The Ripple Effect of Your Work as a Business Analyst

As business analysts, we find it really hard to communicate our value. And we often feel under-valued and under-appreciated.

In reality, our ripple effect is huge.  You know when you throw a stone in a pond and there are ripples and ripples of water that flow out from that one stone falling into the water? That’s what a ripple effect looks like.

And your work creates a similar flow of value and transformation – much of it goes unnoticed, not just by your stakeholders but also by you. In this video, you’ll start to see more of your ripple effect, and learn some new ways to talk about your value too.


For those who like to read instead of watch, here’s the full text of the video:

Today, I want to talk to you about your ripple effect. One challenge I hear from business analysts and aspiring business analysts again, and again, and again is:

“I don’t know how to communicate my value. People just don’t appreciate me. They don’t appreciate what I do. They don’t appreciate what I have to offer. And they don’t value me as a business analyst.”

The reality is that your ripple effect is huge. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a ripple effect, if you think about throwing a stone into the pond, it plops, and then there are those ripples that come away from it. Your work as a business analyst has a ripple effect just like that.

Now, we can’t talk about your entire ripple effect. We’ll be here for hours. I want to talk about just one slice of it. That’s what happens when you engage in business analysis work to improve a business process.

Let’s talk about that.

Discovery Helps Stakeholders Be Heard

When you’re improving a process as a business analyst, it usually starts with the discovery process. You sit down with stakeholders and figure out what they’re doing today and hear about their challenges, and what’s wrong with the process, and all different kinds of things. It might be the first time that stakeholder, that end user, that person, actually feels heard. They might have been complaining about this problem for years. If you do your job right, they will feel like you’ve listened to them, you’ve understood what they’re saying, and maybe you’re going to do something to help. But you at least understand the problem.

Discovery, we’re not talking about the solutions, we’re just talking about what is the problem and how does it exist today. Just by going through that process, you have the ripple effect of helping someone feel heard, and that could shift how they communicate with their next co-worker, or how they show up when the next time they’re on the phone with a customer, or just how they choose to do their work day to day.

Then, of course, you’re discovering those problems, those things, those needling issues that nobody bothered to complain about because nobody was listening anyway. Those are opportunities for your business to improve and do better.

Analysis Leads to Layers and Layers of “Aha!” Moments

Then we roll into more of an analysis process. We put a lot of detail behind it and find all these gaps and understanding and put together documentation. Honestly, this is the part that frustrates the heck out of a lot of end users. They just don’t understand why this level of detail is necessary. But when you persevere, you have to sell them on the process a little bit. When you start to work with them and engage them in your structured thinking about the business process that they own and they do every day, a lot of times they’ll start to have some “Aha!” moments.

So that frustrating point of, “Oh my gosh, Joe in Accounting is always just giving me this work that’s not fully finished,” or “HR just does this and why don’t they know how to do their job?” All these frustrations, these little needling issues that people are probably complaining about at the water cooler or whatever, all of a sudden, it should start to make sense because when you map out the process from the beginning to the end, we see where those gaps in understanding are.

We see why somebody doesn’t receive information that we think they should magically have. We start to plug in our gaps and we also see how our work affects others.

Talking now about your ripple effect as a business analyst and helping your stakeholders cultivate that understanding; that understanding of why their work does what it does, and why other people do what they do. That can lead to much more informed expectations, much more harmonious relationships, work just flowing better in your organization, and people, overall, being a little bit happier in your organization.

Again, the next time they get on the phone with a customer, the next time they talk to that person, what kind of shift happens for them?  What kind of shift happens for them, maybe, when they go home from work and they’re not so frustrated about, what’s been happening and what that other person decided to do or didn’t decide to do. So, just look at that ripple effect again. Ripple, ripple, ripple, ripple, ripple, ripple.

Improvement Frees Up Energy for More Fulfilling Work

Okay, so let’s talk about improving the process. So often we start here. We’re like, “Oh, I achieved this ROI. We eliminated 10 steps or saved hours of work,” or all of these things. Improving a process definitely has a huge effect for your organization. It can save company resources from wasted effort, it can deliver more value to your customers which leads to more revenue. There are hard numbers and reasons that we do business process work.

It can also lead to more fulfilling work for people if there’s a step that gets automated or a redundant step that gets eliminated. There may be a lot of busy work that just kind of gets set aside and no longer becomes necessary once you look at, and improve, your process.

Think about those things and how this little slice that you did was improving a process. All of a sudden there are all of these little tentacles going around – I’m mixing metaphors there – but all of these ripple effects of the impact of that work that you had.

And YOU, what about YOU?

Now, I want to bring this around and think about you because you’ve been in the middle of, now, discovering, analyzing, and improving processes for your organization for your stakeholders. What effect does this work have on you?

Most of the people that I work with, when they start applying a more structured approach to how they do this kind of thing, they start to feel more fulfilled in their work too. Now, you get to help these people. You get to be doing work that feels intrinsically meaningful and has a lot of value.

When you use a process to do this and apply it with confidence, you’re going to earn that respect and trust from your stakeholders.  Instead of just blowing you off, not showing up to your meetings, or telling you, “Hey, I don’t know about requirements,” you have a way to go to them. You have more confidence. You have ways to ask those questions, and that leads to respect.

In my next video, I’m going to talk to you about some specific career changes that have come out of people starting this work. We’re going to talk both about new business analysts and people who are not yet business analysts and how that has worked for them.

The reason this is important is because, quite honestly, you are my ripple effect. We do offer business analysis training at Bridging the Gap. So, we help BAs do business analysis better. When you go out and make these changes in your career, I feel like you are my ripple effect. This is why I’m here. This is why I’m showing up. Thank you for being here.

Before we leave, I want to talk about one more thing. We have a free business analysis and improvement training available for you. It’s only for a limited time, so click the link below. Check it out. See if it’s available. If not, get on our email list so the next time we make a free training available, you’ll be sure to know about it.

This training is going to walk you through what a business process is, what techniques you use to analyze and improve a business process, and three phases that you go through – the detail, the discovery, the analysis, and the improvement – to really create positive change in your organizations. All covered in the free training.

Go ahead and grab it today.

We are getting ready to launch an updated and improved version of our Business Process Analysis and Improvement course.  We’re going to be running it as a live session.  We only do live sessions a few times a year.  If you go ahead and download the free training, you’ll be on the list to know about that as well.

Stay tuned for more details. I will be back soon. I’m so excited. We’ve got lots of fun things going on at Bridging the Gap. 

Right now, though, just take a minute and really ingrain your ripple effect. Think about the things we talked about, the impact that this has on you which, of course, probably impacts how you show up with your friends and family, how you feel about your work – all of that good stuff.

But, also, the effect that you’re having all around you in your organization; both those hard number results of saving money, generating more revenue, but also just the fulfillment people feel in their work and how they feel hurt and appreciated, and the “Aha!” moments that they get to have because you are doing business analysis.

Again, thank you so much for being here. You are my ripple effect.

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