I have a piece of card on my desk with the following words on it:
- Think without any dishonesty
- Forge yourself in the way
- Touch upon all of the arts
- Know the way of all occupations
- Know the advantages and disadvantages of everything
- Learn to see everything accurately
- Pay attention to even small things
- Do nothing useless
David Beckham, Senior BA – Aviva Life, email@example.com
From time to time I like to glance at it to remind myself what it is I do and why I do it, particularly when it’s “one of those days”. You see I’m the type of chap who likes to think he’s doing something meaningful and this short set of points is the closest I’ve found to summarising my philosophy. So what do these phrases mean something to me as a Business Analyst? Why (to use a consulting buzz-word) do they resonate with me? Lend me a few minutes Dear Reader and let’s explore…
Think without any dishonesty
For me this is a reminder that I need to examine things from many stand points in order to get to the bottom of it; to appreciate and examine other’s viewpoints and also to critically appraise my own beliefs and behaviours around a topic. It also helps me deal with feedback in a positive and constructive fashion.
Forge yourself in the way
Whilst this initially sounds a bit ‘grasshopper’ to me this reminds me that I must make efforts to continually improve my knowledge of requirements development and all things Business Analyst.
Touch upon all of the arts
This reminds me to make sure that not only do I know my way around the requirements processes but that I must balance this off with dark arts such as facilitation, negotiating, influencing etc.
Know the way of all occupations
A reminder that not only must I know my own role, I need to understand the roles of others within my environment such as Designers, PMs, Testers etc.
Know the advantages and disadvantages of everything
Pretty self explanatory really, but you need to know what works and what doesn’t in my trade, together with an idea of when and where it will or won’t work!
Learn to see everything accurately
This is quite a handy strap line and reminds me not to take things at face value but to really examine the situation. It is far too easy to walk into something and let your initial impressions rule your decision making process. It is also quite easy to just see things on the surface and not understand the underlying problem.
Pay attention to even small things
This is a really useful maxim for me, particularly when facilitating or presenting. Why did that stakeholder become disengaged at that point? What do those crossed arms mean? Why were those meaningful glances exchanged? It also helps me when I am QA’ing my own and other’s work.
Do nothing useless
I like this one but it’s bloody hard to manage all the time!!
So that’s a little insight into my mindset. In case you are wondering where these points come from, they were written by Miyamoto Musashi in 1643. Musashi was the most renowned Shugyosha or wandering Samurai in Japan at that time and fought 63 duels without a scratch. He was a gifted swordsman, artist (see below) and sculptor. He also wrote the “Book of Five Rings” and included the above as his most important points for the swordsman (and in fact life in general). The book is now used by businessmen, martial artists, coaches and sports-people the world over as a source of inspiration. I refer to it in my other life as a fencing coach and it has certainly helped me develop my particular philosophy of life. What’s yours?
David Beckham has spent his career working at Aviva and has been a Business Analyst in different guises since the mid-90’s. He was a founder member of the Business Analysis Practice when it was formed within Aviva IT and has had two terms as the Practice Lead. He has worked on numerous large change programmes and has been heavily involved in building the capability of Business Analysis within his organisation over the last few years. He has presented at the European BA Conference on a regular basis and has had several articles on Business Analysis topics published through various media. Despite being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2010 at the age of 43 David continues to relish his role as a Business Analyst and is a passionate advocate of the profession and the benefits it gives to organisations everywhere and regularly speaks on the positive power of change both on a professional and personal basis.
Copyright David Beckham