I have always liked the Dummies books collection. I have an utmost respect for the authors and contributors of all 2,500 different titles on so many different subjects: health, parenting, religion, self-help, baby names, fitness, magic or cooking.
When I decided to get serious with the BA career, this was the first book that I bought: Business Analysis for Dummies. I was very happy to see that someone wrote it already and it was there to help people like me, embarking on this intimidating journey. I needed to know if I can grasp the basics and I did, thanks to the big yellow book.
Easy to understand, following a logic flow, from general to specific, explaining in a friendly, relatable style some complex topics like stakeholders, Data Flow Diagram or Agile approach, the Business Analysis for Dummies is a must read for any BA. It's not useful only for the aspiring ones; I am sure that even a well versed BA can find something to learn from it. Let's not get cocky!
Apart from the specific definitions of terms, tools and techniques, the book follows the usual pattern, starting with the Foolish Assumptions (always a pleasure to read), typical icons used and, my fav, The Part of Tens, where lists of 10 things are mentioned.
My favourite list is the "Ten Experts Chime in" chapter because I found their suggestions extremely useful, easy to remember and simple to apply in real life. I will spill the beans here and will give you the one piece of advice that stayed with me since I read the book. The Three Pains Approach to Better Elicitation (by Hans Eckman, a technology workstream manager at SunTrust Bank in Atlanta, Georgia) was an eye opener for me.
"Here are some sample questions you can ask, courtesy of Eckman:
- Tell me about the three most frustrating things you have to deal with.
- What three things about your daily tasks would you change?
- What three steps of the process cause the most errors or problems?"
You can find the paperback book on Amazon, if you, like me, still enjoy holding a book in your hand, smelling the ink of its pages or killing that spider on the wall with it, but the Kindle version is also available (just don't use it for the spider).