How Business Analyst Mentor can become an expert in all aspects of BA – Part 1

Part 1 – the vision

I want Business Analyst mentor to be much, much smarter.
I want it to help more people in achieving their professional development goals as business analysts. Business analysis is a broad skill set with many different niches and specialties. The expectations and scope of the role varies by company, industry and even country. If Business Analyst Mentor has know how and years of experience in all aspects of the role for any industry or methodology, that’s guaranteed to help many more business analysts.

So what do I mean by that?

There are many different buzz words such as BPMN (Business Process Modelling Notation), use case modelling, data modelling and Agile to name but a few.
Many people will be an expert in one or two of these skills or methodologies; some will be experienced in several but no one will have in depth experience of all business analysis techniques.

Different industries vary in their expectations of the skills and experience they value.
It is often discussed whether domain knowledge is important for a business analyst. There is no single answer – that frustrating response of ‘it depends…’ is the only accurate one. For example, in my experience, investment banking in the UK requires domain knowledge in 95% of job adverts.
Only someone with that experience of working within the industry can explain what skill sets are important and how they should be used in practice.

Business analysts come from many different backgrounds. Some (like me) were developers in a previous life.
Some come from a testing or project management background. Many people have come from a business background, for example, a customer relationship manager in a bank.
All of these differing job histories bring some valuable experience, knowledge and insight. They usually bring some unhelpful baggage and anxieties when tackling business analyst tasks.
For example, people from a business background will be nervous that they lack technical knowledge. Personally, I think that the business experience is a huge strength and the lack of technical background can be helpful by ensuring you don’t get distracted by ‘how would I develop this solution?’.
The best person to help overcome those anxieties is a practicing business analyst from the same background who has suffered first hand from that lack of confidence.

How can I do that?

Ok, so I’ve described a demanding challenge. How can Business Analyst Mentor access that breadth of experience and knowledge? The answer is simple. I want to create a network of business analysts who have that breadth of experience.
Each individual would have their own valuable experiences and knowledge in specific areas but as a group their collective knowledge and experience would be incredible!

What would that mean for you?

You could use this network in many different ways.
You could seek out someone who has specific experience and expertise in areas that you need to develop. Start a one to one mentoring relationship to both learn best practice and build your skills in that area in half the time.
When you have different professional development needs, stick with the current mentor or move on to a new mentor who is a better fit! (Click here if your to learn more about the Professional Developments Mentoring Programme)
If you have questions you want answering or need guidance on a new challenge, you could put your question or challenge to the network (on a live call or through an online forum) and the person best placed to answer will provide a response (This service doesn’t exist yet – let me know if you would be interested!).
Maybe you just want to keep developing a broad range of skills and want regular access to a variety of different training provided by this network. Each member would be able to share their specific knowledge so, as a group, they would cover all the bases.

So what next?

As you may know, I’ve already started building that network with the Professional Development Mentoring Service. I need to grow that significantly to access a wide range of complementary skills, industry experience and varying backgrounds.

In the second part of this article, I will explain the type of people I think would most benefit from being part of this network.
And I will invite you to put yourself forward. Or do you have a colleague who you think would be interested? If so, please share this article with them.

Over to you. What do you think of this idea? Would you be a potential customer? How do you think the network could benefit you most?
Post your coments below to share your views

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About Alex Papworth

11 Responses to “How Business Analyst Mentor can become an expert in all aspects of BA – Part 1”

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  1. Georgie Brown says:

    I think this is a great idea. I would also like to be involved on both sides. I have only been an official business analyst for a year, but my background as a system support manager for project and portfolio systems involved in the team for implementation has proved invaluable in my new career. I would hope to be able to support someone else in this type of implementation and get assistance in a more structure approach and to learn to use some new tools in future contracts from the BA community.

    • alexpapworth says:

      Thanks Georgie for your offer.

      I'm just finalising part 2 of this article when I will put out the call for individuals who want to participate.
      I look forward to us speaking again


      • Olufemi says:


        I am results driven, self-motivated and resourceful IT professional and I am looking for a mentor that can help me kick-start my career as a business analyst.

        I am currently working as a Computer Engineer (Deskside) for Fujitsu UK and Island through FSESL. I missed out on an internal initiative called “Future Talent Leadership” within FSESL because I was found to be over-qualified. The initiative was to assign to an interest partly a mentor that will help them to actualize their aspiration. I was eventually advice to look for a mentor on my own. Currently, I am a 2014 Master degree holder in Computer Security and Resilience from Newcastle University and I have been working in IT world for more than 10 years. Prior to relocating to the UK –almost 10 years ago-, I was a Senior System Analyst with Olabisi Onabanjo University in Nigeria.

        I got ITIL certificate under my belt and I currently preparing for Prince2 exams.

        I am a British Citizen and my contact number is 07931230710 or email:

        Kind Regards

  2. shailaja says:

    I am having an experience of 6 years in customer service can i become a business analyst

  3. Joe Molloy says:

    This is a very encouraging vision of where we can go together as a BA community. Thanks for sharing this with us and I hope I can participate in both camps as a mentee or perhaps even a mentor.

  4. Alex Papworth says:

    Thanks IntegralBA for your inspiring words.
    I can add very little other than reinforcing the need for the individual to take ownership of their own professional development. It’s a lot harder to do than it sounds.
    I wish you luck on the future and look forward to us working together in the future.


  5. @IntegralBA says:

    Great article Alex to provoke some further thought around the professional development and mentor discussion.
    Recently I commenced a new mentor relationship through your programme and it has been rewarding beyond words. No doubt a matter of importance needs to be given to aligning yourself with the appropriate individual who can give you the right guidance and advice.

    I look forward to seeing how this network could potentially grow, and am excited about the prospect. I wouldn't hesitate to become part of such a movement. So far putting myself out there within this space has given me a new perspective on taking responsibility for my development.

    For too long I have fallen guilty to thinking someone with the term BA in their title came from a single path of learning. In fact its the opposite, the BA profession is one who carries individuals from incredibly diverse backgrounds, and I can only see this as being rewarding.

    • alexpapworth says:

      Sorry for the really late reply. I tried to post a reply when I was on holiday but it didn't 'stick'!
      Nothing that I can add to this other than to reinforce your point – 'taking responsibility for my development' – it's easy to say but much harder to do.

      When you do commit you will really start to feel the benefits.

      Good luck and looking forward to working together in the future


  1. […] can we achieve the vision I shared with you a few weeks back (read more about the vision here)? You need many BA’s. In fact, a network of BA’s with a broad range of experience and […]

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