Seconds Again, Round Two: Using Your Hobby To Improve Your Business Analysis Skills


I am training hard once again in preparation for my second fight. You would think I would find it easier the second time, seeing how I’ve been through this before, NO not at all!!! It is not necessarily a bad thing. It is a different fight, difference experience; different opponent, different training pattern, different sparring partners, and embracing that for me will be the key to my success. I can also use the lessons learnt to improve my business analysis skills

Why? I hear you ask; For me, it’s all about the mindset that will allow me to stay open to receive more, more learning for me to experience and practice. That is not to say that I ignore or disregard everything from the 1st fight, some of what I learned from the initial fight will always remain as that is part of the foundations. I will tweak and change other bits based on what I am going through now and I will take out other experiences from my internal tool chest.

How does my training apply to my everyday work as a business analyst?

How many time have you embarked on a piece of work with closed eyes and ears because it a task you have completed before, even if it’s for a brand new project? Now I am not saying that the eyes and ears are closed because the BA is ego driven, but it out of a sense of being comfortable and totally familiar with what lies ahead and in many situations this would suffice.

But consider for a moment what would happen if you went in with some of the past experiences parked in a holding area. With your active listening ears open, not just listening to what the stakeholders and SME’s are saying, but listening for what is not being said, noticing the tone and body language, spotting the incongruences.  You will be able to ask questions based on the current situation, not based on the vast array of ‘stuff’ parked in your holding area…

Why is this important for business analysis?

It can be a really useful tool for the BA during the elicitation of the requirements, especially where the project team consists of different people from different backgrounds and different levels of experience.  During the elicitation stage when we make assumptions, we should aim to recognise and correct what the stakeholders are saying or suggesting, so that it does not become a problem further down the line.

So for me, I have thrown a few jabs, uppercuts, hooks and favourite right hand BUT if I was to approach this fight thinking that I know how to punch, block etc. because I had covered all of that in my first fight prep, I would be blocking, hindering and negatively impacting my learning experience and most probably doing my opponent a big favour.

I’m gradually going to the holding area and taking out the past experience and updating and enhancing it, by adding the understandings I have gained whilst preparing for this fight. This process for me is important because it’s deepening the competency adding fresh insight to it, so I know how to use it in additional ways. I’ve had many a-ha moments. The jab is beginning to take on a new meaning.

Again, this is the same in Business Analysis. Every project or assignment is an opportunity to  deepen your understanding of your functional area, the objectives the project wants to achieve, your specialism as a BA and the vision of the company you work for. It is about how you constantly review, improve and top up your tool-kit; in order to do this, learning how to park is essential.


Patricia is a Senior Business Analyst and a Leadership coach with over 11 years’ experience in Telco Industry
Patricia is a Senior Business Analyst and a Leadership coach with over 11 years’ experience in Telco Industry