70/20/10 Training for Business Analysts, or learning without realising


Over the last number of years Be Positive have advocated the 70/20/10 concept of learning whether we are speaking to students who want to become Business Analysts or to the leadership teams at large corporations who want to upskill a team of experienced BAs.

70% of a Business Analyst’s training should be done by doing the role – building up experience from using good practice approaches and also by making, and learning from (but not repeating) mistakes.

20% comes from learning from  their fellow BAs sharing experience around what works and doesn’t work.

10% of learning comes from a formal training approach using either online resources or class room based training.

We at Be Positive have been practising what we preach when it comes to developing the skills and capabilities of our own expanding team of Business Analysts. At one of my regular catch ups with Gillian, one of our most experienced Business Analysts and trainers, we had a great opportunity to reflect on how 70/20/10 has helped her develop both her analysis and training skills.

Gillian’s analysis skills development started off with a couple of days of formal training (the ‘10’ ) to ease her into the role. This gave her a great foundation on which to build her skills and learn best practice. Gillian talked about how useful she finds it that learners and those developing their skills are equipped at this stage with best practice tools and techniques through more formal learning, and also got some exposure to the range of skills required to be effective in the role of Business Analyst.

One of the things that Gillian loved about this overall approach was that all the learning didn’t come at once – she was able to build on her confidence without feeling exposed – she always had the best practice structure to fall back on when she in the ‘70’ doing mode. Gillian is very much a practitioner and recognised that her learning style suits the 70% ‘doing’ part of skills development. This 70 part is the glue that stuck all the learning together – it gave Gillian the opportunity to see that the learning had been absorbed and effectively put into practice.

70/20/10 works because it combines Practical Experience, Peer Support, and Formal Training.

When delivering training courses we have seen that this combination of seeing the theory, listening to the explanation and doing the exercises caters for a variety of learning styles.  At the same time as putting the skills into practice, learners can further develop skills based on the feedback they receive and are often learning without being conscious of the learning process they are going through.

As well as the formal training reinforcing the various learning styles, the 20% of peer support also has a vital role to play. The chance to watch your peers in action, or listen to them sharing their knowledge or giving feedback on performance fosters a great learning environment.


Two of the best peer learning mechanisms that Gillian has used very effectively have been  peer reviews of deliverables, and best practice and knowledge sharing sessions. Both of these initiatives have enabled junior BAs to learn and more experienced BAs to hone and develop their mentoring skills. Both benefit from understanding what has or hasn’t worked within practical projects rather than from theoretical situations.

“Anything new can be scary or daunting at first, but the 70/20/10 approach has given me the best possible chance to build up my skills and confidence,” said Gillian.

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BA Simplified is the perfect place to start your BA journey. Our easy-to-follow online course lets you learn Business Analysis, through a full project lifecycle, at a pace that suits you. You get access to 9 info packed modules, knowledge tests, downloadable content and a final completion certificate.

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Our easy to follow online course which provides a structured overview of business analysis and what it takes to become an excellent Business Analyst. Perfect for Entry Level BAs, Career Changers or for anyone interested in Business Analysis. It’s also great refresher course for Experienced BAs.

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