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How To Fix Your Business Analyst Career Problems

Business Analysts are becoming a hybrid breed. If you’re a BA, you must have been at a networking session and when you’ve needed to deliver a snappy elevator speech in 15 words or less you’ve stuttered.

The challenge is not knowing what you do, the challenge is explaining it to someone else concisely before their eyes start to glaze over because they are mystified. Don’t worry BA’s, I can assure you that you are not alone.

In fact, I was reading a great post in one of the popular BA groups on LinkedIn this week and a similar question caught my eye:

“How do you see the Business Analyst role?”

Now, that may seem like a clear and concise question, however you wouldn’t believe the degree of activity it generated in the space of one short week.

This innocent question got a massive 396 Likes and 65 Comments and believe you me this was not like a mutual appreciation society. There were definitely divided opinions and I think, had this been a face to face discussion rather than virtual, there could have been a very high temperature meeting room!

It’s interesting that people were split into three major camps.

  1. Technical camp
  2. Spiritual camp
  3. Realists camp

Technical perspective of BA role

The technical camp were firmly rooted in what the day to day tasks were that a BA does. Some commenters dug deep and quoted from IIBA, while some were from the CBAP world.  You can probably hear these quotes ringing in the air now:

  • “A BA is a facilitator, investigator, problem solver and good Listener”
  • “Designing the solution or facilitating the design sessions”
  • “Identify the quick, medium and long term business solutions”

This is best summed up by the IIBA definition: “A BA is a liaison among stakeholders in order to understand the structure, policies, and operations of an organization, and to recommend solutions that enable the organization to achieve its goals.”

Spiritual perspective of BA role

The spiritual camp came from a warmer and more sensitive perspective when describing the BA role. They gave you the sense that a BA was more of an artist rather than a technician. They shared ideas that would not have been out of place in a touchy feely self-development book:

  • “The organization's problem solver”
  • “Understanding the business pain and recognising an opportunity
  • “Being the 'bridge' between the business and IT”
  • “BA is a way of thinking irrespective of your job title”

Realists perspective of BA role

Well, the third and final group are best described as the realists ones (whether it was intended or not). They gave you the view that they were there to get the job done regardless of the challenges and names they got called.

  • “An underrated resource with an unintuitive title”
  • “So much more than an errand boy/girl for the IT department”
  • “We do the As-Is's (what the heck the plural for As-Is?)”
  • “Faces off to all parties of the development lifecycle not just throwing requirements over the fence”

The Future of the BA role

What is important for us now is how we want the role to be in the future. One thing for sure is that the BA Role is evolving along with the responsibilities for this role. There is not a one size fits all business analyst; the discipline is broken up into many different variations these days to meet the requirements of the business.

So, are there simply three traditional BA types? A Business Consultant, Business Analyst and a Systems Analyst or is there a better way to embrace the evolution as the industry changes around us.

Whatever gets decided, the business require professional people with business knowledge, strategies, techniques and personal characteristics who can deliver effectively. (For more about the BA Talent test CLICK HERE).

One commenter summed it up straight from the heart, “We need to distinguish the real Business Analysis experts from anyone who can memorise the BABOK by heart, pass the exam but utterly fails in real life projects and I know and have worked closely with CBAPs who have not the slightest clue about what they are doing. They just memorize very well.”

I’m sure we all share this sentiment and the BA role is very much alive.

Let’s keep the BA standards high!

How do you define your role in 15 words? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, as the Business community needs your voice too.

Don't forget to take the BA Talents Test: Click Here.

Donovan Grant is a Master Coach Trainer who helps Business Professionals in the Payments & IT industry to win in business and life. He is also the creator of the BA Talent assessment. Visit www.donovangrant.com for more interesting insights and training.

If you’re a BA who would like to get your talent score CLICK HERE to take the test.

AboutDonovangrantDonovan helps Business Professionals in IT and Payments to get to the core of critical issues so they achieve great results in business and life. Clients make changes to help position them as leaders so they can over-deliver and stand out in a crowd.

