The Business Analyst Mentor ... A Wider Viewpoint

©2015 Dwayne Wright

Many business analyst job descriptions contain key responsibility line items that encompass being an effective mentor. Normally, this will be directed to other business analysts in a statement such as "may coach other BAs on product knowledge and support tools". However, the other business analysts are NOT the real value opportunity. It is your stakeholders such as the subject matter experts, project managers, team leads and even decision makers. If you consider this wide landscape for your mentoring skills, then you can try your hand as the big three methods of learning facilitation. 

• Visual
A method where individuals absorb and can effectively associate a concept via diagrams, models and pictures. In most cases, one or more of these are combined for slideshow presentation, movies or interactive teaching methods. 

• Auditory
This includes both the spoken and written word but not associated with the visual methods described above. However, you can definitely blend the two in situations such as a blog post includes a link to a movie or has a movie embedded within the post.

• Kinesthetic: 
A method where the individual learns by performing one or more tasks to reach an objective. This one is a bit tricky to do with stakeholders but not uncommon. It is a shame the Microsoft Visio is so outrageously expensive because stakeholders savvy in process modeling is a great asset. However, the price tag and complete "walled garden" approach of Visio is a deal breaker in most situations. There are alternatives like A completely free and online tool for making flow charts, process diagrams, org charts, UML, ERD and network diagrams.

Because the chances are high that everyone has a copy installed on their computer, Excel is a different matter altogether. You can educate key stakeholders to use and even modify data models, a requirement traceability matrix, stakeholder lists, self serve BI tools and much more.

Remember, you don't have to perform all the requirement elicitation and management tasks on your own. There may be significant value opportunities for you if you teach key stakeholders on your project how to fish.