at all of our customer interactions, not only from when they are an actual customer, but starting from the point of they’re not just yet a customer, they are considered, potentially a lead, all the way through to them making it into our customer funnel, and further on into our product support funnels as well. It’s very big. It’s very expansive. It is global. We are not doing this just for the U.S., but we’re doing it for everyone around the world as part of that program. Took that and ran with it a while in The Blueprint.

Laura Brandenburg: Yeah. I mean that just sounds like such a phenomenal project. It’s not even a project. It’s a program that must have multiple projects within it. What does your day-to-day look like when you’re working on something that huge?

Jami Moore: Lots and lots and lots and lots of meetings. We typically start, for the U.S. team, we’re typically starting our day right around, between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. on east coast time meeting with our global process owners and various business stakeholders and technical teams to talk through, in this first phase, we’re calling it our discovery phase, to really talk through our business processes and map those all out at a high level so that we can understand where we’re going to need to dive much deeper, understand where the gaps are and at the same time, for the technical BAs that are on our team, also doing research around potential solutions for capabilities that are being identified during those process mapping sessions, as well as putting together demos of those potential solutions.

A lot of my time was spent pulling together Salesforce demos because that’s what I focus on. I got to get my hands dirty in technology in doing coding and configuration, which was really very interesting for me. But that’s a lot of my time is just talking with business partners, doing a lot of research, understanding the different technologies that are out there so that I can answer questions as they come up.

Laura Brandenburg: Still a fair amount of detailed work, but you’re doing that detailed work to really facilitate really big picture decision-making, it sounds like?

Jami Moore: Yes, absolutely.

Laura Brandenburg: This is still in its pretty initial phases, right? You said you just started this at the beginning of the year?

Jami Moore: Yeah, so we have actually just wrapped up our discovery phase. We’ll be going into a more detailed requirements phase to really understand whether or not what we’ve pre-identified as some potential solutions and applications integrations are going to really meet the need for our business partners and our customers because we are, unlike a lot of medical device companies, we interact with our customers 1:1. A lot of med device companies, their customers are more of hospitals and doctors and physicians. We are interacting with individual people who are working to get our product in their hands. It’s lifesaving technology for them because diabetics, they need insulin every single day. It’s a non-negotiable for them. And, so, we have a different focus on what we need to build and how functional and easy it needs to be for our end users to actually use all of our stuff and interact with us.

Laura Brandenburg: Right. So, it’s really like a B to C, like a business to consumer.

Jami Moore: Yes. Exactly. We have a huge B to C model, but we still do B to B as well, so that business to business, we do that as well. It’s just a much smaller subset.

Laura Brandenburg: It’s fascinating. I feel like we could talk about that for ages. But I also wanted, you mentioned, “I’m doing The Blueprint, whether my boss pays.” What was prompting you at that point in your career to say this is the time to do something like this?

Jami Moore: I had been looking at The Blueprint for several years wanting to do it. In my previous company and role, while we did have training, there was not a lot of structure for the business analyst group. There was a lot of structure and a lot of planning for our project managers, but when it came to the BA group, we were always stumbling along trying to figure out the best ways to do things, the best techniques to use. They were a company that is highly regulated by the FDA, as most companies are. And so, a lot of their documentation was based around validating systems.

But it wasn’t BA friendly. It was really driven more from a project management standpoint, and I really wanted to understand how we could not only drive the right pieces of work that we were doing, but also make sure that the documentation aligned with that so that we could speed up all of our projects as we were talking with all of our business partners.

And so, with that, I just said, “Okay. I need to understand, from a more structured and industry-standard methodology, how do we do this, especially given that I am very much a proponent of IIBA and want to get certified. I wanted to make sure that I could start to align my skillset and the things that I knew to prepare me to do that certification.

Laura Brandenburg: That makes a lot of sense. What was your experience with the program like?

Jami Moore: I loved it. I was actually just talking to someone else this morning and highly recommended it. It was a great program in that it definitely challenges you. I enjoy having that challenge and getting pushed to not take the easy path.

