Where Is Your Business Analyst Career Stuck?

Getting stuck is the easiest thing to do. I get stuck all the time. In line at the supermarket. On the phone with customer service. In project work that stifles my creative juices. Without the tools I need to be effective. On the phone with people who seem to want to suck the energy right out of me. And occasionally, even, in jobs that are going nowhere.

Don’t you get stuck sometimes? Is your business analyst career stuck somewhere right now?

We all get stuck. At times it’s just a bit of stickiness, like that price tag that sticks to your pinky finger as you are trying to toss it. Other times it’s more like duct tape wrapped around your ankles.

If you don’t feel you are stuck once in awhile it might be because you are really not trying to get anywhere. This means you can be stuck and not even realize it.

You can be stuck in big ways, like being unemployed or severely underemployed or unhappily employed. You can be stuck in small ways, like trying to find the right analysis tool to solve a difficult problem. It’s really easy to get stuck.

And then there’s the medium-sized stuckness where many find themselves at any given time. This is when you are on a plateau and you don’t have a clear path forward. So you keep walking along the plateau and wait for an answer.This is the worst kind of stuck. If you pick your head up and look around you might discover that you’ve worked yourself into in a duct-taped career straight-jacket.

I’ve been stuck too, in and out of business analysis

Interested to hear a bit more about how I’ve been stuck? I recorded a short video to share a few of my sticky stories.

>>Get Yourself Unstuck

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Comments

  1. Mohamed, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Having a job with the flexibility to explore alternative approaches can be an ideal situation in which to “get unstuck”. I really don’t believe the lack of formal training should be a barrier — there is so much information available out there. Just setting one small goal a week to overcome a work-related challenge and applying a BA principle that you read about here or on other blogs will take you a long, long way.

    I write a bit more about this approach here: http://www.bridging-the-gap.com/how-to-become-a-better-business-analyst/

    If training is absolutely necessary in getting unstuck, there are many low cost training options as well. I believe I’ve recommended one to you via email, but just in case I haven’t, here is the link to find out more about a virtual, on-demand training option that provides an affordable option to learning the BA fundamentals: http://www.bridging-the-gap.com/business-analyst-career-resources/requirements-training-roadmap-to-success/

    Best,
    Laura

  2. MOHAMED JAMEEL says

    Hi Laura,
    Its a nice post .
    came to know more about the different criticality faced by the BA’s all over the world.
    Even as described earlier, I do get stuck up wit the kind of bond I have started developing with my company, boss, and fellow colleagues.
    And I didn’t get any formal training from any of my peers relating to biz analysis.
    But I love the job since am allowed to explore except to the fact that no formal training is provided.
    And its my insatiable eagerness to bring the company am working into limelight during my tenure.

    Kindly help me out

  3. Amey, Sounds like a great plan. Looking forward to hearing how this goes for you! Getting unstuck is more a matter of small steps than big ones, so stay positive and look for small wins to celebrate!

  4. Amey Gharse says

    Hi Laura,

    That is exactly how we as an offshore BU function here in India. I guess Il have to speak up and try and get myself into the functional testing role to start with..thanks again for the advice.

    Looking forward to more knowledge transfer and eventually Bridging the Gap! 🙂

  5. Dina, You might check out this Help a BA! post for some ideas related to volunteering.

    http://www.bridging-the-gap.com/help-a-ba-how-do-i-find-volunteer-positions/

  6. Hi Guyes,
    Thanks for you helpful feedback,but how can i be a volunteer in another project to rais my experience as a BA, can you advice me by companies name or type projects, etc

  7. Amey,
    I see now. I think this is a tough challenge for those that work in outsourced companies as many US companies choose strategically to keep BA in house because it is so imperative to their business. To begin to accumulate experiences, I would start by trying to transition to that functional testing role. Then partner with the US BAs as closely as possible and see what leadership functions you can take on within your company to help them succeed. It may not be a perfect “BA” role, but you will have built many BA experiences, setting you up to be qualified for a BA role, should it open at your company, or find a new job in a different company.

  8. Amey Gharse says

    The requirements gathering is done by the BAs on the US side. We do have BAs in India but only involved in the functional testing side of the product development. They aren’t involved in the initial client discussions for the requirements gathering.

  9. Hi Amey,

    Thanks for following and now commenting!

    I appreciate your situation. It sounds like you are in a situation where the BA role would need to be created as well as you become qualified for it. This can be a good situation, because it positions you to potentially take on business analysis tasks within the context of your software development role. As you look at your process, who does the requirements? (This may be very informal.) How can you position yourself to be involved in that process?

  10. Amey Gharse says

    Hi Laura,

    I am subscribed to your blog for quite sometime now and I must say most of the articles are and have been knowledge building sessions for me to learn BA.

    I think I am unhappily employed as of now. I want to transition to a role of a BA from the current software development role. But there are no opportunities in my current company. So I am stuck as to how I transition going forward!

  11. Would it be politically possible to volunteer to work on projects that are outside your manager’s scope/assigned area?

