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TBAC 014 | BA Interviews, Season 1 : Jonathan Babcock – Using project patterns and more

by Yaaqub Mohamed a.k.a Yamo13

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“Patterns have helped us overcome some of the biggest challenges in a shorter time. Using patterns is one of the smartest ways to harness the knowledge base in a given domain.”

That was one of the key takeaways from TheBACoach podcast interview with Jonathan Babcock. In this episode I got the opportunity to discuss Jonathan’s background, his advice and tips for the BA community, and his journey from starting up as a QA analyst, and transitioning to project manager, application architect, Business Analyst and  a BA manager recently. He is also is the host for a popular BA blog “Practical Analyst (link below)” where he shares practical and simple tips to be a better practitioner / analyst.

Lots to learn in this episode folks, so hang tight… and here is Jonathan Babcock:

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Why he likes being a BA?

“I love being a business analyst because I love a good puzzle. I appreciate the variety of learning opportunities that business analysis presents. I really  enjoy being positioned more or less equally between the technology and the business, and in helping to identify how people, process and technology can be leveraged to solve business problems.”

Here is a sneak peek of the episode:

  • His transition from being a QA, to Architect, to BA.
  • Treating business analysis as a puzzle
  • Why and how business analysis at the right time can save time and money
  • His experience as a Business Analyst in Telecom, CRM and other domains
  • How he solves challenges surrounding:
    • Solution driven stakeholders
    • Symptomatic business analysis
    • Analysis paralysis
    • Systems on the verge of being over engineered
  • His career advancement tips relating to:
    • Taking charge of your career
    • Recognizing, journaling, and using patterns
    • Consulting as an option
    • Establishing skills that set you apart
  • Productivity tips that are very valuable and useful
  • Why enterprise analysis is his favorite knowledge area
  • How the business analysis competency model by IIBA has helped his organization

Insightful quotes from this episode:

“Why dont we look at the process… its not always IT.”

“I dont know if I have a project that is my favorite; maybe its where a stakeholder has a preconceived notion or the one we get right.” 

“When you have solution driven stakeholders they may request for specific and complex technical change, where a process or people change could have made it happen.”

“Sometimes you have to take off the solution hat and put on the problem hat.”

 “Lets make sure we are not solving one symptom”

“Lets not over engineer our systems to compensate for process issues or people issues”

 “Making business analysis a team sport is part of the solution.”

 “Focus on breadth before depth.”

 “I do my work and toss it over to you and lets hope its good (avoid this).”

“There is no law in a BA talking to a designer earlier… and get some idea.. “

 “Try to tear down those figurative wall.. use you team members as a sounding board.”

 “Dont try to do so much don’t presume so much in your requirements.”

 “Sounds cliched.. but take ownership of your own future”

 “You need “A” the plan and “B” the will to go out and chase it.”

 “Discuss the available paths of progression”

 “Learn tools; something a little out of the ordinary and that may set you apart.”

 “The distinction between novice and experienced BA is the ability to recognize and apply patterns and solve everyday problems.” 

 “Take a lot of notes… “

 “You can make notes and add tags to pull them up later (with Evernote for eg).”

 “When I don’t want to make the same mistake again, I go back and look for whats worked in the past (for a given stakeholder for example).”

 “The templates that BAs use are really just a catalog of patterns.” 

 “With Enterprise Analysis we could avert a lot of request for projects.”

 “We’ve been both business analysts and business advocates.”

 “Competency model from the IIBA® has been  a great extension.”

“The sky is the limit with what good BAs can accomplish.”

Items mentioned in the show:

Jonathan Babcock in brief:

Jonathan Babcock has spent most of his 10+ year career doing business analysis in one form or another; first in telecom/broadband, and more recently in wholesale/retail distribution. Jonathan loves learning from and networking with other BAs and considers himself somewhat of a business analysis and solution delivery methodology junkie. When he isn’t on the clock, he is likely to be found reading, “tweeting” or blogging about business analysis at PracticalAnalyst.com.

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

Enjoy the show!


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I am a passionate and practicing business analyst, author, and blogger from Toronto, Canada. I host this blog, and podcast to help business analysts throughout the world, do analysis better, by providing educational, relevant, and inspiring content. Musically driven by Eagles, Lucky Ali, and Linkin Park. Huge fan of Colts, Leafs, and Indian cricket team. To be in the loop for latest member-only resources, and news from The BA Coach be sure to sign-up for our free eNewsletter. View more BA passion painted with digital ink by Yamo!    

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