Written by Brian Teller, Former CORELINK Business Analyst

I’m a Business Analyst…but what does that mean? It can mean different things to different people and depending on the company you are with, it can mean something else.

Joni Wheeler had approached Barb Gaines about providing Business Analysis training to members of Team CoreLink. She was familiar with a training that Barb and I had provided at our previous company that had received positive feedback, so she had asked if it was something that could be modified and provided to CoreLink. One of the initial thoughts about providing this kind of training was that sometimes when we are in a position or at a company for a long period of time, we kind get used to doing our tasks in a certain way and specifically for that company. We forget all the tools that are available to us. Joni wanted to provide CoreLink with industry-best practices and tools that could be used by our Business Analysts to expand their knowledge and tool sets. This request became even more important once it was announced that CoreLink would be closing. Once this announcement was made, the training was opened to any CoreLink employee that thought they may be interested in Business Analysis. The course was designed so that the materials provided could be taken with our CoreLink colleagues as they were launched and into their future roles.

The goal of the course was to provide anyone interested in business analysis with an understanding of what the job entailed from an industry perspective and provide a ‘tool box’ of different tools that could be used to perform that job. We stressed that there was no silver bullet for creating requirements and that there are different tools for different tasks. The course was industry specific rather than CoreLink specific. Participants were provided overviews of the different job functions and tools and then they participated in large and small group activities to practice the use of the tools. One of the other things that we stressed is that Business Analysis is as much art as it is science and the more you practice it the better you get. To be successful we recruited additional business analysts in the company to assist with the large and small group activities. These additional BA’s also took on the role as co-facilitators as more and more classes were held.

The response to the BA Boot Camp sessions was phenomenal.  Over a period of about a year and a half, approximately 90 people participated in the BA Boot Camp classes. We had everyone from current Business Analysts and Testers, to Programmers and Managers attend, and even members from the Communications and Finance teams. While not everyone who participated indicated that they wanted to be a Business Analyst after taking the classes, they did come away with a better understanding of what a Business Analyst did and they found something that they could use in their current or future position. Current business analysts were reminded of all the tools that the industry had and that they could use them rather than the same tools they have always used. Non-business analysts discovered that there were tools BA’s used that could be used in other aspects of their jobs. Overall, I think the program was a great success.