Even in moments where I was just really frustrated. In some ways, I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so when I’m working on something, I really want it to be right at the first pass, rock-solid and ready to go. And, so, having people who are other BAs in the industry really take a look at what I was working on, helping me to understand those skillsets, and the pieces that I needed and really kind of looking at it through a finer lens to help me get better was just phenomenal.

I am such a proponent of, “Hey, take this training. If you’re struggling to understand how the pieces fit together, take this training,” because it really helps solidify how I can move my entire project and other pieces along that path to make sure that we’re doing the right things or getting the right requirements and can help our business partner provide right solutions.

Laura Brandenburg: What’s an example? Can you share one of the examples from any one of the modules and how you applied it to this particular project?

Jami Moore: Sure. Absolutely. I’ll go with the use case scenario, actually. We were, during the program, identifying pieces of Salesforce that we would need. We are on an older version of Salesforce. And, so, we know that we’re going to be upgrading to the newest version. One of the things that we’ve struggled with a little bit is going to that business consumer model with outdated code that just doesn’t have that kind of flexibility for us.

One of the things we decided that we were going to use, or at least demo, to make decisions around whether we were going to use it or not was Salesforce’s person account, which really is built for that business to consumer model when you’re talking about accounts as a whole. And, so, in that, I was able to put together a use case that helped the business partners understand how we could build out a person account and all of the pieces that would need to happen from the user perspective…so a user does something, the system responds. The user does something else, the system responds, to help them understand the flow of even how standard operating pieces of Salesforce works, and had business partners going, “I’ve never ever seen it done this way and this is fantastic.”

It also helped me to build a presentation that I did to our architect team to help them get up to speed on person accounts, and subsequently, executives, at the higher IT levels to also understand why person accounts was the right business model for us to go with when we get to building the new environment.

Laura Brandenburg: Wow. You’re really able to validate that you had a solution approach that was going to work.

Jami Moore: Mm-hm.

Laura Brandenburg: Had you done use cases before?

Jami Moore: No, I had not. It was all new. And I had wanted to, and I tried to kind of learn it on my own, but it wasn’t making sense. And I think that’s really what it helped clarify was how to really make it work for somebody who really needs to dive a little bit deeper in the requirements than just a process flow.

Laura Brandenburg: What was the piece that helped you? You said you tried it before. Was it the training modules or the instructors? What was the piece of the program that helped you break through that gap?

Jami Moore: I would say it was definitely the module that was shared. Your videos that you shared to help walk us through.

I had tried reading various different blogs and tutorials around it and it just wasn’t really resonating with me on how I could use it and I think, for me, a lot of the use cases that come up are around things like banking models or student registrations, and we’re not a retail type of company. And so, I was struggling a lot because it just wasn’t resonating from a scenario perspective of how we could actually use it in those manners.

Laura Brandenburg: Yeah. Gotcha. That’s awesome. I know one of the things you mentioned was being a perfectionist and having to overcome some of the feedback. We talk about this internally about this part of the program. We would love to just send everything back. Do you have anything else to share about that, the actual process? I think some people who join are a little bit scared about the idea of receiving feedback. Feedback helps you grow, but it’s also something that we can kind of shy away from for various reasons.

Jami Moore: Yes. Absolutely. I would say it’s great because you guys take the time to really look through it, really try to understand it, reach out to us if there is a question, specifically, about something we did that it’s just not understanding. Very rare that that happens, but with the instructor hours, it really kind of helps us get through those pieces. And so I think that was very helpful, especially when the workbook would come back with comments around what specific questions they had or what specific pieces they felt didn’t exactly meet the criteria and give some guidance at the same time.

For me, I know I had to take a lot of deep breaths on those moments where I got my workbook back and it was like, “Congratulations. We reviewed your workbook. You have some work to do.” But just like you were mentioning, one of the things that I have always gone into with any of my bosses or anything that I’m doing is I always ask for feedback because I can’t grow if I don’t have that feedback, and I don’t know where I’m going wrong if I don’t have that feedback.

After the initial shock, and taking a deep breath, I would then take a moment, take some time, I should say, sit down and really read through the comments and understand where they were trying to get through. I think that’s the part that is hard for people when they’re just reading it in the moment where they haven’t really sat down or scheduled some time to really sit down and look through it. They’re just kind of, “Oh, I got my workbook back.” Okay.

