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You Don't Have To Be A Senior BA To Be A Rock Star Mentor

By Laura Brandenburg, Host, Bridging the GAP; Founder and Instructor, My Business Analysis Career

Originally published at

In the October BA Connection newsletter I shared "5 Reasons Mentoring Will Give Your Career a Boost". There are obviously copious benefits to both participants in a mentor-mentee relationship. Mentees learn from experienced guides. Mentors learn by teaching. Everyone comes out ahead.

In Angie Perris’ IIBA® webinar on the BA Mentoring Relationship, she reiterated and expanded upon these points. She also said:

A mentor is a wise and trusted counselor, teacher, or guide. You don’t have to know everything to be a mentor, but you must have credibility in the area in which you are mentoring.

Along a similar line, about two years ago when I was just considering starting a business analyst mentoring practice and was feeling outdone by the knowledge and expertise of professionals with 20 or 30 years of experience, I received a bit of well-timed advice:

Everyone can help someone. You don’t have to be a 10 to help a 1 step up to a 3.

And in fact, if you are a 10, it might be hard to remember back to what it was like to be a 1. A 5 might actually be better at helping a 1 become a 3. (This is why I don’t learn much about physics from Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory, though I find him hilarious. He’s a presumed 10 and he doesn’t speak to me.)

What’s my point? I think we can all benefit from participating in both sides of the mentor-mentee relationship. And my challenge to you is to look broad and deep into your experience and expertise for areas where you might help someone else.

Yes, this means you: the junior BA, the non-Certified Business Analysis Professional™ (CBAP®) or the non-BA who is trying to get their start. It doesn’t matter whether you have 20 years in the profession but have never read A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK® Guide), or have just a few years of non-BA professional experience and are reading your first book about business analysis.

You might have a natural excellence in a specific knowledge area, such as elicitation, or a knack for helping business users embrace change. You might have industry, business, or technical domain expertise that someone else can benefit from right now to get started on a new project in a domain that’s new to them. You might have figured out how to balance work and personal life (and if so, please get in touch; I’m looking for a mentor in this area).

You have something to give. You can help someone take a step up their career ladder. And you’ll be a better person and a professional for it. Now, go forth and rock the house.

What do you have to give? (Remember you don’t have to be the expert, you just have to be in a position to help one person take one step up.)