In a recent webinar, I encouraged Business Analyst job-seekers to think of themselves as marketers. Their product was themselves, and their target market was the managers that might hire them. One of the most common problems coming out of that presentation was this:
If I have never been a Business Analyst, how can I know their managers' needs and problems?
I’ll offer three approaches here.
Approach #1: Assume they’re just like me (Don)
All BA Managers have at least some things in common. If they’re like me, they will typically have some of these problems/needs:
- Key team member will soon be leaving the team
- New team member has joined, and is not yet up to speed
- Various team member weaknesses
- Changes in management composition, direction, etc
- Changes in organization goals, strategies, structure, etc
- Political dynamics
- That one project (at any given time) they don’t want to be running
- How to meet the needs of a particularly demanding senior stakeholder
- How to make things more lean, so the team doesn’t have to work eighty hours per week
- Improving the overall success rate of the team’s projects
- And so on, ad infinitum.
Maybe they’re like me, maybe not, but at least it’s a starting point. I do have to caution you that a proxy is never 100% as good as the real thing.
Approach #2: Research
Research… Perhaps the most common of our fall-backs as nerds.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of published material on BA Manager needs and problems. If only there were one BA manager type who was blogging about this kind of stuff…
Approach #3: Ask them
Well this seems obvious, now that I’m writing it. How about this three-step process?
- Find managers on LinkedIn, and connect with them
- Tell them that you’d like to conduct a research interview with them to understand the problems and needs of BA Managers
- When you meet with them, ask them what their main problems and needs are, and write down what they say
This seems pretty clear and to the point. You might as well get the information straight from the horse’s mouth. And at the same time, you’ll also be making a valuable connection that might help you later in your job search.