I would advise, take some time; schedule 30 minutes and take some time and really read through it. Jot down your questions or your notes to spark what might be bothering you or what might be worrying you in what you did, and then take those to the instructor hour to talk through because that’ll help build not only your confidence in what you’re doing, but help you understand what people are going to expect from your business internally because they’re not going to know as much. If you can provide even more detail and catch yourself when they are giving you feedback, to take that moment. It helps communication. It helps team building. It helps all of it.

Laura Brandenburg: That’s great feedback on our “feedback.” Thank you. Thank you for all of that input on the program and your sharing your details with program. Back to you in your career, what do you see next for you? Obviously, you’re in the middle of a huge initiative, so you might not know. But I also hear a  bit of a planner.

Jami Moore: I am a planner. Speaking of planning, yes, I actually have a spreadsheet that I plan out all of my goals, not just career-wise, but personal goals for, I think this time around I did six years, and I need to back that down just a little bit. But typically, five, three to five years I do plans.

From a career perspective, I always knew that I want to go to the architect level, and that’s my next move. What I’m hoping is that as part of this program, and this is a multi-year program, it’s not just going to be a six-month or a year; this is a three to five-year program that we’re going to be investing in. That will help me get to that next level as I build my skill set, as I start to work through all of the different pieces. We have been talking about creating a Center of Excellence and having members of the program on that Center of Excellence.

My career path, I see my next step is at an architect level, or what we call a lead. Then, I’m not so sure after that.

Laura Brandenburg: Do you mean like technical architect or business architect? You want to go more technical?

Jami Moore: I would love to be a combination of both because I do tend to do a lot of technical, but I’m realizing more and more lately that I’m always watching out for the business more often than I am the technical pieces. And, so, I think I would love to do a combination of both where I am still and IT architect, but I am focused with the business to make sure that they’re getting the right solutions that they need.

Laura Brandenburg: That sounds awesome. I feel like you were going in another path before I clarified that.

Jami Moore: Well, you know, I think about things all the time and I’m always thinking about where do I want to go next. I know you and I have talked before about consulting. I have plans, future plans, that that might be kind of retirement thing where I can take that on and have a comfortable retirement. But I also don’t downplay anything. I’m always looking at opportunities. I’m always looking at what might be my next move and thinking through it and not saying “No” to anything or any opportunity that might come up, even in those moments where I really want to say, “No,” and have a lot of hesitation, but take a step back and look at it and figure out if it’s the right move for me or not.

Laura Brandenburg: And…for people looking to either move like you did from administrative assistant to business analysis – or – there are like two questions here. I always like to ask, “What would you advise to people following in your footsteps?” And I think we might have people listening who are like, “I’m an administrative assistant now and I want to move into BA.” And then we’ll have people listening who are like, “This is like the coolest project I’ve ever heard of.” What would you advise to get into that project?” Probably different steps. What would your advice to people looking to follow and achieve some of those goals that you have?

Jami Moore: Yeah, I’ll take the first one. For moving into a BA role as an admin, one of the first things that I did was look at what BA skills would I need and what skills matched what I was already doing. As an administrative assistant, I was actually doing a lot of event planning and project management, but I was recognizing that some of the side projects that I was doing within the company were much more BA focused talking to business stakeholders about requirements, about things that we were going to be doing, and even in those event planning meetings, utilizing that skillset to understand what we really needed. I went searching to figure out how to write my resume in a manner that would indicate, even as an admin, I was a BA. Stumbled on your website and really started to dive a little bit deeper.

I would say the things that really helped me to make that transition were accepting shadow opportunities. Shadowing a BA if I could. I actually signed up for a hack-a-thon that my company ran and signed up as a business analyst. Advice: make time with the IT people if that’s where you want to be because they’re typically the ones that run those and will pass on that information when it comes up.

And then the other thing is volunteer to do stretch assignments within the company. It is in addition to your regular job, so make sure that you are willing to take that on and understand that it can be a lot more work, and that you’re doing it for yourself. Because, really, you are. You’re doing this for yourself to make sure you can advance your career. And then have, not only a mentor, but the sponsor is really what helped me to make that transition.

