Some Hot Business Analysis Topics
3 Key Takeaways from BA Digest (Q2 Edition)
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One of the great things about being editor of BA Digest Magazine is that I get to see a whole range of thought-provoking articles about business analysis before they are published.
There are no fewer than sixteen fantastic articles in the current edition, all available for free. However, for those of you that are short of time, here’s a quick summary of three topics to whet your appetite. It was really hard to choose just three, there are so many worthwhile articles to share, so be sure to download the magazine when you have the time!
1. Cybersecurity: Ignore it at Your Peril!In the article “Business Analysis and Cybersecurity – What is the link?”, Bindu Channaveerappa makes a compelling argument for business analysis professionals to focus on cybersecurity in their analysis work.
Cybersecurity is often perceived to be the responsibility of IT or security teams, with many business stakeholders viewing it as a technical issue that does not concern them. However, as a business analyst, it is important to recognize the key role that cybersecurity plays in protecting an organization's data and intellectual property. In this article, Bindu describes her personal experience of discovering a data breach that had occurred multiple times. This incident highlights the need for cybersecurity to be built into the very fabric of projects, product management initiatives as well as ongoing business operations.
Bindu emphasizes the need for business analysis professionals to take an active role in addressing cybersecurity issues. While IT and cybersecurity teams may be responsible for implementing technical solutions, business analysis professionals can play a crucial role in identifying potential vulnerabilities and ensuring that cybersecurity is integrated into requirements. By working closely with a whole range of stakeholders, business analysis professionals can help to create a culture of cybersecurity awareness.
Bindu was a member of the team that created IIBA’s Cybersecurity Analysis Certification (IIBA®-CCA), which highlights her knowledge and enthusiasm for this subject.
2. Estimation is About Learning, Not Just the Number
Estimation is tricky at the best of times. In the article “Learning about your estimations…”, Nuno Santos shares his experience of working with a team where estimation was a cause of frustration. With estimates seen as commitments that they would be held to, the team tended to estimate cautiously. I suspect many people reading this will identify with that pattern.
Nuno explains that he overcame this issue by using t-shirt sizing (XS, S, M, L, XL, etc.) and moving towards relative, rather than absolute, estimation. But crucially, he highlights the purpose of estimation is about learning and not accuracy. An estimate will always be an estimate, it will never provide complete certainty. By using t-shirt sizes as a metaphor, the article explores how a team can learn to estimate as they go. If you have not used this form of estimation before, this article will encourage you to give it a try!
3. Don’t Conflate Experience with PotentialSophie Chen provides some thought-provoking ideas for managers and practitioners alike in the article “How to Identify High Potential Business Analysts”. Sophie observes that many hiring managers rely on the number of years someone has worked as an indicator of their level of skill and capability. She argues that relying on this indicator alone would be dangerous.
Sophie argues that high-potential business analysis professionals are those who are constantly adapting and improving to succeed. They recognize that change is the only constant in the world and are open to new ideas and approaches. However, there are misunderstandings about what it means to have high potential.
Firstly, high performance does not necessarily equate to high potential. It is important to understand how someone achieved high performance. It is like a snapshot of a current result and might be a happy coincidence rather than a consistent pattern. Secondly, being highly experienced is not the same as having high potential. Someone who has been using a narrow set of approaches for ten years may or may not be as skilled as someone who has been in the role for a shorter period but has benefited from exposure to wider contexts.
It’s therefore important for hiring managers to consider the individual's achievements, growth, breadth of experience, and potential for future success, alongside the number of years of experience.
Always Be Learning and Adapting
A key thread throughout these articles is that business analysis professionals need to continually learn, adapt, and speak up when they need to. As practitioners, it’s important that we adapt and learn from each other. The fact you are reading this now indicates that you care about professional development and like to stay at the leading edge. Kudos to you!
For more thought-provoking articles, be sure to download BA Digest. Keep on learning. Until next time.
About BA Digest
About The Author:
Adrian Reed is a true advocate of the analysis profession. In his day job, he acts as Principal Consultant at Blackmetric Business Solutions where he provides business analysis consultancy and training solutions to a range of clients in varying industries. He is editor-in-chief of the quarterly open-access magazineBA Digest, and he speaks internationally on topics relating to business analysis and business change. Adrian wrote the 2016 book Be a Great Problem Solver… Now, and the 2018 book Business Analyst. You can read Adrian’s blog and connect with him onLinkedIn.