Business Analyst & Product Owner – How Mindfulness helps you keep the Balance

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“Be mindful, even if your mind is full” – James De La Vega (artist).

Today’s BA is a chameleon, adapting to circumstances and fulfilling many roles in any project or organisation. Particularly in agile projects, many BAs now play the dual role of product owner, or business ambassador, as well as analyst. In some teams, BAs also play the role of user experience designer, team lead, change manager, technical analyst, and / or solution tester, perhaps even dabbling in technical design, data analytics or even development.

Kathy Berkidge, Agile Consultant and Coach, Mind at Work Consulting
Kathy will be speaking at the IRM UK Business Analysis Conference Europe 23-25 September 2019, London. She will be speaking on the subject, ‘The Mindful Business Analyst‘.

It can be hard to juggle all these hats we need to wear. Not only that, we need to work with many stakeholders who at times can be quite trying. Pile on top of that hundreds of emails, meeting requests, messages, chat sessions and social media notifications. We are constantly bombarded with distractions. It can be so hard to concentrate with so many things competing for our attention. And the amount of distractions we face isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

In the midst of all this busyness, we still need to fulfil the key responsibilities of eliciting, analysing and managing business and stakeholder needs. Information comes from all directions, sometimes all at once. We need to bring all the data together and communicate with our teams to ensure a shared and common understanding. Acting as product owner, we must also make effective decisions about solution requirements and trade-offs to maximise both business and customer value. How can we remain focused and think clearly without falling into analysis paralysis? One answer is mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the quality or state of being fully aware. The is no one single definition of mindfulness. Mindfulness has a few aspects including non-judgemental, objective awareness, deliberate observation and openness to whatever unfolds in the here and now. Mindfulness helps us reduce all that mind clutter and concentrate on what’s really important to resist getting caught up with all those distractions. We can remain productive and get through our work without going back and forth between different applications, screens and devices, to really “GSD” (Get Stuff Done).

By coming to our work more objectively, we lose so many of those perceptions and bias we all have from our past experiences. We can cut through all that noise to make better decisions with clarity and control. Using mindfulness, we drop the all the assumptions and stories we tell ourselves to see information in a new and clear light. We can see things in a more neural and independent way to perform analysis and make decisions from a much more informed point of view.

There are many studies reporting the many benefits of mindfulness including reduced stress, improved resilience, better communication and increased creativity, as well as health benefits such as lower blood pressure and increased immune response. Whilst today’s studies are valuable and scientifically peer reviewed, the best way to determine the benefits of mindfulness is to try it for yourself and see if you notice any benefits. Most people notice an immediate feeling of calmness and increased benefits over time with as little as a few minutes practice per day. The best part about mindfulness is that you do not need any special equipment, it costs nothing to do, and it’s available 24×7, 365 days per year. Mindfulness can help you become a more effective, and happier, BA.

Come to a mindfulness workshop to learn about mindfulness and how to apply it in your role. These practical workshops explore mindfulness practices specifically in context of agile teams. No agile experience is required as you will learn about the agile mindset and how mindfulness helps you approach work in a more agile way. Both workshops are suitable for people from a broad range of backgrounds and skills, but each has a different focus according to the role and its responsibilities.

The details of the London workshops are as follows:

• Mindful Product Ownership: Friday September 20, 2019 https://mindatworkconsulting.com.au/mindful-po/
• Mindful Agile Leadership: Friday September 27, 2019 https://mindatworkconsulting.com.au/mindful-agileleadership/

As a special offer to our newsletter readers, use code MINDFUL2019 when booking to receive a 15% discount.

Please contact Kathy Berkidge from Mind at Work Consulting if you would like any further information ([email protected]).

With a background in software development, Kathy is an Agile BA professional with 30 years of experience in I.T. She delivers BA and agile training and coaching services to many organisations in Australia and around the world including large corporations and government departments. Since 1999, Kathy has been studying, practicing and teaching mindfulness. Kathy works with teams and individuals to implement mindfulness practices to improve teamwork, be more innovative and deliver better customer value. She is passionate about seeing people, teams and organisations succeed and thrive in an environment of collaboration and harmony. Twitter: @KathyBerkidge

Copyright Kathy Berkidge, Agile Consultant and Coach, Mind at Work Consulting

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