Personal Branding Your Career For Success

Your personal brand could determine the future of your career. Aparently, career management and career design are out. Personal career branding is in!

If you’re like most people, you’ve heard the term ‘personal branding’ being used liberally on social media by solo-preneurs, small business owners and of course Mr Virgin, Sir Richard Branson.

Well guess what, it’s time for us employees and freelancers to become the architect of their careers too.

Why is a brand important?

Of course we all know what a brand is; just think Nike, Macdonald’s and John Lewis. The question we really want to know is why do we need to brand our career right now?

Simple answer: In this increasingly complex market place we operate in, people want to know who you really are well before they meet you. This actually holds true in career, relationships and life.

Social Media has changed the game for recruiters, companies and us the workforce. The result? You’re already in the spotlight whether you like it or not!

"Personal branding is about managing your name — even if you don’t own a business — in a world of misinformation, disinformation, and semi-permanent Google records. Going on a date? Chances are that your ‘blind’ date has Googled your name. Going to a job interview? Ditto.” ~ Tim Ferriss, Author, 4-Hour Work Week

What is your brand?

Simply stated, your personal brand is a blend of your personal values, attributes, drivers, passions and strengths. It’s the thing that differentiates you from peers and competition.

So, what does your personal brand look like today?

You’re not alone if you don’t have an answer to that question. In fact I remember during an career planning session with a former line manager and I told him “I really want to grow my career brand this year.” He looked at me as if I asked him to lend me a million pounds!

My guess is that most people are not taking time out to focus on their personal career brand. And it’s no surprise…, the company is not doing it for you either. Yes, you have a solid service history, healthy salary and track record of project delivery. But, what do people say about you when you are not in the room?

“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.” ~ Malcolm Forbes, Publisher

Determine your brand

So how do you set the game up in your favour? Discover your personal brand and give yourself a better chance of success.

Here are few great reasons to spend time focusing on your personal brand right now:

  • Get carity on what your perceived and actual value is
  • Makes it easier to map out your future career path
  • Helps you stand out as a specialist and natural leader
  • Raise your confidence and boost your image
  • Enables unique opportunities that did not previously exist for you

Assess your brand

Okay, let’s take a closer look at how well Your personal brand is rated today. Take a look at the five criteria below give give yourself a score of great or needs work.

Brand is unique: Does your brand offer a unique promise of a value?

Brand is consistent: Does your brand offer consistency in attitude and outlook?

Brand is memorable: Do you create memorable brand experiences that set you apart from the average?

Brand brings value to others: What is the value that you bring to your team and company that you are known for? How effective are you at delivering this value?

Brand is trustworthy: Are you someone who delivers time and time aagain and others can rely on you?

So how did you score your brand. Are you in great shape or do you need work?

Keep your brand visible

One thing for sure, most of the people only assess their career status at annual review time or when seeking a new job. By doing this, they miss out on looking after their career throughought the journey.

“All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.” ~ Tom Peters in Fast Company

I’m inviting you to “do not be like most people”. Take a stand and become the architect of your career. Whether you are moving up, moving out or staying in your career role, look after your personal brand. It could well mean the difference in your promotion, bonus or even a new job.

So, what’s your next step in building your personal brand? My advice, take a look at any areas you rated needs work and get started today!

Your personal brand needs to be managed for life and not just for career changes.

From my heart to yours


Are you for or against personal branding in your career? Why so?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below – we value your honest opinion.

To learn more about career branding and mid-career transitions, contact us at donovangrant.com or send an email to info@donovangrant.com.

Also, remember to download our FREE “CAREER HEALTH CHECK” tool by clicking here.

AboutDonovangrantDonovan Grant is a Career Lifestyle Trainer & Coach and founder of Alantine, a company helping professionals to define their own path that is unique, genuine and memorable.

