Quick Start to Success as a Business Analyst
Free Video Training (Part 1 of 3)

>>Click here to discuss the training in our Facebook group <<

Full Text of Quick Start to Success as a Business Analyst

I’m Laura Brandenburg from Bridging the Gap, and we’ve been helping professionals start business analyst careers since 2008. I’m so excited to welcome you into our community.

Whether you are just starting your first business analyst role, exploring the profession to see if it’s a good fit, or, like many of our course participants, happily discovering that there is a role and a title for the work you’ve been doing for years, you are in the right place.

In this free training, you are going to learn what exactly a business analyst is, explore the career opportunities that are available to you as a business analyst, and learn how to get a successful start in your career.

You’ll even learn how to approach your first project as a business analyst and address some of the most common problems that surface when you don’t use a trusted process or structure for your business analyst work. Because here is where I was. When I first started out as a business analyst it felt like I was figuring out what to do day-to-day, and there were always surprises.

I absolutely loved the work. I got a huge salary increase over my role in quality assurance – about 40% – right away. I got to work with a variety of people, solve interesting problems, and effect real change in my organization.

But I also felt a little lost.

Challenges would pop in out of nowhere, and I had to figure out how to deal with them. If I hadn’t had the support and guidance of a senior mentor on my team, I don’t know that my first big project would have turned out the success it did. But at the time, even she didn’t know there was a profession of business analysts and best practices for doing the work we were doing.

After getting through that first big project, and then getting experience on multiple different types of projects and on different project teams from tradition to agile, from co-located to geographically dispersed, from custom software to implementing third-party tools, I started to see that the essential steps that ensured my success were always the same, no matter what domain I was in, what methodology my client used, or what technology was being implemented.

Here’s the thing. Despite all my doubts and internal struggles, people always told me I was a great business analyst. There was something I knew intuitively about how to get the right requirements, and solve the right problems, and even make the process a bit of fun for everyone involved.

What Is a Business Analyst?

Now before we get too far into the details here, let’s take a step back and talk about what a business analyst role actually is. I see a lot of misconceptions about this in the industry and it causes a lot of confusion.

“Business analysis is the practice of enabling change in an enterprise by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders.”

A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge, V3

There is a lot to unpack in this definition. And we could spend hours talking about it. The essential phrase, to me, is enabling change. In fact, that’s the core component of my Business Analyst Manifesto.

Out of chaos, we create order.

Out of disagreement, we create alignment.

Out of ambiguity, we create clarity.

But most of all, we create positive change for the organizations we serve.

And I go on to say…

On every successful project, you’ll find a business analyst.

But you might be thinking…I’ve been on successful projects where there is no business analyst, how can this be true?

Business Analysis Is about the Role, Not the Title

Business analysis is not about the job title. It’s about the process of enabling positive change, and delivering solutions that deliver real value to stakeholders. It’s about the collaborative and analytical work of clarifying requirements to solutions that solve real business problems.

Now, let’s talk about this term solution because this doesn’t have to be a software solution.

  • Updating a business process is also a solution.
  • Upgrading infrastructure is a solution.
  • Moving from one office space to another is a solution.

At Bridging the Gap, we focus on helping business analysts create positive change through business process and software solutions. It’s what I know best. And it’s the kind of work that encompasses the vast majority of job roles available to you.

Oh, and on that note, projections show that there are hundreds of thousands of new business analyst roles opening up in the coming years. And the salary expectations are astounding.

According to the 2017 IIBA salary survey, the average salary for business analysts in the United States is $94,881. And while it’s difficult to interpret a worldwide average because of currency fluctuations and cost of living variations, the number that came from the survey was around $85,000 per year.

And to emphasize the point – taking advantage of these opportunities is not about the title – it is about the role. It is about recognizing your skills and experiences and responsibilities that align to what a business analyst does. And this is why so many people feel thrown into the deep end!

You Don’t Have to Make Things Up As You Go Along…

They don’t have the title and so they don’t realize they are business analysts, and so they make things up as they go along when there is a profession and a body of work to support them.

This is what I realized back in 2008 when I started Bridging the Gap, and my goal was to share what I’d been learning through all of my experience and give others an easier path.

And to be honest, in those early days, I thought that a structured, streamlined business analysis process would be impossible to create. Projects are so different. Stakeholders do unexpected things! Every domain has its own nuances. I felt like I’d succeeded by making it up as I was going along.

