Growth Areas and Development Paths for Business Analysts. Part 2
The ability to Listen received most of the votes in this section. Itís an ability to reject you own understanding of a situation for a time, listen to your partners and understand their values, fears, pains, and ideas. And it doesnít matter whether they are representatives from your customer or your colleagues. Everyone has their own vision of the situation, and their own understanding of what is good and what is bad. Itís often the case that the ability to accept the otherís viewpoint helps you enrich and extend your own outlook (recall what was said about systems thinking above).
The ability to negotiate and resolve conflicts correlates with the ability to listen, as well as with adaptability and holistic vision of a situation. The analyst should perceive what is happening as objectively as possible, even with a certain detachment (in psychology it is called ďbeing in the third positionĒ, i.e. in the outside observer position).
And to help all participants in the discussion find a common ground and develop solutions which will account for all needs and restrictions. Of course, itís difficult to come to such an impassive attitude, especially when other people around you don't keep their emotions under control. Yet this attitude is a safety rule for the analyst, protection from early burnout.
These three sections are brought together, as they focus more on learning and tools. Books, articles, training courses are at your disposal for this. A huge body of knowledge where you can find a lot of useful information. Of course, the most valuable thing here will be your personal experience in projects and in adapting standard technologies to non-standard situations. So experience matters.
Knowledge certainly is valuable too, but you should remember that it will make a contribution to your intellectual capital only after long and successful practice. Recall your school years: it took a couple of months to learn the alphabet, but practicing the ability to express your ideas in a consistent, logical and correct way took years.
Practice is especially important for developing qualities that were described first (analytical thinking, behavioral and communication skills, and interaction skills). Itís a good practice to use business games which allow you to simulate real business and life situations and try to apply different approaches to resolving them. In a game situation, itís not so painful to make a mistake as in real life, but you do have real emotions. And game situations are as useful for gaining experience as real ones.
All training events that are oriented towards adult audiences have one substantial restriction Ė itís impossible to make a training program or a game plot which would be equally interesting for all participants. Some topics will inevitably seem boring to those who have sufficient experience, while other topics may remain unclear for those who donít have enough knowledge.
Therefore, trainings which range from a few days to a few months are good only for beginners. This refers to both the profession at large and particular (technical) disciplines, such as visual modeling notations, SQL, HTML, integration protocols, etc.
But for more experienced colleagues, shorter training activities would be more useful. The more experience and knowledge they have, the more focused such an event could be. Actually, this approach is very similar to micro service architecture, where you can use separate services (in our case training events) to build any training program for any audience. These can be specialized training courses for a combined group consisting of project team members and customerís representatives. The efficiency of such a training will be much higher, and it will take less time than in the case of a traditional approach.
The apotheosis of such an approach is coaching, where the duration of each session does not exceed one hour and you can select any issues you want to work on, without being restricted by some training program. Coaching can be used for the development of an analystsí personal qualities and for building skills required by the whole team Ė in both cases, the coach will help you find the proper path to your goals.
Digitalization of everything, Big Data, artificial intelligence, Internet of things Ė accumulating new knowledge and the emergence of new technologies leads to quantum leaps in the life of humankind, which are then followed by another leap in knowledge and technologies. This process is gathering speed and this means that a person can go through several technological changes in their lifetime. Yes, every era ends through a crisis. Whether you will feel good or bad depends only on you Ė your capabilities, your ability to learn quickly and adapt to new rules.
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