Don’t Make These 8 Career Mistakes When You Change Career Role

By Donovan Grant

Are you secretly afraid of changing career in mid-career in case you mess up? I can so relate to that.

But before I say any more, an article from the City AM Business newspaper in January declared that “more than a third of UK workers – 37 per cent – are hoping to leave their current job in 2015.”

That’s a lot of people! 1 in every 3 people you meet. Maybe these people are not afraid of taking the leap or maybe they just decided it was time.

“Fear isn’t an excuse to come to a standstill. It’s the impetus to step up and strike.” ~ Arthur Ashe

One thing for sure though, if you’ve change role this year or are thinking about changing you’ll know the feel that a new start with fresh opportunities can bring. It can literally feel like breathing life into your career at any stage in life. It’s a great opportunity.

But, when we take a closer look many of these career transitions are not successful. Whether the change of role is internal or external, up to 50% of new hires fail in some way within 12 – 18 months.

"When new hires failed, 89% of the time it was for attitudinal reasons and only 11% of the time for a lack of skill." ~ Mark Murphy is the author Hiring for Attitude

Let’s look at eight mistakes that can harm a new career in the important first 100 days:

  1. Neglecting to clarify expectations. While the formal job description lists desired and essential requirements of you, there are also informal requirements that don’t get written on paper. Take the time to find out as much as you can about what your leadership really expects from you.
  2. Neglecting to understand your new manager including their style and needs. The first 100 days is the time to form a strong relationship with your new manager. What makes them tick? What drives them? How can you best adapt to their communication and decision-making style?
  3. Failing to build credibility and trust with your colleagues. Each employee is different. The first 100 days is an important time to assess your team and set strategies to engage with your colleagues.
  4. Being perceived as an oddity. Take the time to learn the culture and fit in.
  5. Connecting with the right players. The first 100 days gives you the opportunity to understand the informal power structure in the company. Who are the movers and shakers? Who are the coasters? Who is on their way out?
  6. Step on political landmines. Unless you are specifically expected to go in the company and shake a few sacred trees, tread wisely during your first 100 days.
  7. Taking hasty action without taking the time to learn. Give yourself enough time to observe and understand why things are the way they are. This is even more crucial for if you are a new manager.
  8. Failure to continue to grow. Marshall Goldsmith’s book title sums this up so well, “What got you here won’t get you there.” During your transition phase, be modest enough to identify new skills, knowledge, and relationships that will help you continue to advance in your career.

With the continuing change in workforce dynamics, it’s important that employees and freelancers at all levels change too. Treat your new role as if you were making a business case for the company to promote you. Assess where you are, how well you are doing and what you need to be doing differently to keep moving forward to your goal. As Tony Robbins says “set the game up so that you win.

In short, the only thing to be afraid of in career transition is that you don’t make these 8 mistakes too.

From my heart to yours


What is one mistake you’ve seen new hires make in the first 100 days?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below – you might just help save someone’s career.

To learn more about making effective transitions, contact us at donovangrant.com or send an email to info@donovangrant.com.

Remember to download our free “100 Day Career Transition Assessment” tool by clicking here.

AboutDonovangrantDonovan helps Business Professionals in IT and Payments to get to the core of critical issues so they achieve great results in business and life. Clients make changes to help position them as leaders so they can over-deliver and stand out in a crowd.

For more information about getting shaping and growing your career on your terms please click here. 


Is Your Career Preference Holding You Back?

Is Your Career Preference Holding You Back? 

career maze

By Donovan Grant

It finally hits you like a ton of bricks! The excitement of the dream job and company has worn off and now you feel stuck in a rut in your career. Worst still, you don’t know what to do about it. Plus you’re in mid-life.

If you are someone who has ever been stuck at a turning point in your career then read on my friend, read on…

You see, people get stuck in a rut in their careers for many reasons:

“I’ve been doing this for so long, I feel like I am pigeon holed in this role”

“I got promoted and a pay rise, but the role is not what I thought it was going to be!”