But the Bridging the Gap community challenged me to go bigger with my work. Because I kept hearing the same challenges, again and again, and I knew the solutions. Challenges like:

  • I’m being told I’m too business oriented and I have no idea what that means.
  • We built a software solution, but the business isn’t using it the right way.
  • And from the new business analysts, or those aspiring to be business analysts, overwhelm about where to start a new project and authentic fear that they would make a big career-ending mistake.

There Is a Step-By-Step Process to Business Analysis

Then I realized that these challenges all can be solved by the same step-by-step process.

It was up to me to create a process from what I’d been doing intuitively well for years and teach others how to successfully deliver valuable solutions that meet the requirements.

I came up with an 8-step process, and they are the steps you go through, again and again, to be successful as a business analyst on a business process or software change project.

I’ll be totally honest here. This was an incredible relief – to see that success could come from a process instead of happening to do the right thing at the right time. To know I could create a predictable result from my work, instead of making it up as I went along. To even be able to anticipate some of the challenges I would face and be proactive to minimize their impact or even eliminate them entirely.

I teach the details of this process in our BA Essentials Master Class and now over a 1,000 students have gone through the course and made simple, but extremely important, changes that dramatically shift the outcomes of their project work.

They are more confident. They are more respected. And their work gets easier even while they are able to tackle more complex projects and navigate higher-impact problems and higher-level stakeholders. I’m going to teach you the 8-step process in the next video.

How to Overcome a Few Main Challenges

In the meantime, let me share a few secrets to address each of these main challenges.

If you are being told you are too business oriented, what this often means is that you are a bit of a doormat for the business. You are receiving their information, their list of requests, and passing that laundry list on for implementation.

Good business analysis requires that we dig into these requests, to understand what the business truly needs, and find solutions that will deliver real value. It means we focus on what’s most important, not just what the stakeholders say they want. It also means appreciating the reality of budget and technology constraints, and collaborating to solve problems.

And if you built a technology solution, but the business isn’t using it the right way, then you don’t understand their process and requirements. There is really no way around this.

You may have also overlooked the true problem to be solved. Perhaps you or a sponsor got excited about a new software to implement. Perhaps you were under time pressure and needed to deliver something quickly. Perhaps you couldn’t get access to key stakeholders and had to make assumptions.

No matter – You didn’t really get the buy-in you needed to be successful and you moved forward anyway.

And for the new business analysts, those who are overwhelmed about where to get started, the most important thing is to stop believing that you have to make this up as you go along. There is no business analyst voodoo.

Even though not all experienced BAs can explain what they do and why, that doesn’t mean that you have to become some sort of magician to be a business analyst. What’s more, the frustrations you are experiencing, no matter what they are, are probably more normal than you think.

We’ve had thousands of course participants go through our programs, and the same challenges pop up again and again. Whether its stakeholders not showing up to your meetings, or showing up but not answering your questions, or coming to you with solutions instead of requirements– we’ve seen it all, it’s all normal, and the 8-step process will help.

What About Agile?

One more thing I want to address head on – and that’s agile.

Agile methodologies are extremely important and they impact certain aspects of how we do business analysis. But agile is not a business analysis process.

Agile is a software development process and in many ways, agile methodologies assume that some business analysis has been done.

Less informed agile practitioners don’t fully appreciate what goes into understanding what the business wants and needs from a software solution, and so the business analysis work gets simplified in agile, but that doesn’t mean that’s right.

The 8-step process you’ll learn in the next lesson is totally and completely relevant in agile, and I’ll walk you through exactly how to make it work if you are on an agile team.

So that’s a bit about what’s coming in the next lesson.

After that, we’re going to do a deep dive into templates and skill sets, and share how Bridging the Gap can help you more effectively start your business analyst career. I’m so excited to share the rest of this training with you.

I believe we build our profession one business analyst at a time and that business analysts make the world a better place.

Please leave a comment below. Let me know – what most excites you about being a business analyst?

Welcome to Bridging the Gap. We can’t wait to help you take the next step and achieve more success starting your business analyst career.

Comments

  1. Gloria Innocent says

    Hi Laura,

    I started a new role as a business analyst and i do not know exactly what it entails.

