When I tell my story of getting started as a BA, I often start by saying that my transition happened with a hallway conversation.  A senior BA on the business analyst team approached me on my way back to my desk and mentioned a new position that was opening in the department. She recommended I apply.

My first response was “well, there’s a lot of projects in QA right now, it might not be a good time.” And her much wiser response to me was “Well, then when will be a good time? This is a good opportunity and probably more money too.” It was good advice. I took it.

But really, my transition did not start with that conversation. It started much earlier. My transition to business analysis was embedded in how I chose to approach my QA position.

  • I participated in requirements and use case review meetings.  I found errors. I questioned details.  I helped make the requirements better by being a critical consumer.
  • I established a new testing program (which I later learned was a type ofbusiness process) to streamline the quality of an aspect of the system that was previously subject to ad hoc and unorganized testing from the business. I developed automated tests and organized business testing to create a structured UAT process.
  • I inserted myself between the business team and the development teamsto resolve issues that surfaced in UAT.
  • I built strong product and stakeholder knowledge within my company. In QA I had been involved in more than 15 projects. I had worked with most of the project managers, product owners, business analysts and developers.
  • I knew most of our products inside and out.

My decisions about how I approached my QA role led me to business analysis. They demonstrated to this senior business analyst, who soon became a great mentor to me, that I had the capacity to succeed in the types of situations a business analyst would face. My internal network of stakeholders was an asset. My deep product knowledge compensated for my non-existent experience in specifying requirements in my early days as a business analyst.

To anyone looking to follow in my footsteps, I’d suggest looking for opportunities to get closer to the business and expand your business analysis experience by taking on new responsibilities. There are often many opportunities for QA engineers to help with the transition and implementation process, which can lead to filling in any gaps left by the business analyst, who may now be assigned to a different project.

Plan Out Your Career Transition

Anyone interested in learning more on making the transition to business analysis should sign-up for my free e-course on becoming a BA. I’ll help you get started in planning your transition and unearthing the business analysis experiences in your career history.

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