Opportunities – by Josh White

I recently had the opportunity to attend the European IIBA Conference (European Business Analysis Conference) for 3 days through my work for IBM on the project I am working on as a Business Analyst.
The opportunity came up as the client I work with were presenting on 2 topics, and along with a number of the client Business Analysts, myself and the IBM Lead Business Analyst attended as well.
As I am still in Foundation at IBM I was able to get funding to attend the event as it was relevant to my job role and would also help me in my career progression at IBM as a Business Analyst.
The event was split into 2 sections. The first day was a series of half-day workshops which you could pick and choose to attend before the event. In the morning after registration I attended the workshop all about being a Business Analyst on an ‘Agile’ project (projects that are able to adapt and change through continuous development as the project moves through its various stages). This particularly interested me as more and more business are moving towards an ‘Agile’ way of working – including the client I work for.

In the afternoon I attended a workshop called ‘Extrovert or Introvert? How Both Can Shine in the BA World’. This was about how to handle yourself in different situations and there was a lot of group work throughout the afternoon and I had a good chance to speak to people from various industries and backgrounds. This included a member of the European Parliament who is working in Brussels and women who interestingly was looking to establish an Apprenticeship Specifically for Business Analysis.

The next 2 days consisted of a Key Note speech from a guest speaker first thing, then everyone broke out into talks (you had a choice of 5 to go to for each session), of which there were 2 before lunch and it was the same format after lunch as well. Each talk was on a different topic and as a fairly new Business Analyst, all of the sessions were very helpful and gave me a lot to think about now I am back on my project.

The Key Note speeches were very interesting. I really enjoyed a speech from David McCandless who has written a book called ‘Information is Beautiful’ http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/ and also a speech from James Kerr, author of ‘Legacy’ (I got a free copy at the conference!). Legacy is a book dedicated to the All Blacks success as a team and describes how the 15 principles they use can be applied in business. I recommend you have a look at David’s work (website link above) as it displays ordinary, ‘boring’ data in the most amazing ways and also if you have aspirations of managing a team or you already are, have a read of ‘Legacy’.

Attending this event was extremely beneficial for me, especially in my role as a Business Analyst. The opportunity would have been very difficult to come across if I was not working for IBM on this particular project. What I am trying to say is that if an opportunity like this crosses your path then grab it with both hands. It has definitely made me look at the way I do my work differently and I have taken a lot more away from it than I thought I was going to.

Happy reading, Josh

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