Paula Bell business analysis consultant des moines Iowa

TBAC 022 | BA Interviews – Paula Bell – ‘Never Stop Learning’

by Yaaqub Mohamed a.k.a Yamo11

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Continuous learning is a cornerstone for any business analyst’s career, and Paula is a great living example for this philosophy. She has created a very successful business analysis career for herself through reaching out to opportunities, and keeping learning at the forefront of her professional development plan.

She has a very diverse background as a practitioner, and has acquired keen insights working in different roles in the industry. Her passion for business analysis stems from her being a ‘relator’ as assessed by ‘Strengths Finder‘ book. (One of my all-time favorite books). Her biggest message to the BA community:

“Never Stop Learning”

There are a lot of valuable lessons to be learnt from her experience and insights. Here is Paula’s  vivacious interview for your learning:

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Why She Likes Being a BA?

“I like being a business analyst because it allows me to meet new people, understand their needs and transforms  those needs into a reality through a solution of some sort.”

Here Is a Sneak Peek of The Episode:

  • Her transition from being an Integration Specialist to Business Analyst
  • Her experience in web development, carpet manufacturing, criminal justice system, financial mortgage industry and compliance
  • Why she likes massive initiatives and challenging projects
  • How she  senses and overcomes politics in projects that she works on
  • Her secrets on building consensus
  • Tips on engineering a buy-in
  • How she picks up crucial communication signals from stakeholders
  • Insights on knowing the right level of details needed for requirements
  • Importance of learning and how you can stay up to date in your niche
  • The value of creating a development plan for business analysts
  • The right way to mentor and be mentored
  • How she uses lists and seclusion to boost productivity
  • Why BAPM is her favorite KA from the BABOK® – specifically conducting stakeholder analysis
  • An important perspective about how business analysts are viewed in her organization

Insightful Quotes From This Episode:

 “Can you agree enough to understand why we are going in this direction and buy-in to it.”

“Sometimes as a BA we are placed in an awkward position.”

“Ask the value adding question and conduct peer reviews.”

“Keep that learning going because everyday we are learning something different.”

“Don’t ever think that you are so senior or seasoned that you cannot learn something.”

“In order to be a leader you have to understand what is going on around you.”

“Create a development plan and figure out where you want to be in the next 5, 10 yrs.”

“In a mentor-mentee relationship each side learns something.”

“Everything we do is making our community stronger.”

Links to Her Profile and Blog:

Paula Bell in Brief:

Paula Bell is a Business Analyst, mentor, coach, blogger and author known for consistently producing exceptional work, providing guidance to aspiring business analysts (including those that just want to sharpen their skills), as well as, providing creative and strategic ways to build relationships for successful projects. With 15 years in project roles that includes business analyst, requirements manager, technical writer, project manager, developer, test lead and implementation lead, Paula has experience in a variety of industries including media, judicial system, carpet manufacturing, banking and mortgage. Paula has had the opportunity to speak on a variety of topics at various conferences nationwide as well as organizations here in the Des Moines area. Paula holds a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems (MIS) from Oral Roberts, University and is a certified Business Analyst.

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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11 Responses to “TBAC 022 | BA Interviews – Paula Bell – ‘Never Stop Learning’”

  1. Katie Metcalfe says:

    Hey Paula, enjoyed your podcast interview. I really like your comments about continuous learning. This is so important for us BA’s to find progress in our work and careers.

    • Paula Bell says:

      Thank you Katie! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I love to continue learning and I agree with you it’s so important for us BA’s to continue refining our craft.

    • Yaaqub Mohamed a.k.a Yamo says:

      Thanks, Katie. Glad to know you liked this podcast; appreciate your continued listenership and support. :)

  2. Sudhi says:

    Truly insightful Podcast!! I keep telling to all my chapter members to keep reading and learning. The moment you stop learning, your thinking and innovative ideas stop. Hence, as a BA I have discovered one more underlying competency is ‘The urge to know more’ either reading or continuous reading. Also, thanks to Paula for highlighting this to the BA community and last but not the least Yamo for giving a brilliant platform like this :) Thanks again!

    • Yaaqub Mohamed a.k.a Yamo says:

      Thanks, Sudhi. That would certainly be an interesting competency to add. There is already “Learning” as an important underlying competency for a great BA in the BABOK. I have also alluded to this in my book (Five Pillars of a Great BA); the urge to learn or the desire to learn is as important as the ability to learn well for a BA. This is especially important for a BA wanting to advance their career, and become a better practitioner.

      Appreciate the kind words about the podcasts. Thanks for your continued support and listenership.

  3. Paula Bell says:

    Thank you for your comment Sudhi. I love this! This is what it’s all about spreading the knowledge to each other. I have to echo Sudhi’s thoughts Yamo, thank you for this platform to do this.

  4. […] Paula Bell – for bringing in some unique perspectives about the role of a BA and for sharing valuable insights with the community from her coaching and mentoring experience. […]

  5. Valeria says:

    Have to hand it to you — this was one of the most informative of the podcasts — and they are all fantastic.

    Yet this one went deeper into social psychology. It is unusual to get such a clear discussion of topics such as the politics surrounding projects, yet I think it is probably the biggest reason projects fail: ulterior motives from a stakeholder that no one else has realized for what it is.

    Paula describes a diplomatic and logical way of detecting this and working to overcome it. This is definitely one of those podcasts to listen to over and over again.

    Thanks, Paula. And thanks, Yamo. This series is invaluable to the BA community.

    – V

    • Yaaqub Mohamed a.k.a Yamo says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Valerie. This is indeed one of my favorite BA interviews too.

      So much of what we do as business analysts is related to understanding our stakeholder’s psychology. Getting past the political maze in a project is important for successful business analysis. Paula’s suggestions and insights are indeed very practical and useful.

      I am glad to know that you found this podcast (and others) useful and I appreciate you leaving a comment.


  6. […] 11 -> Never Stop Learning- BA Interviews with Paula Bell […]

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