    I am happy to learn so much in this first lesson, it is inspiring and i know i will definitely do great in this job role.

    Is it possible i get a certification as a business analyst? If yes. What are the requirements?

    I look forward to your reply and the next lesson.

    Thank you

  2. Sandra VINCENT says

    Thank you very much Laura for your advises and your positive energy.

    My biggest challenge is to be credible as a BA with a business domain I have no experience on.

    Looking forward to watching your next video and reading your book!

    Take care.

    Sandra

  3. oluwatobi ojo says

    Hi Laura
    I love your presentation and it is great.I am new in BA and i will like to make a positive impact through it

    Regards

  4. Ifunanya Linda Ebadan says

    Thank you so much for the detailed information on BA.

    I am very new in this area as am about to change my career path.

    I would love to hear more from you on how to get certified and how much and how long it cost?

  5. Laura,
    Thank you very much for the part 1 of BA Success. I appreciate it. I am excited and hungry to learn the 8 steps next.
    Thank you for your time, presentation.
    .

    • Disha Trivedi says

      Hello Farrah.

      That’s wonderful to hear. Welcome to BTG.

      Best,
      Disha Trivedi, CBAP
      BTG Instructor

  6. Kristen Clay says

    I’m so excited to have found this amazing resource – I feel like I’ve finally found my tribe! In every role I’ve been in, I’ve been doing “business analyst things” without even realizing it. To be honest, I’ve always been a bit intimidated by the formal title of Business Analyst but I am realizing now that all I am missing is the language around the process and tools – but the instincts are there. I am really looking forward to learning more and launching a new career as a legit BA!

  7. nice one

  8. As a business analyst I think you adress the main challenges I face daily. Thank you for insightful video

  9. Ginny Kaur says

    Hi, I want to start BA Analysts career after being full time mom from last 10 years.
    I do have 5 years of HR experience earlier.

    This video is definitely very positive and powerful to motivate anyone.

    Wanted to know if it’s okay to start a fresh as a Business Analyst
    Thanks

  10. hi company very good

  11. hi company very good

  12. HI Laura,
    Iam new to BA this course really helps me understand more abt the role of BA and responsiblities associated with this.

    Thank you

  13. Danish Aga says

    This type of work interests me the most and I hope to learn more and start my own career as a business analyst.

  14. Alberto Moreno says

    Hi Laura,
    Thanks a lot for clarifying the BA role, giving us the keys … It’s like as ‘giving-the-path’ 🙂
    I’m going to read all your articles and complete these video parts.
    What most excites me about being a business analyst? It’s to add value letting business to flow the most efficiently.

    Regards

  15. CPA Michael Jenkins Nankunda says

    I am CPA Michael Jenkins Nankunda from Uganda.. what excited me about BA is data analysis because there is always a story behind the information collected in any business Enterprise

  16. Hi mam, I’m susmitha and I’m doing my UG degree in Bcom BA. I’m really thanking u for this more useful video.I’m very helpful in my studies by this video.And also I’m eagerly waiting for the next session

  17. Rajinder Grover says

    Hi Laura,

    What a powerful video it was !!!! i am new to BA and have 27 years of work experience but have never worked on BA and I am looking forward to learn this and implement in my work moving forward.

    Thanks

  18. Wilson Pun says

    Laura,

    Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge with us. I’m totally new to BA. My friend was telling me that I’d be better off learning Scrums before I seek the BA certification. What would you recommend?

    • Disha trivedi says

      Hello Wilson,

      Thank you for your query. Scrum Master and BA are two very different roles. There are certainly some transferable skills, but my recommendation would be to research what each of it entails and go from there. Also, there are times when a BA might temporarily act as a scrum master, but that is not the most common way to doing it.

      Thanks,
      Disha Trivedi,CBAP
      BTG Instructor

  19. Thank you for sharing the valuable information about the BA’s, please let me know how can o proceed to the next lesson?

  20. Mamatha Mallepalli says

    What excites me about BA is that I would like to analyse business problems and be able to deliver the most outstanding solutions!

  21. Tracy Gatis says

    Wow! Who knew all these decades I have been doing BA projects within my other positions? FINALLY, the piece of my roles that I loved the most, now I can make into a dedicated position! Thank you SO MUCH Laura, you have no idea how exciting this is for me! Now, time to “fill the gaps” to learn BA processes and lingo…….counting on you to provide that direction, Laura! 🙂

    • Disha trivedi says

      That’s great Tracy!

