Spring Has Sprung

The first day of spring is March 20th.  The whole world seems to wake up and bring forth green grass and colorful flowers.  Spring just seems to be the time of renewal and of rebirth. Do you find yourself thinking about summer?  Or do you start thinking about your career development?

Keeping your skills current is an important part of everyone’s career.  Let’s face it I would be uncomfortable working with a doctor whose medical knowledge hasn’t been updated since the 70s.  Keeping current and learning new modern techniques in your profession is critical to ensure you are not outdated.

A lot has changed in the business analysis profession in the last few years.  Data science and artificial intelligence are in the fore front of business analysis thought leaders.  Agile continues to make a greater presence in many organizations.  With all the change that has happened over the year in technology and business, have you changed your approach to business analysis?

If you do what you have always done – you will get what you have always got.  Change for the sake of change isn’t the answer but learning and adapting modern and new techniques for business analysis is important to being more effective as a business analyst.  Have you learned a new technique for business analysis recently?  Have you added tools and techniques to your business analysis toolbox?

We are constantly challenged to do more with less.  Learning new modern techniques for business analysis can effectively up your game.  Its challenge to learn new techniques and apply them to the current situation at hand.  Some skills will sit in my tool box waiting their turn to be used.  Every project is different and needs a different set of tools and techniques to complete the project.  Not taking the time to learn the new technique would be been a hindrance to my current situation.  A broad knowledge of tools and techniques – even at a high level – has always been beneficial to effectively eliciting requirements and creating solid solution designs.

Let’s spring clean that business analysis toolbox.  Open it up and check out the tools and techniques you have in your toolbox.  Are they modern and up to date?  Is your tool box filled with too few techniques?  Is there a technique you want to add to your toolbox?  Search the web and find all those new techniques for business analysis.  Do they make sense for you?  Could you modify them to work on a future or current project?

Here’s my personal inventory of techniques:

  • -       User Stories
  • -       Story Boarding
  • -       A / B Testing
  • -       Process Modeling
  • -       Environment Modeling
  • -       Business Canvas Modeling
  • -       Functional Decomposition Diagram
  • -       Context Diagram
  • -       DMAIC
  • -       PDCA
  • -       Spaghetti Diagram
  • -       Hot Air Balloon
  • -       Visual Agenda
  • -       Wire Frame It
  • -       Data Modeling
  • -       Data Dictionary
  • -       Epic
  • -       Retrospective / Reviews
  • -       Requirements Work Plan
  • -       Gap Analysis
  • -       And more…

Take an inventory of your skill sets.  Do you feel there are things missing?  Are there techniques you wish you had time to learn?  Put a plan together on how you will add these missing techniques to your toolbox.

How do you know what techniques are missing?  Consult that BABOK under the techniques section and see if any of those techniques trigger your interest to learn more about them.  Stop by your favorite BA website, iiba.org, batimes.com, or your local IIBA chapters web site.  Follow the business analysis group or IIBA group on linkedin.com.  See what other business analysts are talking about and see if that reading triggers thoughts on new techniques you would want to learn.  I just finished a great article on a new approach to creating a business canvas model.  Share in the comments the techniques that interest you or you just learned!