The Origin of the Idea
I’ve been a Business Analyst since 2004, and the one thing I have learned is that I still have a lot to learn. I am always wondering if there might be some tool, technique, or process I could be using in different situations that would make me more effective and possibly make my job easier. So this being the internet age, I searched the web. And sure enough, I came across the LinkedIn discussion forums, sites like ModernAnalyst, and blogs like Practical Analyst. But because I’m a Business Analyst and something of a Type A personality, many of these options presented issues that bugged me.
- The LinkedIn discussion forums are a pain to use. I think they are quite honestly the worst discussion forum implementation I have ever seen. And finding the specific nuggets of useful information is NOT easy.
- Sites like ModernAnalyst and BATimes can have some great articles on them. But to read them you have to deal with the roughly 40% of their site that is filled with ads (that may be a slight exaggeration, but it doesn’t feel like it).
- Some of the best information I have found has been on blogs like Practical Analyst, but trying to find the specific posting that is relevant or keep an organized set of bookmarks to every posting I want to keep a reference to can be a lot of work.
- One area that always seems to be lacking is a good resource on the software tools that BA’s might find useful. As someone who thinks good software is the enabler of modern society, 🙂 this is particularly frustrating.
- Google does a pretty good job of helping you find information, but you have to willing to wade through pages of links to try and find the useful content.
- Lastly, because all of these links and references were spread across my work PC and my home PC, and the organization was rough at best; it made it hard for me to share the information I had accumulated with other BA’s I was mentoring, training, or just helping out.
All of this really came to head when I was studying for my CBAP and laboring to find more information on the topics the BABOK Guide discussed. Another major issue was the lack of freely available (e.g. not in a book or requiring membership in some organization) and complete references on Business Analysis topics that I encountered when I started mentoring other BA’s. This was especially true when I spent a couple of years in Poland for my employer and neither I or the BA’s I was mentoring had access to the reference books I had accumulated back in the U.S. So I determined that as soon I had time, I would put together a web site that would help address these issues. Thus, BAWiki was conceived.
So what am I setting out to achieve with this web site?
My main goal for this website is to provide useful business analysis reference material that I can point BA’s I’m mentoring to and that I think will be useful to other BA’s. The main form of this reference material are the wiki pages on this site. They are all:
- 100% written by me
- Include references (with links where possible) to reference content I used in researching the subject so that you can read the same material I did and form your own opinions if you disagree
- Are intended to be the most comprehensive source of information on that subject as it relates to business analysis that is freely available on the web (e.g. without the need to register, provide an email address, or deal with other barriers to access)
- When discussing specific business analysis techniques the wiki pages should include step-by-step instructions and discuss various options so that someone who is completely unfamiliar with the technique can learn how and why to use it
I initially started off the wiki section with pages that were mostly just links to more information on that topic elsewhere, and unfortunately there are still a couple of pages like that on the site. But for the most part each wiki page is up to my current standards and in some cases are among the top results in Google searches on the subject.
My secondary goal is to provide some ‘curated’ reference lists that I think would be useful to other business analysts. Right now these lists cover:
- Links to other websites or reference materials elsewhere on the web that I think will be useful
- A searchable list of research papers of possible interest to Business Analysts that can be freely accessed via the web, with links.
- A list of Business Analyst books with links to Amazon where you can learn more and potentially buy them (the links are not referral links, I get no money from anyone for the books I list)
I use the term ‘curated’ because all of the lists are made up of things I generally think BA’s will find to be good resources. It’s my opinion of course, and you may not agree on their quality. I also add to lists as I think about it, so there can be long gaps between updates.
Lastly, I wanted to provide myself with a blog where I can post some of my own thoughts on Business Analysis, recommend content elsewhere, or just generally float ideas or tips that don’t really fit as wiki pages.
What about ads or tracking?
At the moment, I don’t intend to ever have any advertising on the site at all. I’m not doing this to make money. But I reserve the right to include some ads in the future if the site gets so popular that I’m in need of money to upgrade the hosting plan to something outside my normal budget.
Google Analytics is set up for this site, so Google may be tracking where you go. And if you want to add comments, I will require an email address in order to reduce comment spam. But that’s the only tracking or information disclosure I expect to occur.
So who are you?
My name is Dave Olson and I’ve been a Business Analyst with a global financial services firm since 2004. I received my CBAP designation from the IIBA in 2011. I’ve never been a consultant, and I don’t have nearly the experience that many of the big names in the field have. If anything, I would guess that my experience may be less broad than a great many other BA’s out there, which is part of the reason I wanted to put together a resource like this site. If you are still morbidly curious about my career, feel free to check out my LinkedIn profile.
If you want to email me for anything that you don’t want to leave in comments, just send it to |admin| (no pipes) at the site URL.
And thanks for actually reading all of this (if you have)!