Commit to the Habit of Improvement

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Explain why it’s important to develop testable benchmarks.
  • Describe how you can benefit from receiving feedback.
  • Make a plan for improving your skills through various learning channels.

Reflect and Improve

Almost no one scores a perfect 10 on their first try at anything. There’s always going to be some way to improve for next time around, and as a business analyst, improvement is kind of your game. There’s a huge return on investment in taking the time to seek feedback and expand your knowledge for the sake of your next project, and for your own career.

Measure Success

One of the first conversations you’ll have with a customer is to discuss why they want to change the way they do business. You’ll learn what is important to them. Often it’s about saving time and money, but it can be more than that. Whatever it is, make sure to establish some benchmarks to test what your customer cares about. For example, how many minutes does it take for a sales rep to make a quote and email it to their customer? How often do your service agents need to make a return visit after installing a home appliance? The more quantifiable the benchmark, the better.

Then run your benchmarks on the existing process. For one, you want to make sure your tests produce something reliably quantifiable. If you get ambiguous results, the tests aren’t very valuable, and you need to revise them. If they are good tests, then you’ll have baseline results that you can compare against once you have a solution in place. If you improve the solution even further, run the benchmarks again.

Every bit of benchmark data is useful. Customers want to know just how much things have improved because it’s a big part of calculating their return on investment. The benchmark data is also a reflection on you. It can prove to the customer that your skills and methods as a business analyst are effective. If you’ve delivered significant improvements in your first few deliverables, you better believe the customer will want you to keep working on their behalf.

Also, having some solid metrics that you can add to your resume can’t hurt either!

Seek Feedback

You’re going to be producing a lot over the course of a project: documentation, presentations, solutions, test cases, all manner of materials. In everything you make, there’s an opportunity for feedback.

  • Did you just finish writing some business requirements? Give them to someone who hasn’t been part of the elicitation process, see if the requirements make sense.
  • Do you have a possible solution for one of the business requirements? Post it to a community board and ask for comments.
  • Is it time for user acceptance testing of a solution? Ask the testers to narrate their thoughts as they try the solution for the first time.

Your job of being a detective never ends because you can always turn your investigation inward. Receiving feedback can often be uncomfortable, but you’ll get better at it over time. And that price for personal improvement is a pretty great return on investment.

Expand Your Knowledge

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve already shown quite the commitment to improvement! Learning from Trailhead and other resources should be a lifelong habit. Our world is changing too fast to rest on your laurels.

Sometimes the best teacher is experience, and it doesn’t even have to be your personal experience. If you have the opportunity to observe a project as it’s happening in real time, take it. Learn how seasoned professionals manage their business analyst duties. Not only will you pick up tricks of the trade, you’ll probably learn about solutions that could help your future customers. Try to attend post-mortem meetings that are often held at the end of a project. Listen for what went right and what could have gone better. Attend user group meetings, you’ll probably hear stories of how their projects are going, and what they would have done differently if they could do it over again. Remember, you’re a detective, and your search for what works best means looking for clues in many places.

If you’re interested in doing business analysis in the world of Salesforce, you should seriously consider becoming a Salesforce Certified Administrator. This credential is especially beneficial to those who may not have a lot of real-world experience as a business analyst. Thankfully there are many resources to help you prepare for the exam.

As you’ve learned, there’s a lot you can do to improve your skills and your career as an effective business analyst. Finishing this badge is one small step down that road. Good luck on your journey, we hope to see you around these parts again!