My boss, at the time, was my sponsor and went and talked to the CIO of our IT group to make that offer to get me over there. You really need to have a mentor who’s going to help you with the skillsets that you need and help you grow, and you have somebody to bounce questions and ideas off of. But that sponsor is the person who is going to help you understand what your personal branding is and how you’re being perceived by others and make the necessary changes or shifts in your own personality at times to help you get to that next level and be the one who will be sitting in the meetings with management going, “Yeah, this name. We need to talk about this name here.”

Laura Brandenburg: Kind of helps pave the path for you as well.

Jami Moore: Absolutely.

Laura Brandenburg: And then how about taking on something like global customer experience program, a multi-year initiative?

Jami Moore: I would say some of the same things apply. If you can volunteer for a stretch assignment, absolutely do it. Definitely continue to have mentors and sponsors. And then express interest. Really express interest during those reviews you have with your boss about what you see as your career goals and your career path, and express interest that you want to be on bigger programs. Work with them to start to build out what your annual plan will look like to start to move you in that direction. Things you can work on throughout that year to start to get there.

I kind of lucked out with this one. We are a corporation, but we run more like a startup. And so, we have, at the time, we were kind of a smaller group. We didn’t have a lot of resources. When they were looking at it, my name came up as someone that they were seeing as a leader within the company because I was helping other business analysts to where, I don’t want to call them “Junior” because they really aren’t junior, but lower level business analysts mentoring them and helping them to understand ways to really kind of advance their career and also talking with business stakeholders, helping them on their projects and helping them drive those conversations with the business stakeholders while running my own projects as well, and helping them to understand who I was and how I operate. Really, it was almost like a no-brainer at that point that they went, “Oh, yeah. We really need her. We really need Jami on this one.”

Laura Brandenburg: You called it luck, but then you identified the actual actions that you had taken. There is a being in the right place at the right time, but there are also ways that you were definitely stepping up and showing yourself.

Jami Moore: Absolutely. Part of the ending, the way they kind of made the decision was who can we leave on our team to keep the lights on and the business running, and who can we pull to go into this new program? I just happened to be new enough to the company that I wasn’t familiar or deeply ingrained in the old system and the old processes and ways that they could shift me over and help them get a new set of eyes on doing all of this because that’s really what was needed was to break out of the old ways of doing things and see things in a different light.

Laura Brandenburg: Yeah. That’s awesome. You’ve been incredibly generous with your time. Your story is so inspiring, so thank you for sharing it.

Is there anything else that you’d like to share before we close things today?

Jami Moore: That’s a good question. I could share so much. I could. I could talk forever. I would say definitely, if you’re interested, definitely keep pushing at it because even when you’re in a company that might not, necessarily, recognize it, opportunities come up all the time and don’t be afraid to take the step to move away from your company if you need to advance your career. I think that’s the most scary part for a lot of us is having been in a company for a long time. I was with my previous company for a very long time. Don’t be afraid to make those moves because you will find when you do that, it builds your confidence, it builds your leadership skills. I love where I am now. I absolutely love it. I’m so glad I made the step. I would say my mother tells me all the time that fear is faux emotions appearing real. When you realize that or recognize that, it helps you to make that next move because you can push through.

Laura Brandenburg: Yeah. That’s awesome. And just to highlight the piece, you did say you got this opportunity for this big program because you were newer. I think we can get so entrenched in the value of our expertise, but that can actually, in a way, hold us back as well. That was part of that. I just wanted to connect that dot for anyone listening and might still have that “I don’t want to move.” It actually is what opened up this next opportunity too.

Jami Moore: Yes.

Laura Brandenburg: Thank you so much for that, Jami. It’s been wonderful having you part of the program and part of our community. Thank you for sharing everything today.

Jami Moore: Thank you very much.

Laura Brandenburg: You’re welcome.

About The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program

The Business Analyst Blueprint® training program is Bridging the Gap’s flagship online business analysis training program, where you build your toolbox of 12 industry-standard best practice business analyst techniques and earn 36 credits toward certification or re-certification with IIBA®.

We run 2 sessions of The Business Analyst Blueprint® each year – one in the fall and one in the spring.

 

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