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TBAC 026 | BA Interview with Alex Papworth – UK Consulting Veteran Reveals Secrets

by Yaaqub Mohamed a.k.a Yamo2

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“Few people even scratch the surface, much less exhaust the contemplation of their own experience. ”
          – Randolph Bourne

That quote was true, until I interviewed Alex Papworth. Interviewing independent BA consultants always brings out the in-depth knowledge and practical insights.  This episode with him is a classic example.

His insights are unique and are presented from a vantage point that is bound to leave you sitting still and doing nothing but listening and note taking. After a well deserved break, and recovery from the collarbone injury I am back with a brand new season of the podcast. Alex is a great guest to kick-start this season. He shares a lot of good advice and practical tips to help you with your business analysis work.

He has also been a long time friend and very active in the BA community with his blog (BA Mentor). He had absolutely no reservations in sharing all that he could for the benefit of the BA community.

So, let this season begin…. Here is the first episode of season 2 with Alex:

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Why He Likes Being a BA?

“I can’t help myself. I’ve always had the sort of mind that has to ask why? I need to know the problem behind the problem. Plans and budgets don’t interest me although I recognize their value and long gave up on writing code because BA’s get closer to the real business problems.”

Here Is a Sneak Peek of The Episode:

  • From IT into BA consultant.
  • His work experience in the financial sector.
  • Discussion on operating models.
  • How he overcomes the challenge of not getting enough of stakeholder time.
  • Tips to define success and working with you PM.
  • Secrets of effective stakeholder engagement.
  • The importance of minimum ‘dip’ into work for estimating your work.
  • How to become productive in a short time.
  • Why you should start seeing patterns quickly.
  • Discussion around asking questions about BA approach and practices.
  • How to get you project compass.
  • Tips on becoming a trusted advisor
  • How to be a trusted advisor in short assignments
  • The right way to prioritize work.
  • Workshop scheduling tips
  • Sign-off needs more and more lead time in bigger org – and what you can do about it.
  • If you communicate and you get the responses you need, then it will be more efficient in the long run.
  • How to design your communication.
  • How to develop the communication muscle.
  • Two big tips on improving communication in a project.
  • Getting someone to critique the emails you send out.
  • The importance of keeping your communication reader focussed.
  • How he uses presentation to improve communication.

Insightful Quotes From This Episode:

 “How to make your stakeholders care enough.” (Click to Tweet This)

“How do you like to be involved in this project? Random emails or questions? Or do you prefer it in a structured manner.”

“I wanted to solve people problems, business problem.”

Asking question shows appreciate of their time and consideration.”

“Review a document in its entirety with all SMEs who may have an opinion”

“Spend good amount of time in the early stages of project thinking through how you will involve the stakeholders.”

“You should be proactive about stakeholder involvement.”

“Managing expectations is part PM and part BA responsibility.”

“Have an outline plan for how you will engage your stakeholders.”

“Putting down the stakeholder engagement in the written form is a healthy exercise.”

“Plan workshops to be structured around your stakeholders rather than yourself.”

“Dig into the work enough so that you can assess how long it is going to take for you to do it.”

“Find your position in the project.”

“You need to become a trusted advisor.”

“It is how you do your job that communicates the trust (like communication with your PM and keep the dialogue going).”

“Priority should be engaging with your stakeholders first and the rest is secondary.”

“The words you choose and the way you choose to express yourself in an email or in a meeting can have big impact.”

“It is worth to read over the email a few times before you send it.”

“Think hard about the messages you send out.”

Links to His Profile and Blog:

Alex Papworth in Brief:

Alex Papworth is a freelance BA who has worked for many varied organisations over the last 12 years. He has also been mentoring business analysts online through for the past two years. He is active in the business analyst community and recently stood down as President of the UK Chapter of the IIBA. He also enjoys creating innovative solutions to mentoring business analysts whether through eLearning, one to one virtual mentoring or, his current project, collaborative mentoring, exploiting the collective knowledge of the BA community to help itself.

If you have any comments or questions for this episode, please post them below.

Enjoy the show!

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Article by

Yaaqub Mohamed (Yamo), is the founder of The BA Coach community and host for the #1 ranked business analysis podcast in iTunes. He believes in adding relentless value to the BA community and advancing the practice.  He host this blog, and podcast to help business analysts throughout the world, do analysis better, by providing educational, relevant, and inspiring content. He's the author of 'The Five Pillars of a Great Business Analyst', best selling 'The Ultimate CBAP-CCBA Study Guide' and the creator of the revolutionary 'Ultimate BABOK Kit'. 

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2 Responses to “TBAC 026 | BA Interview with Alex Papworth – UK Consulting Veteran Reveals Secrets”

  1. Thanks for the opportunity, Yamo. I’m happy to answer any questions anyone may have.

  2. mohammed says:

    Hi im a novoice ba with the ISEB BA diploma under my belt and looking for a mentor in the uk to help me carry out my 2nd project within a contract enviroment. Im from the UK and if theres a mentor free to discuss ways to move forward please contact me on 07833086684 or email me at

    Kind Regards
    Mohammed Islam

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