TBAC050 – Number 1 Reason Why Business Analysts Fail

by Yaaqub Mohamed a.k.a Yamo

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As we complete the second season of the podcast, I wanted to publish something special. This is one of the episodes that I feel can make a real difference to your career. 

I had the unique opportunity to meet Neil in Toronto during the BA World conference. When I reached out to him to do a podcast on a topic that can make a big difference to the careers of business analysts and project managers, he suggested we have a conversation around what causes us to fail. What is the number 1 reason why business analysts fail in projects. Obviously, the narrative around “failure” is about what separates good analysis from great analysis. How to be above average in what you deliver and how you do it.

Here’s Neil Whitten, with our special 50th episode.

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Sneak Peek of the Episode

  • What is the meaning of being too soft? 
  • His advice for BAs… 
  • Holding back constructive criticism.
  • Leaders are teachers
  • Conflict… do you run from?
  • An example of being too soft is an example of running from conflict.
  • Have the responsibility but have no authority.
  • Why most people don’t know their job and what to do about it.
  • Good leaders inspect what they expect from others and that’s not micro-managing. 
  • Leaders know what’s going on around them. 
  • Knowing the status before the status – leader quality. 
  • How to hold your team accountable for their work. 
  • How he got promoted for exceeding authority.
  • I am not a fan of being managed by a plan, plans don’t manage me, I manage the plan. 
  • When the team is not ready to take on good practices from you. 
  • Manage to your top priorities on a daily basis. .. they are managing instead to minutia to interruptions to noise… 


Insightful Quotes from this Episode

“In my experiences, most people are too soft most of the times… even as leaders.” 
“We often trade integrity for popularity.”
“We make choices and decisions that are based on being liked rather than what is the right business decision to make.” 
“Leaders are not about perfection.”
“Stop trying to have everybody ilke you.” 
“Stop wearing your feelings on your sleeves.”
“I would rather beg forgiveness than ask permission.” 
“Don’t tell me you don’t have the authority, you have but you don’t take it.” 
“Leaders make decisions, and they don’t make them in a vacuum.” 
“I am a big fan of collaboration, but I am not a big fan of consensus… unless the consensus yields the best business solution.” 
“If you want to be a good BA you cannot do that sitting in your office.” 
“In my view asking for help is the sign of strength.” 
Y”ou’re going to trade integrity for popularity.” 
“Stop wearing your feelings on your sleeve… don’t make it personal and don’t take it personally.” 
“Don’t run your life by seeking the approval of others.”

Enjoy the show and don’t forget to share this episode to your networks using the social sharing links.

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


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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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