When I was growing up, my mother used to tell me that I couldn’t boil water. After I graduated college, I lived in a house with a group of my fraternity brothers. One of the chores we shared was cooking. Since I had a commitment and responsibility to my housemates, I made a decision to provide them with “good” food. I began to learn to cook, and I have never looked back. Cooking has become a favorite pastime, and I can say without any hesitation that I am pretty good at it.
So, what does this have to do with business analysis?
A couple of days ago, I ran into a blog post which compared business analysis to making spaghetti sauce, and it started me thinking. I began drawing parallels between two areas of my life which are very important to me, which I spend a lot of time with, and which provide me with considerable enjoyment (and frustration).
Becoming a good cook is a combination of tools, techniques, curiosity, adventurousness, knowledge, courage and experience. Where have we seen or heard that before? What does it take to become a good BA if not tools, techniques, curiosity, adventurousness, knowledge, courage and experience?
Some of the parallels which can be drawn may not be completely accurate, but the similarities remain. I’m sure if you think about it, there are many areas of your life where the qualities required to “be good at it” are the same ones required to be a good BA and, as a good BA, there are many areas of your life where the qualities you exhibit as a BA would apply to and enhance that other area. The key to being successful in both aspects is to know which qualities need to be applied when.
In my case, I was wondering whether there was an opportunity to use what I have learned as a cook to instruct and inspire aspiring business analysts. It’s something I will be thinking more about.