An emerging mentor who believes in celebrating the BA profession, she co-creates value for her stakeholders and the wider BA community. Introducing Fae Marcano, our Business Analyst of the Year 2022.
Why do you think the Business Analyst of the Year award is important for the BA community?
In my opinion Business Analysts (BAs) are too modest! We are very much used to being the unsung heroes of the story. Most of us chronically – and silently – suffer from imposter syndrome, while at the same time we relentlessly work to prove the value that we add, debunking the perception that we only do ‘requirements gathering’. A great part of our value relies on deciphering the right problems to solve, collaborating with others to efficiently deliver change, better products and services, resulting in positive outcomes for businesses and people. This makes me believe that Business Analysis as a profession deserves more recognition across organisations.
The Business Analyst of the Year (BAOTY) award is a fantastic platform to celebrate our profession. This recognition provides BAs from across a diverse range of industries, sectors, backgrounds and experience with an opportunity for self-reflection on the stellar role they play in co-creating and driving value in their organisations, as well as highlighting how they are contributing to their immediate BA Community. It also more generally serves to raise the profile of our profession.
The award amplifies the sense of pride we feel in belonging to a 'tribe' of passionate and like-minded people. It allows us to feel represented and seen, inspiring us both with a sense of purpose in the profession and to give back, in any way we can – to leave a positive legacy to the new generations of BAs.
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey to becoming a business analyst?
I didn't plan to be a BA however, looking back, it may have been in my destiny. My journey to becoming a BA was pretty much organic – throughout my career I have transitioned from/into different industries and sectors, so at this point it feels like as I’ve lived many BA lives.
Chapter 1: Oil & Gas, unknowingly doing business analysis - It all started a long time ago in my home country Venezuela. Upon completing my BSc Hons in Systems Engineering, I got the opportunity to do an internship in the national oil and gas industry. My role involved designing a specialized software for petroleum engineering. I started learning the art of facilitating conversations between technical and non-technical audiences by using Use Case diagrams (which my stakeholder, a petroleum engineer used to call 'the ball diagrams').
I then spent a couple of years working as a project portfolio analyst, where I learned some project management skills. I realised that some of my colleagues in another team had the opportunity to directly interact with users to better understand their needs and deliver technological solutions that would really help them. I was seduced by the idea, so I moved onto this team. Over the next few years, I worked closely with multi-disciplinary teams of geoscientists on various IT initiatives, without realising that I was doing business analysis.
Chapter 2: Discovering my transferable skills and my first official business analysis job - I came to the UK, did a Master's in Oil and Gas Enterprise Management – and then could not find a job in that industry anymore. I was in the tricky situation of having very specific professional experience in one specific sector. So, I had to reinvent myself and identify my transferable skills. I soon realised that most of these aligned with a BA profile, so I started using the BA jargon in my CV and got my first official BA job. I worked for a small IT/digital company across several software development projects for well-known retailers in the UK. This role allowed me to start building my confidence as BA and exposed me to a more Agile environment.
Chapter 3: Legally BA - I wanted to operate in a corporate environment, so I moved into Legal Services, where I worked at a global law firm for a few years. Here I became the go-to BA for the development of case management systems. This time, my stakeholders were lawyers and paralegals, from whom I learned about contracting and getting the basics right.
Chapter 4: Financial Services and my life at Capco - My most recent move – and the one that has most empowered me to leverage my transferable skills and the innate ‘BA consulting mindset’. Consulting and financial services are two areas I always wanted to explore, and I have had the opportunity to fuse the two at Capco. In this chapter of my BA journey, I have been able to work on complex engagements with our banking and investment clients, while also making the most of the community aspect of my role to positively influence my BA environment.
What do you love the most about being a BA?
Unapologetically asking ‘why’, as many times as needed. Being the bridge between technical and non-technical audiences, engaging with people, finding the right problem to solve, and enabling the best possible solution all fuel my passion for business analysis.
Most BAs are lifelong learners. Is there any particular field or topic you’d like to learn more about?
Business analysis as a service, product management, and behavioural science are some of the topics I'm interested to learn more about. These would be super helpful to have in my BA toolkit in the context of digital transformation initiatives.
What would you say to somebody who is starting out as a BA today?
Find your tribe. Join your local IIBA Chapter and/or BA Community events. These are a fantastic opportunity to meet other BAs, exchange knowledge and experiences (you're not alone on this!).
Get a BA mentor. Someone who inspires you, helps you to draw on your own strengths and encourages you to be the best version of yourself. The IIBA UK mentoring scheme is an amazing way to do this.
Shadow other BAs. Learn from them, channel their excellence, and use what works for you. Build a two-way relationship by offering to be their sounding board – this will help you to form your own criteria on the tools and techniques to apply and the approach to take.
Be inquisitive. You don't need to have all the answers, just ensure you ask the right questions.
Be positive and engaging. People will always remember you by the way you connected with them.
Finally, know that there will be moments in your BA journey when you'll have to deal with ambiguity, challenging people, complex projects, very tight timelines, and unrealistic expectations (often all at the same time!). When you find yourself in this situation: cut through the noise, do the next right thing, and always fight the good fight!
How do you think winning BA of the Year will impact your career, and how do you see your career developing in the future?
Winning the BAOTY award is already helping me to build more confidence in how I approach business analysis. I see my career progressing to be a BA leader in Capco, contributing to shaping the business analysis offering to our clients and helping them in establishing their own BA chapters / Centre of Excellences. On a more vocational note, I see myself growing into mentoring new generations of BAs and professionals from other disciplines who are interested in transitioning onto a BA role.
Are you thinking about updating your BA toolkit? AssistKD offers a wide choice of business analysis training courses.