Team Chronicles: An interview with Leonie McHugh our Lead BA – Part 2

 

In this interview, we will learn more about Leonie’s background, her approach to business analysis, and some of the challenges she has faced in her role. 


What are some common challenges that you face in your day-to-day work? 

“Quite often when you start an assignment, it’s very unclear about the scope. Being able to ask the why questions is important here to help identify that scope.  

You could be faced with unachievable deadlines. Especially if the scope has not been defined, there could be challenges with too much scope for the time allotted to do it. 

Getting time with stakeholders can be quite difficult when they have their own day jobs to do as well. Its important to get that stakeholder commitment before you begin if possible. 

On stakeholder commitment, sometimes there can be resistance to change. That common phrase “if its not broke, why fix it”. As a BA you will need to be able to show the stakeholders that the work you are doing will add value and improve things. 

I’ve heard there are IT business analysts that are specifically focused on IT systems. What are some potential career paths for business analysts? 

“Yes that’s right they would be business systems analysts. The BSA would focus on the more technical aspects of a project. Taking the business needs/requirements and translating those into technical specifications. So if you have an interest in IT systems and software this would be a good path to take. 

Strategic consultant is another pathway for the standard BA to progress to. It would involve understanding the business and their needs, identifying problems, and proposing solutions, but at that higher strategic level.  

Some BAs might have an interest in data and could go down the data analyst pathway. Or you could be a business process analyst who would work on process improvement initiatives. 

Those are some of the varieties I have seen over my career. A strong BA might have bits of all of the above though. 

I know it’s hard to find your first job after you graduate. Can you give advice for people who recently graduated and are trying to get their first job as a BA? 

“The starting block for any BA should always be to work on your communication and interpersonal skills. Some ways you can do this could be by presenting to group of people, articulating a tough problem to a friend, attending events to network, etc.  

Look for roles that offer mentoring and have defined BA career pathways. Companies that offer these will teach you everything there is to know about being a BA and will support you in achieving your BA career goals.” 

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