Yeah, it’s that time of the year again. Taking stock of the year gone by and making plans for the coming year. I also have this habit of making new year resolutions and one of the permanent resolution is that I will follow my resolutions 🙂 However, irrespective of the success rate, I make resolutions every year without fail.
This year though, I thought I will do a little different exercise. Since my Business Analyst coaching profession allows me to meet varied kind of Business Analysts at various levels and all are seeking career guidance, I thought I will create a common list of resolutions which any Business Analyst anywhere across the world can adopt.
1.Add one or more certifications to your kitty:
If you have been thinking of doing CCBA or CBAP certification, then there is no better time than first half of 2016. IIBA will start the exams on BABOK v3.0 starting Sep 2016. The new BABOK v3.0 is double the size of existing one and the exam is expected to get more difficult due to the complexity introduced by the 5 perspectives apart from 6 knowledge areas. Other Business Analyst certifications that can be targeted in 2016 include agile / scrum, domain related, enterprise architecture, etc.
2.Learn an additional Business domain knowledge:
While having deep knowledge about a particular business domain is useful, the rapidly changing market dynamics demands that a Business Analyst should have the capability to analyze problems in different domains and propose appropriate solutions for them. To build this “learning” capability, we should try to learn another domain this year. This will also help us to creatively evaluate how solutions from different domains can be utilized a completely different business domain.
3.Build cross-functional skill-set:
As more and more teams adopt Agile / Scrum, Business Analysts will have to share more and more work with other team members. This means that if we have some more useful skills like pre-sales, project management, manual testing. automated testing, documentation, etc. then we will be able to add more value to the team and to the customer.
4.Learn (one or more) new tool(s):
Along with building additional domain knowledge and cross-functional skill set, learning a bunch of new tools or techniques should be one of the top priorities for 2016. The tools / techniques could be Business Analyst related (modeling, elicitation, documentation) or management related (agile / scrum project management) or QA related (automated testing, performance testing). Learning new tools will not only help us in increasing our knowledge base but also make us more productive and further impress our clients.
5.Understand Big Data, Data Analytics, Digital Marketing:
While a typical IT software delivery Business Analyst may not get even an inch close to being data scientists or designing marketing campaigns, but as discussed above, all these new technologies are converging to provide a unique, personalized end-user / consumer focused solution. In such a scenario, we should be on top of these buzz words and not just about their meaning, but also in terms of tools & technology used, advantages and disadvantages, and their relevance and usage for current clients.
6.Write at least one Blog or present at least one Paper / Article at a conference:
In my earlier post I have pointed out how Business Analysts need to transcend organizational boundaries to grow professionally. One of the key tools to connect with the larger audience and get their feedback is to either write blogs or present case studies / papers at some industry conference. This will help in propagating our thoughts to a larger audience, connect with industry peers / experts and get constructive feedback about our overall business / technology / best practice knowledge.
7.Network with peers and experts to increase knowledge about business / industry:
Carrying forward above idea, we should explore LinkedIn, and other social media more to grow our professional network. This is going to come in handy to get feedback when you write blogs, finding knowledgeable peers / experts in our area of work, and obviously while hunting the next job opportunity.
8.Take up a little bit of Non-BA work:
BAs have the unique advantage of exposure to different aspects of the business of the client as well as the employer. To take further advantage of such exposure, we should try our hand at few other non-BA responsibilities like project management, testing, pre-sales, sales, consulting, training, etc. This adventure will give us additional insight into how business operates as well as help us in figuring out which career path we want to pursue in future.
9.Pursue a hobby:
So something apart from work. And I don’t mean sleep. Pick up some hobby and spend few hours every week doing that. It will keep the mind relaxed and peaceful. And you never know, if something clicks, then your hobby may even become your profession few years from now!
10.Exercise regularly to be fit:
This is one more permanent resolution I have in my list. This one never gets old or irrelevant. As they say, a sound mind resides in a sound body. We will be able to focus on achieving our resolutions and delivering on our personal and professional commitments only if our body is able to sustain the expectations of today’s hectic life.
There is a popular saying:
“What Lies Behind Us and What Lies Before Us are Tiny Matters Compared to What Lies Within Us”
While making resolutions and planning is all fine, but all that will be useless if those resolutions do not inspire us from within, to go beyond our jobs and schedule and get something awesome done this year. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s make 2016 awesome.
I would love to hear back from you. I am a BA mentor, trainer and Business Analysis consultant. I write about Agile, Business Analysis, Certifications, BA best practices, etc. I have guided 1000s of professionals globally in their pursuit for professional excellence in Business Analysis. Send me a message and we can explore how I can assist you.
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