      We are happy to provide direction that you need. The articles on the BTG website are a great resource and I highly recommend checking those out.

      Best,
      Disha Trivedi,CBAP
      BTG Instructor
      .

  22. Just finished the first video. Looking forward to the next!

    I am curious about transitioning to a BA role down the road and often worry that my current role has limited understanding and experience that can be applied. But Laura’s mention of having a guided process reminds me of challenges that I overcome in my role also through structured methods that helped me to succeed. Very reassuring!

    • Disha trivedi says

      Hello Tom,

      Being a Business Analyst is amalgamation of many skills. You might already possess some already, some you may need to acquire, and some you will learn in future when a role needs you to. It is completely okay if you don’t have all the skills right now, or are honing a few. Recognizing what you need and how you can develop those skills is an important step.

      I invite you to check out the blogs written by Laura. One of the article that I think you will enjoy is: https://www.bridging-the-gap.com/42-reasons-to-consider-starting-a-business-analyst-career/.

      This article outlines the various traits of a BA.

      All the best,
      Disha Trivedi

  23. Martins Nnaemeka Osuji says

    Hello and thanks for this. Looking forward to what I can learn from the next few lessons

  24. Hi Laura,

    I didn’t find video links to Part-2 and Part-3 sections. Can you please share some URL to open next sections of this video.

    • Disha trivedi says

      Hello Vipul,

      Thank you for your question.
      The links to the training video will be delivered to your inbox. Part 2 must have been delivered already and part 3 will be coming soon.

      Best,
      Disha Trivedi
      BTG Instructor

  25. Thank you for walking me through, I appreciate it and hope I will learn and become a BA by Role not by Title. I am looking forward get over the Bridging the Gap program and start CCBA because I have membership of the IIBA already .

    • Disha trivedi says

      Hello Josphat.

      That sounds like an excellent plan and kudos for recognizing that role can be just significant if one doesn’t have a BA title yet.

      We wish you wonderful learning journey. Please reach out to us if we can be of any help!

      Best,
      Disha Trivedi
      BTG Instructor

  26. The role and responsibilities that BA performs on daily basis excites me a most. Daily there are new challenges, each day there is new work to do, new things to learn that creates a challenging environment. Helping stakeholders with their problems by understanding them and suggesting them appropriate solutions not just what they want but actually that could give their business some value excites me the most.

    • Disha trivedi says

      Hello Vipul,

      Indeed, the BAs are always working with new sets of challenges and coming up with solutions and workarounds. It continues to be exciting!

      Best,
      Disha Trivedi
      BTG Instructor

  27. Frankfungamenza@gmail.com says

    What excites me about BA is that I want to learn and understand the most pressing business problems and be able to deliver the most outstanding solutions!

  28. Hi, I am interested in working as BA, does it require formal MBA degree? I have lots of QA experience. Please clarify. How do I approach for positions related to BA role when I don’t have this experience.
    I don’t find Part2 and Part3 of this video? Could you share the links. Really appreciate for such advise/videos.

    • Disha trivedi says

      Hello Sonia,

      Thank you for your questions.

      You must have already received parts 2 and 3.

      There are many transferable skills from the QA role to the BA role, and no, MBA is not a requirement. It’s nice to have for certain BA roles but there are many more that don’t require it. Please follow the link below for more information on the various roles help by BAs in their previous life:

      https://www.bridging-the-gap.com/career-backgrounds-business-analysts/

      Happy learning.

      Best,
      Disha Trivedi
      BTG Instructor

  29. Syed Rizwan Tirmizi says

    Hi, Laura, thank you very much for this tremendous complimentary effort you are making for people wants to start BA carrier. Your first introductory vdo is simple and easy to understand the BA role. I am being new to this field wanted something like thing to start with. I came from airline background, worked as aircraft performance engineer and navigation specialist, got interest in IT having done several IT projects during my career. Learning IT on my own, what I conclude is two major fields will have huge impact in business, that is, data management and artificial intelligence. BA having huge role in both, hence I would like to start my career as BA to contribute in this creative field of new dimensions.