  12. hi Laura,
    I really get stuck when my manager doesn’t give me the opportunity to be a good BA. He always take the best chance in a good project to built his experience and assigns me tasks that I will not take any experience from.
    really I need a help to built my experience although my manager doesn’t help.
    Really I would love to be senior BA

    Please help,
    Dina

    • Hi Dina, You raise an interesting challenge. Sometimes in organizations there are only so many roles to go around and someone ends up doing what might seem like the less challenging tasks. Have you spoken with your manager about your goals and professional development plans and your desire to take on new and more challenging experiences?

  13. Hi Jane, I don’t think getting stuck is unique to BAs whatsoever nor would I say it’s a characteristic of the BA profession. But, just like those other people you mention, I think BAs do get stuck. Clear direction on a career path is one challenge that comes up a lot. I hear about people trying to move, but seeing the only path “up” is “out” of the profession. This is something we are hoping to see change over time. Each BA that gets themselves unstuck helps build more momentum for these senior level roles, such as enterprise analysis, business architecture, and process engineering.

    Laura

    Laura

  14. Is getting “stuck” really unique to BA’s? I’ve worked in a number of administrative, middle management and risk analysis roles and have encountered lots of people in these areas who are stuck. I think it’s a state of mind or even of apathy rather than a job charateristic. The GFC was a bad time for being laid off but a good time in the sense of making some of us think about what else we can turn our minds to.

    A good BA is adaptable – if you’re stuck then look to another industry, career level or role!

    THere is however a lack of clear direction for BAs. Goodness forbid if you don’t want to be a PM (full credit to you all but yuck!) More options need to be made available to us like Enterprise analysis, business architecture, and process engineering. The corporate world doesn’t understand enough about the nuances of these skill sets to be recruiting for them.

  15. Hi LuAnn,

    Welcome to Bridging the Gap. I’m sorry to hear about your job situation but do trust that others are in your same situation. You’ll find some support here, both in solidifying your prior experiences and accumulating new ones to really help create a solid business analyst career.

    Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to collaborating with you!

    Best,
    Laura

  16. LuAnn Larsen says

    You were talking to me when you said you can be stuck without realizing it. I worked for a great company with great people until I was laid off. Although I’ve been in several areas of technology, as I look forward, and back, it was the business analysis part of my job that I enjoyed. I just found your blog so I’m very interested in now keeping up with it.

    LuAnn

  17. Hi Tom, Being self-employed on some volunteer projects is a great starting point. I am sure this has been a tough journey, but your activities are to be honored. I haven’t seen anyone else more involved in helping others as you are.

    Gideon, Thanks for the positive feedback. And good question on how to determine whether or not you are in a dead-end job. I would suggest starting by finding what your manager values or what the pain points are that he experiences. Can business analysis be fit in to solve those problems?

    Laura

  18. Gideon Badmus says

    Hi Laura,

    I have been following your blog, and must commend you for the good cause.
    Recently, I’ve been asking myself if I am stuck in a dead end job.
    I’d fall into the category of unhappily employed.
    I’ve got a strong desire to be a BA, however my manager is failing to see how it would benefit him.
    I am currently looking for a BA job and hopefully move on from my current state.

  19. I am “stuck” in the ultimate stuckyness. I don’t have a job as a Business Analyst (except that I am “self-employed” on some volunteer project(s)). I am threatening to go out and start selling websites later this week 🙁

  20. Hi Jenny,

    That’s another good point that admitting a stuckness to your manager can be career-limiting. It’s nice to hear you found a situation in the past where openness led to receiving appropriate support.

    I imagine there are ways to frame stuckness in more positive ways. So maybe instead of focusing on being unhappy with your current situation, help your manager see a shared vision of a future situation and enlist them to support you getting there. I’d be interested to hear if and how others have experience overcoming this challenge as well.

    Laura

  21. Jenny Nunemacher says

    Yes, good point, Chris. I think in any profession that there is a sense that if you admit that you’re stuck that you are unhappy with your current job (assuming that you’re stuck in an employed status), and to admit this might be dangerous to that employed status.

    It has been very good for me to have a mentor-like relationship with another business analyst. In one of my previous positions I had a great BA manager, with whom I got along well personally and professionally. I was very comfortable talking with him about my struggles and challenges which allowed me to be equally receptive to his constructive criticism and advice for managing those challenges.

  22. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the good vibes and positive feedback. Getting stuck is definitely a strength — great way to put it! I don’t see it as a bad thing at all, though it definitely doesn’t always feel so good at the time.

    Very interesting point about this being a taboo topic. I think if we talked about it more and were open about it, getting unstuck would be easier. There is no lack of resources for help, it’s just a matter of finding the right piece of information or advice to apply at the right time.

    Laura

  23. You keep striking the essential and often overlooked topics in BA and IT alike. Very refreshing to hear (and now see 🙂 ) someone speaking so frank and open about it. I think these topics are often concerned taboe in a (often) male dominated environment. In these environments ‘getting stuck’ is seen as a weakness rather than a strenght which it really is ! Keep up the good work !

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