Laura Brandenburg - Host for Bridging the gap Business Analysis blog

TBAC 003 | BA Interviews, Season 1 : Laura Brandenburg – Passionate BA blogger and Instructor

by Yaaqub Mohamed a.k.a Yamo17

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In this episode of TheBACoach Podcast, I interview a prominent BA blogger who exemplifies true passion for the field of business analysis, Laura Brandenburg from Greater Denver area, USA. She came under my radar through her very popular blog, bridging-the-gap; and over the years she has persistently continued to provide great value and service to the BA community. She has helped countless number of professionals to start their business analysis career successfully.

I had a great time creating this interview with Laura, in spite of her busy schedule due to her new training ventures, she agreed to do this podcast. Here is the show:


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Why she likes being a BA?

Enjoy the work of being a BA and believes in the underlying purpose of doing great business analysis.

Here is a sneak peek of the episode:

  • Her transition from QA to BA
  • Her work from being a newbie BA to working on a big project
  • Business Analysts contributing to the ‘go green’ propaganda
  • Her experience in publishing and content centric domains as a BA
  • Why she doesn’t have a single domain as her favorite one.
  • Securing stakeholder time – her biggest challenge as a BA, and how she overcomes it.
  • Employer outreach by Denver chapter
  • The Nr. 1 problem with BA resumes that Laura noticed evaluating 100s of resumes
  • Three awesome tips to improve a BA resume

Insightful quotes from this episode:

“Sometimes as consultants there is this assumption that you come in with this omniscient knowledge of the world, and you can act in a vacuum. ”

“Moving from one organization or department to another, you become keenly aware of how limited your BA experience have been previously… ”

“Look at every ‘gig’ as a way to advance your skills in someway… ”

“You need to take responsibility of your own career development”

“Sometimes just walking into a new organization and having your world turn upside down, can be an enlightening experience”

Items mentioned in the show:

Laura Brandenburg in brief:

Laura Brandenburg is a business analyst mentor and author of the free “3 Career Habits for Successful Business Analysts”, a primer to becoming a promotable business analyst. She hosts Bridging the Gap, a blog helping business analysts become leaders and advance their careers. She has 10 years of experience leading technology projects and has helped build business analyst practices at 4 organizations.

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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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie Metcalfe June 30, 2011 at 2:52 am

Great interview with Laura Brandenburg. I found myself taking notes during this interview. Challenges were candid and very applicable to the BA role. I like her use of ratios as well as time blocking tips pre and post meetings. Her resume tips were a bonus for this interview. The book reference is helpful too, I think I’ll pick it up.

Reply

Yaaqub Mohamed a.k.a Yamo June 30, 2011 at 3:03 am

Hey Katie! That is great. The challenges that Laura faced are something we all can related to, for sure. Resumes tips are quite valuable, since Laura has seen 100s of resumes, and does consulting and coaching for BAs to evaluate resumes.

I am really glad you found this interview useful.

Reply

Laura Brandenburg July 5, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Thanks for the feedback Katie!

Reply

Craig July 1, 2011 at 4:55 pm

I think QA is a great springboard into Business analysis as Laura points out in the interview. There is a lot of exposure to what works, doesn’t work and being involved during the later stages of a project. I like how the veteran BA’s featured here come from very different career starting points within different domains and different organizations.

Reply

Yaaqub Mohamed a.k.a Yamo July 1, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Yes, Craig. I have seen quite a few Business Analysts transitioning from QA to BA, and like Laura’s case it was their background of process knowledge, and an inclination to do BA type work, that drew them into business analysis.

It is quite interesting to hear different BA career progression stories, and how each is unique in its own way.

Reply

Laura Brandenburg July 5, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Hi Craig, I happen to agree. :-) However, QAs can face some pitfalls too in transitioning to BA. One challenge I see is that with a long and devoted career in QA, one can see the BA role as an opportunity to ensure quality through requirements. I sure did this early on in my BA career. Over time you realize that your requirements face the same constraints as your test time did and just putting it in the document does not ensure it gets done.

Reply

Destin July 8, 2011 at 9:39 am

Vous avez de bons points il, c’est pourquoi j’aime toujours verifier votre blog, Il semble que vous etes un expert dans ce domaine. maintenir le bon travail, Mon ami recommander votre blog.

Reply

Yaaqub Mohamed a.k.a Yamo July 8, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Merci, Destin. Je suis heureux vous avez aimé le blog. Je pense faire quelques interviews en outre le français. :)

Reply

Ravi Pardesi August 2, 2011 at 9:27 am

Yamo – A great interview with Laura. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to every bit. There were clearly some valuable takeaways like resume insights, all domains are favorite domains for a BA, the productivity tips and the next big leaps within the organization for full time BA’s.

Thank you both Laura & Yamo! It was a pleasure listening to you.

Reply

Yaaqub Mohamed a.k.a Yamo August 2, 2011 at 12:46 pm

You are welcome, Ravi! Its great to know that you found some valuable takeaways from this episode. There are a lot more tips waiting to be listened to from other episodes! :)

Happy listening, and looking forward to your comments for other shows.

Reply

Laura Brandenburg October 4, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Thanks, Ravi!

Reply

Abbas Ishaque September 6, 2011 at 4:26 am

Good Interview ! I specially liked resume tips suggested by Laura. Thank you Yaaqub !.
Would appreciate if you load some more information for new BA’s , like what techniques/tools are must to have ? and how can they get hands on them.

Reply

Yaaqub Mohamed a.k.a Yamo September 22, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Thanks, Abbas.

I suggest you get started by picking up the BABOK and reading through various techniques. Since you are a new BA I also recommend you look for a mentor at your workplace who can guide you in the journey. As and when you are learning these techniques, approach your mentor at work for clarifications; or you could email me your questions or ask it in the LinkedIn group for TheBACoach.

Reading business analysis blogs(Laura has a great BA blog too, http://www.bridging-the-gap.com/), and listening to these podcasts can be another great learning avenue.

Reply

Laura Brandenburg October 4, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Thanks, Abbas,

I differ with Yamo here – I think the BABOK, while amazingly valuable for its intended purposes, does not provide a good entry way for a new BA as it doesn’t give a lot of context for the BA position. I’d start with something more accessible, such as Ellen Gottesdiener’s Software Requirements Memory Jogger or Barbara’s Seven Steps to Mastering Business Analysis.

You might also want to start with these two pages at BTG:

Resources on becoming a BA: http://www.bridging-the-gap.com/becoming-a-business-analyst/

Resources on finding a BA job: http://www.bridging-the-gap.com/how-to-find-a-business-analyst-job/

Reply

Yaaqub Mohamed a.k.a Yamo October 5, 2011 at 12:54 am

Thanks for your additional inputs and insights, Laura. :)

Abbas – I hope this helps. The tools/techniques can vary depending on the organization you are working with. Like I pointed earlier, start by getting a mentor within your company and doing a lot of reading, researching and self-exploration.

Reply

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