Business Analysts (BAs) are expected to hit the job running, and not only as systems analysts but increasingly in business advisory and management consultancy roles. Yet, how? You might be new to the job, company, technology, or all of the above. Often, there is no one to ask for guidance, and with business analysis still maturing, not much is written about the subject. How can you quickly gain years upon years of experience in two hours? Thus, the inspiration for this book, The Business Analysis Book of Mentors: 25 Lessons Learned by Seasoned BA Professionals. Through the telling of our key lessons gained through experience in leading business analyst roles, you now have 25 mentors at your disposal.

This book is not one you read once and put away, but a resource you will refer to often in your role as a business analyst. BAs work with that one uncontrollable and uncountable variable, people—an increasingly important dimension as BAs are asked to fulfill overlapping roles as project managers and consultants. As much as you can plan and apply a methodology, the unknown quantity, people, is inevitably where most BAs could use a mentor’s advice. Consider a conversation Bob had with John one day.

“Bob, have you a minute?” asked John, hovering at the door of Bob’s office.

“Sure, what’s up, John?” Bob said curiously. “Come on in, have a seat.” John didn’t often drop by Bob’s office. In fact, John rarely left his desk tucked far back against the windows.  John could be counted on to have the most recent figures on just about anything, from  baseball stats to the next quarter’s sales projections. His new assignment, though, John found more intimidating than an encounter with auditors.

“It’s about this project I’m working on. I’ve never worked with semiconductor technology or users from the field. I just don’t know where to start. I’m hoping you can advise me on how to start analyzing a new technology and perhaps give me a few pointers on how to work with the field engineers.”

Does this sound familiar? Can you remember being a new BA or the only BA in your company, and you wished you had had a Bob on which you could drop in? Here are 25 Bobs, or seasoned BAs, to share their one best piece of advice for success in business analysis. The result of their collective experience is this book.

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” ―William Arthur Ward

These are our stories, written with humor, jest, sincerity, and analogies, but always with the hope of providing inspiration. Our wish by telling our stories is to not only tell, explain, and demonstrate, but also to inspire you—in your role as a business analyst, and a mentor to other BAs to come. We look forward to adding your key lessons to future editions.

  • David and Sandee