“I’ve had a tough year professionally so far and my self-confidence has been quite low.”

“Some days I feel like a caged lion who has had his freedom taken away!”

“I’m too old to change anything now.”

We could write a very long list of reasons why people get stuck but, that is not the point here. What’s more important is to figure out where exactly you are, what you want to do about it and what steps you need to take.

Q. So, why do people get stuck in a rut?

A. They are sitting in the career cage or the career comfort zone and they can't get out.

In The Career Cage

Well, to start with everyone’s situation is different, that’s for sure. However, many people either live their career in the past or in the expectations of other people. They got what was a ‘good job’ at the time and have never really ventured into the unknown or broken the barriers that others have set for them. After a while they get trapped in the identity and the beliefs about what is still possible for them.

People who are stuck in this rut are like a lion in a cage. Free to roam in the cage yet they feel powerless to open the cage to let themselves out. It’s almost like they are saying “no one gives me a chance”.

The question they often ask when they are stuck is “will I survive?”

In The Career Comfort Zone

There are other people who hang on to their big dreams and work hard to ensure that they move beyond the career barriers. They see opportunities, they go for it and they become successful. They get pay rises, promotions and they enjoy the feeling of success. You can normally spot these people in the office because they are normally engaged, empowered and energised.

After a while, even these people ask themselves questions: “Is this what I really wanted? Could I be doing something more creative? Am I really living my career dreams?” They secretly tell themselves “you’ve got a nice life; don’t mess it up.”

The truth is that these questions spring from a well of restlessness. It’s like your inner GPS is warning you that it’s time from growth and new challenges in your life. Something that will reignite your ambition and inner drive again.

The question they often ask when they are stuck is “will I be successful again?”

Enjoying The Courageous Career

So what's this courageous career then?

Well, when you take the step out of your comfortable career zone and into the courageous, you ask yourself higher level questions:

“am I living my true life?"

"am I reaching for my potential?”

You recognise that the boredom, routine and lack of adventure is holding you back and you start searching. Looking for one more challenge or opportunity that will fire you up. Maybe at the start of your career, meaning and purpose in your career was not that important. It was more about money and having a good tim. Now though, that you are in mid-career, meaning and purpose makes such a big difference. 

"Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong." ~ Ella Fitzgerald

The thing is people who enjoy a courageous career, face the same obstacles as other do. They see them as minor challenges rather than major blockers that stop you moving forward. They know that on the journey to a successful and enjoyable career, you will face turning points and opportunities to change and grow.

Don’t Get It Twisted

Most people in the caged and comfortable career zones think that if they turn up every day, be a good employee and do all their work on time they deserve to be highly rewarded. This is not true. Times have changed in a big way. This is the era where you are only as good as your last project. Or as Jim Collins so nicely put it “what got you here, won’t get you there!”

Keep Moving Forward

If you are in the career cage or career comfort zone and you’d like to move to the courageous zone here’s foursteps that will help you:

  1. Do a career health check and figure out where exactly you are (click on link)
  2. How is your career today relative to 1 year ago?
  3. In what ways are you growing?
  4. In what ways are you moving forward

The turning points in our career journey shape us, they sharpen us and they help to show us who we really are.

Maybe you are standing at your own career turning point today; maybe your job is at risk; maybe you’re overwhelmed with work; maybe your health is suffering because of work and you just seem to be stuck in a rut. Hold tight, my friend

And remember this… when your career stops you at a turning point, You get to make a decision;

To give up and stay in a cage and comfort zone or to move into the courageous career zone.

From my heart to yours



what is a full career health check?

What advice would you give to a friend who is stuck in the Career Cage? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

AboutDonovangrant 150x150 How To Survive The Career Stress After Your Colleague Quits To Start A New Job

Donovan helps Business Professionals in IT and Payments to get to the core of critical issues so they achieve great results in business and life. Clients make changes to help position them as leaders so they can over-deliver and stand out in a crowd. 