    • Disha trivedi says

      Hello Syed,

      Thank you for sharing your journey with us – it’s inspiring. Data Management has many related roles that would benefit from the foundational skills practiced by BAs. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning might cross paths with Business Analysis slightly differently where in business analysis will be performed better with AI and ML. Or at least, that is how things look right now! In either case, I agree that as a BA, we can play a significant role when the paths cross or these new roles emerge.

      Best,
      Disha Trivedi, CBAP
      BTG Instructor

  30. Bridging the gap iam so glad that iam join to business analyst training programme.

  31. Arvind Kumar Mishra says

    It was tremendous session by all content your have pinned to my email.

    • Disha trivedi says

      Hello Arvind,

      That is wonderful! It is great to have you at Bridging The Gap.
      Best,
      Disha Trivedi, CBAP
      BTG Instructor

  32. ERIKA LORANGE says

    What excites me are the many different and exciting opportunities that open up for a person with this skill set.

    • Disha Trivedi says

      Hello Erika,

      Truly said. The core BA skills are transferable to many roles and extensible as well. With the constant evolving IT landscape, some of the core analysis and stakeholder management techniques are extremely valuable. Also, domain is not a constraint.

      Best,
      Disha Trivedi, CBAP
      BTG Instructor

  33. It should be nice. It is to explore.
    Thanks
    Alind saxena

  34. I’m coming from a QA background and looking to transition. What excites me most about the BA role is truly feeling involved in the success of an implementation from the very onset to post production. In some QA roles, participation was throughout the SDLC and in some roles, participation was very limited. Being a BA, I see full engagement from beginning to end.

  35. Alan Cook says

    Hi Laura, thank you so much for a great video – really helped put things into perspective. I really liked the way you highlighted that the BA process is complementary but distinct from the project life cycle, and provided a mapped out process. I also liked the way you drew a line between Agile and the BA process. Looking forward to learning more about your BA process – when is the next video available?

    • Disha Trivedi says

      Hello Alan,

      Thank you for leaving your feedback. It’s great to know that the insights resonated with you. The next step of videos should have been delivered to you. All the best learning!

      Best,
      Disha Trivedi, CBAP
      BTG Instructor

  36. Ogagaoghene David Gbikeke says

    Business analyst are more like business doctors and that’ is what really intrigued me about the profession, I count wait to begin the Incredible journey to being a recko-able business analyst

    • Disha trivedi says

      Hello Ogagaoghene,

      We as Business Analysts do indeed help businesses in pain find where it hurts and then fix it 🙂

      Best,
      Disha Trivedi, CBAP
      BTG Instructor

  37. Thank you. I am actually not a BA, but a startup founder. I own a tech start up but have no tech background. I am creating use cases/scenarios, etc and want to learn how to do this for myself before I release this task to any other team member. Thank you so much for your passion and helpful youtube videos around this 🙂

    • Disha trivedi says

      Thank you RJ for taking the time to leave your comment. We are to have been of assistance to you!

      Best,
      Disha Trivedi, CBAP
      BTG Instructor

  38. Sourabh Shrestha says

    What excited me the most about being a BA is the focus to eradicate business problems of stakeholders.

    • Disha trivedi says

      Hello Sourabh,

      Absolutely, we bring a special skillset and viewpoint to the table to find the right problem and the right solution! Thanks for your comment.

      Best,
      Disha Trivedi, CBAP
      BTG Instructor

  39. What excites me most about being a Business Analyst is enabling positive change for my organization.

    • Disha trivedi says

      Absolutely! Creating a positive impact is always fulfilling.

      Best,
      Disha Trivedi, CBAP
      BTG Instructor

  40. What excites me the most about Business analysis is the opportunity to make the world a better place while making good money…lol

    • Disha trivedi says

      Hello Edjo,

      Thank you for sharing what excites you about being a BA, and you nailed it 🙂

      Best,
      Disha Trivedi, CBAP
      BTG Instructor

    • Hi Laura,

      Thanks for such a great explanation regarding BA. I am a newbie in this field. I want to learn more about it and expand my knowledge graph.
      Looking forward to learn more.
      I wanted to change my career path in BA Role, Currently I am working as a QA & having 6 years of exp in IT industry. Is this change helpful for me in future?

      Thanks & Regards,
      Kanan, CSM

  41. Preethie Vimalan says

    What excites me about being a BA is creating those positive change and moving the needle from hesitation to complete trust.

    Looking forward to next video!

Comment

*