“All things are created twice. There is a mental (first) creation, and a physical (second) creation. The physical creation follows the mental, just as a building follows a blueprint…. Begin with the End in Mind means to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of your desired direction and destination, and then continue by flexing your proactive muscles to make things happen..”
- Stephen R. Covey.
This quote is from a life changing audio book (7 habits of highly effective people) that I heard when I was 19. This principle of “Beginning with the end in mind” is a powerful catalyst to help you give direction to your goals and propel you into action. Rest assured, I am not going to dribble more nice-reading-and-sounding words to elaborate on the goal setting aspect.
In this first of the seven steps, I want to highlight the specific aspects about the CCBA or CBAP exam that are relevant to goal setting in the advancement of your professional career. I want you to recognize the aspects of this process that will help you connect again with your own experience’s uniqueness and then defining where you want to take your career to. This post is not about “WHY CBAP?” its about “WHY CBAP NOW?”.
Let me break this down into the following three key segments for you:
Creating a Vision
A vision to see yourself be a certified professional is important. That may sound cliched. Here is the deal, if you cannot visualize what you want in your professional career, how can you achieve it? How can you take charge? A vision changes everything about your goals. A vision could be a simple mental visualization to see yourself being a certified professional. Think of how those letters would look after your name or what impact this will have on your career. I would say go ahead and put that four letter word after your name on a sticky note on your private workspace.
Creating a vision helps you begin the application process with the end in mind. If you have the required number of years to qualify, and an intuitive sense of being approved, just listen to your mind and take the next step. After you read this series in its entirety, you should be able to get answers to most of the questions that you in your mind about the application process.
Of Deadlines and Milestones – Begin with The Date in Mind
If you happen to work well with dates and milestones, then start creating a little timeline and milestones for your application process. Timebox the entire process, and decide the date by which you want to be certified. Ideally I would recommend a gap of 2-3 months after your approval for exam prep (with a full-time job). And if you are working at a snails pace and consistently, you shouldn’t take more than one month to prep your application worksheet. Here are some sample milestones that you can use as an example:
- collect all time sheets
- complete the essential skimming of BABOK for application process
- create a list of inputs / outputs
- contact two references and inform them about the process
- complete cbap or ccba application worksheet
Realizing That You Are at a Crossroad
When Kevin and I created a podcast on introduction to the BABOK, we discussed a point about CBAP or CCBA Application process being an integral part of being certified. I repeat, it is an integral part of being certified. My most favorite part about the application process is the self-reflection aspect of it. As business analysts we get to actually stop for a moment and think about what all we did vis-à-vis what the profession is in its totality. Have you ever thought about it this way? Isn’t it cool?
From Your Perspective – you want to make sure you realize this as a crossroads of options. A crossroad where you can see the roads you’ve travelled for long and see potential roads that could be exciting. For e.g.: If your experience shows that you’ve predominately worked in the “Elicitation” and “Requirements Analysis” space, and find the “Enterprise Analysis” to be an exciting one, you can start to think about ways or options that will get you there. You know sometimes this may hit you like a brick. Jeez! Did I do all this or only this for all my career so far? Just think of how powerful this perspective can be!
From the IIBA’s Perspective – they want to ensure that only the folks with the right qualifications and experience get approved for the exam. This can only help our profession become stronger, and to a large extent ensures that only the candidates with the right fit are getting to take the exam. They do have a rigorous application audit process, and work really hard to make sure you application is thoroughly examined.
So, now you see why this step is so important?
If you ever feel overwhelmed and frustrated with the application process remember this:
“If its frustrating its challenging and if it is challenging it is something worthwhile to achieve.”
To summarize, begin with end in mind, create a vision of becoming a CBAP and define mini-milestones with dates that will get you there. While you do all this, don’t forget to focus on self-reflection on your experience.
Please use the comment space below to leave your thoughts, and any other tips or questions you may have.
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'.
As part of this step it is extremely important to recognize the importance of the CBAP/CCBA Application process and define a vision for success. The key points highlight the core elements of this step.
Create a strong vision.
Set deadlines and define mini-milestones.
Realize that you are at a cross-road of your BA career.
Acknowledge and be prepared to tackle the frustration and challenge.
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