For more information about getting shaping and growing your career on your terms please click here. 


Development Of The Child: 3 Tips To Raising Healthy Boys


Development Of The Child: 3 Tips To Raising Healthy Boys

By Donovan Grant

From one Father to another, striving to raise healthy, moral, confident, fun young men…

It's tough being a parent.

It's tough being a kid.

In our society of political correctness we are forced to believe that from a young age boys and girls are really similar. When we do this, who suffers? The result is that we silence our strong, boisterous boys and pressure them to be more submissive and cooperative.

Are we indirectly forcing boys into being what they never meant to be? If we are, then the scary thought is that Our boys are at great risk.

Have you ever wondered why so many men seem like they are just older boys? Me too!

It is highly possible that they never made that difficult step of transitioning from being boys to men. This is a stage they must be helped through and having a role model of a good man (the father) to emulate along with providing a loving expectation that they must make the transition is critical to supporting them taking that difficult step.

Our boys need this encouragement.

Young guys need to explore, test their limits, and this can often lead to scrapes, bruises, dirty clothes, and even broken bones. However, in our fixation to keep boys from their natural tendencies, we wrap them up in cotton wool. Let’s face it too many boys are over booked with sports matches and many spend way too much time playing violent video games. As the father of a 9 year old son I can see similar patterns appearing for him too, so I’m taking a leaf out of my own book. Keeping our boys of the streets is one thing and another is to spend quality time with them. We have to go back to basics and raise them from the inside out!

Now, this is not about blaming all the great parents out there. This is a parent to parent alert about the dangers, about what we need and to help us realise the extra effort that must be applied to raising their sons. This is about us being the influence in our sons’ lives regardless what the awful societal influences are.

Here are three tips that could prove invaluable if you take time out and discuss with your sons on a regular basis:

Tip #1

Peer pressure is stated to be one of the biggest challenges against our sons’ successful futures. We’ve got to talk about this and help them through the difficulties of peer pressure. While this is true in every generation, since our time is quite toxic towards boys we need to be very careful about the influences and values being taught to them.


Tip #2

There seems to be a societal animosity towards teenage boys. So many young men become the kind of moody, depressed, and angry boy that media often creates and then society wants to fix. If we can raise healthy boys that experience healthy activities and friends, they will be much less likely to develop these problems.

What we need to do is lead the way with more empowering ways to build self-confidence, emotional health and mental health. We must actively seek to encourage them at all times – in fact, praise really needs to tower over criticism by ten statements to one!

Tip #3

All of our boys are born with a skill and if they master it they can be a huge success. Your role is to see it in them, then help them, train them and introduce them to opportunities that will expand their thinking and their horizons. The feeling of accomplishment when the master their talent will be a powerful boost to their self-esteem.

It seems that 21st century culture is harming many of our boys with media and violent video games; pushing aside the importance of human relations and even problem solving learning experiences.

Our boys need and want us to embrace and encourage who they are and celebrate that!

A loving parent must ease their pressures and give them back their boyhood. Despite the old adage that his peers are his greatest influence; you will find that parents are still their son’s greatest influence.

Ultimately, a boy's life will be grounded on his relationship with his parents, his siblings and his friends. If parents’ keep communication as a priority and discuss the importance of taking responsibility, love, discipline and the need for their fathers it will make a huge difference in the development of the child.

Let's teach our boys from a position of honesty, humility, kindness and self-respect. This way we’ll help them to grow from the inside out!

I believe in you and your family.

Donovan Grant is a coach, mentor, blogger, speaker and IT professional who brings his wisdom of parenting for the last 21 years and coaching clients through the stages of raising youth and empowering leaders with life lessons that are changing generations.  He is a passionate and committed leader who believes that we all have the ability to help to change someone else’s life. Actively doing so as a catalyst for many years he teaches how to live a life of success, balance, integrity and fun, whether at work or at play. www.donovangrant.com



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