Take control of your professional development and become a remarkable business analyst with these four secrets to achieve your business analysis career goals.
Are you spending little or no time on strategising and planning your career? Are you lacking the professional development action plan to improve your abilities? Are you missing out on opportunities to increase the value you bring as a business analyst? Chances are you are, as
… a mere 17% of business analysts perform (at least) quarterly career planning. *
Every business analyst needs to take the time to step away from the daily project grind, reflect on where they are in their career and make some solid plans for their future. No matter whether you love your current position or feel frustrated and confined by it, career planning is a must and all professional business analysts should have at least one area of improvement they are working on at any given time.
Think of career planning as a mapped journey, leading from your current place to your future destination; without the map you may easily stumble or lose your way, but with the map you have impetus and direction.
It’s never too late to pick up a pencil, take control of your professional development and become a remarkable business analyst.
Here are your 4 secrets to achieve your business analysis career goals:
#1. Sketch your big picture
Imagine setting out on a trip with no particular destination in mind. What will you pack? Which roads will you take? How will you know when you’re there? As romantic as that may sound, it’s much less risky to begin by picking a destination and the same holds true for your career goals and objectives.
Documenting your business analysis career goals forces you to be mindful in determining what you want, whilst serving to remind you of your aspirations and motivate you to take action.
Business analysis requires that you have specific knowledge and experience when it comes to advancing your career. Start by listing your key professional goals and objectives to transform your delivery, weigh-up where you are, what you need and then sketch a high-level strategy alongside a broad action plan with key milestone dates.
#2. Don’t broadcast your plot
You might be confused by this point, because you think your friends, family and colleagues can hold you accountable to your career goals, but, believe it or not, this isn’t actually the case. Announcing your goals widens something called your ‘intention–behaviour’ gap, which gives you a false sense of accomplishment.
Don’t publicise your goals to people, as the person will affirm it and you’ll feel closer to achieving it, even though in reality you’ve actually done nothing at all to move towards achieving it.
This social reality is the disconnect between knowing what you should be doing and actually doing it. Understand that your mind mistakes the talking for the doing, so resist the temptation to announce your goal and wait for the real-deal gratification that, having achieved your business analyst goal, social acknowledgement brings.
#3. Chip away with action
You need to intentionally put in the work, to not fake the identity you want to assume. Becoming a remarkable business analyst is the end result from a journey of self-discipline with the willingness to engage in the various aspects of business analysis and increase the value you personally bring to the table.
Only focused, deliberate practice and persistence through sustained action will give you the insight you need to master the business analyst competencies that you are setting out to achieve.
Seek and harness opportunities that continually grow your responsibilities and evolve your job, over time. You could start by bringing in a new technique to your repertoire, put your hand up for a task that would normally be allocated to a more experienced business analyst and/or share your expertise at your internal business analyst forum.
#4. Live in the journey
Career planning is an ongoing activity, not just a bi-annual, dutiful, organisational visit. Remarkable business analysts know that, whilst their end destination may remain quite similar over the long term, the action plan that they set for themselves will likely change significantly.
Commit to tracking and reflecting on your business analyst goals, strategy and plan regularly, ensuring relevance, value and necessity remains high. When it doesn’t, change tack and make adjustments.
Professional development is not a means to an end, it’s a series of ongoing, connected and valuable experiences. With eyes fixated on your ultimate goal, the most important thing to remember is that your business analyst achievement is the positive outcome from all of your lessons learned, combined, through traversing your career path.
* Statistics courtesy of the 2016 Inter-View Report.