You got the business analyst job, now what? Your first few months in a new business analyst job are extremely important. It’s when you lay the foundation for successful, long-term employment. It’s important to build credibility with new people, learn about your organization, and make a solid contribution. You also want to begin to complete some career planning activities so that you have a clear picture of where to go in your first year.
In this article, we’ll look at what you should be thinking about accomplishing during your first 60 days on a new business analyst job. (This article is part 4 of a 4-part series about starting a new business analyst job.)
Make a Solid Contribution
When starting a new business analyst job, you want to ensure you are perceived as a dedicated professional who is helping the organization. While you will rarely control what project you are assigned to or even the tasks you are asked to do, you can control your attitude and commitment. Whether it’s supporting another business analyst on the team, chipping in on a project, or getting your own project off to a good start, you want to focus on making a contribution. When you care and give it your all, people will notice your work and begin to trust you as a valued contributor.
In your initial days with a new organization, it’s not uncommon to pick up a project in the middle of the business analysis process. It can be tempting to rework the requirements documentation and reconfirm all of the decisions. If it’s clear that stakeholders don’t agree on the requirements and that the requirements themselves are unclear, this approach can be the best choice. However, take care not to make it your default option. Redoing work that’s already perceived to have been done is not necessarily the best way to make a solid contribution.
It’s also not uncommon to be assigned to a project that’s already in the implementation phase. In this case, you’ll be clarifying requirements, learning about the systems and processes, and perhaps assisting with the test effort.
Get Feedback on Your Work
Along with making a contribution, you need to know whether that contribution is the right one and what you can do to be even more effective in this particular organization. And that’s why it’s so important to get feedback on your work.
- From business stakeholders, ask for feedback regarding whether they feel their needs are being heard, what they think of the meetings you facilitate, and if there’s anything you could do to make the requirements documentation easier for them to comprehend.
- From technology stakeholders, ask if you are getting them involved at the right times, bringing up the most relevant issues, and if the requirements documentation helps them take the next step in the implementation process.
- From your manager, ask if you are fulfilling their expectations, if they are receiving positive feedback from the team, and if there’s anything you could do to help even more.
These conversations aren’t necessarily scheduled out in advance. Getting feedback is often a process of interpreting indirect feedback and asking direct questions at appropriate times. By asking questions, you open the door to receiving even more feedback, which will enable you to make an even more valuable contribution over time.
Beware that sometimes the feedback you receive involves a misperception of your role as a business analyst. For example, a business stakeholder might want you to provide more in the way of scheduling information, but you see that as the project manager’s role. After double-confirming with your manager that this is not a task you should be responsible for, clarify expectations with your business stakeholder about your role and see if you can help them receive the information they need from the PM.
Educating others on the business analyst role is a big part of helping the value of business analysis be well-understood within an organization.
Plan Your First Year
Once you have established credibility with your team and your manager, it’s a good time to start looking longer-term as to how this job opportunity fits into your long-term business analyst career.
Consider the following questions:
- What skills would you like to work on?
- What types of projects or stakeholders would you like to be exposed to?
- How do you want your role to mature and expand?
- What types of improvements would you be interested in taking ownership of?
- How can you make an even bigger impact to your organization?
These questions will lead you to a list of performance goals that you can discuss with your manager. Get them down on paper and create a schedule to check your progress frequently throughout the year.
By making a solid contribution, incorporating feedback, and planning your first year, you’ll be well set to ensuring this job moves your business analysis career forward in a meaningful way. From here, you’ll be ready to begin building your business analyst career path.
>> Learn the Business Analysis Process
An essential element of succeeding in a new business analyst job role is understanding the business analysis process. We walk you through an 8-step business analysis process in the 4-week self-study session of the BA Essentials Master Class. You’ll learn a step-by-step business process that you can customize for your organization and project situations, how to create a timeline for a new business analyst assignment, and be prepared to handle the more common issues BAs face on new projects.