The Triing Lizard

Monday, October 10, 2005

My boss asks me the other day what makes me such a good business analyst. Why are project leads fighting for me to work on their projects and trying to bring me over to their group? I admit that I was flattered by the acknowledgement that this had been going on for the past 6 months, ever since someone read one of my documents. Interesting how one document can cause everyone to take notice. I was glad the document had turned out so well because I remember working on it thinking oh my gosh I hope this isn't going to turn out like some of my college papers where I worked really hard on the paper and then didn't get a great grade. Going back to the conversation, I wasn't quite sure how to respond to my boss. Why was I a good analyst? What skills did I possess? Was it my writing skills, was it the fact that I had taken almost enough math classes in college for me to triple major in math? So I responded back explaining that I had done this type of work in my previous job and the skills translated well to my current job. I also explained that I had extensive writing experience, enjoyed problem solving, and got along with all different types of personalities, including extraordinarily lazy developers (well, I didn't go that far).

During a subsequent training run that evening or a few days later, I revisited the conversation in my head and started to brainstorm the real reasons why I'm good to my job. I decided that the skills I've developed while training for triathlons have helped me immensely in my role as a business analyst. Here is why. Each week I design my training plan based on a set number of hours that I have targeted for training. I then decide the number of workouts I will do in each discipline, add in a rest day, and decide when and where I will do each training session. This scheduling also takes into account social and family obligations already scheduled for that week. During heavy volume weeks this leaves little room for last minute changes or shifts and doesn't allow for re-scheduling if a workout is missed. It also tends to involve early morning workouts and evening workouts and mid-day workouts that require clothes, shoes, helmets, and other equipment to be packed and brought with me, strapped and secured to the car, in the car, in lots of pre-designated bags, etc. So when the alarm goes off at 5:00 AM, often preparations have already been made, things have been packed, the coffee maker ready beep is already going off, the swim schedule at the local pool has been checked, no last minute changes can be made. I MUST GET UP. I trudge out of bed and into my swim suit, grab my coffee (I LOVE my brew timer), and head out the door. I finish my swim workout and head to work. Already packed in my workbag is a post workout snack, lunch, and an afternoon snack. Work is rest time for my body but an active time for my brain.

So what does all this carefully crafted planning and scheduling, packing and training have to do with being a business analyst? In both, time is the most important part of the picture. Things MUST be done on time and with efficiency. I am assigned a project at work and I have to figure out how long it will take me and then go and DO IT until it is FINISHED within that alloted timeframe. The deadline cannot be changed once I set it. I have to use my time wisely, work hard during that time and get it out the door. Perfection is not an option. I don't strive for perfection anymore because nothing is perfect. And better yet, it doesn't matter if it isn't perfect because most projects change at a later phase anyway. With triathlon training it's the same basic principal, I have a certain amount of time per week that I have scheduled for training. When the time comes to do a given workout, DO IT. Focus on that workout only and get it done. Expect that it won't be perfect. But enjoy the journey.


  • You have a great looking blog. I'm going to bookmark it and check back every so often! I have a new site about Elisha Ann Cuthbert she plays Kimberly Bauer in the FOX show "24". Take care and keep on blogging.

    By Blogger Elisha Cuthbert, at 5:59 AM  

  • Dude - I wish I had the commitment you do. You used to say I was too obsessive - phew - now I'm nothing compared to you!

    By Blogger Doppleganger, at 7:50 AM  

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