Becoming a Superhero Business Analyst With Christelle Govender

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In this conversation, Christelle Govender and I explore the critical skills and mindsets needed for the future and shape the essential characteristics of the superhero business analyst.

Christelle is a Business Analyst currently with the Spar Group. She has spoken at conferences, had an article published in BA Digest (Q2 2023), and is passionate about mentoring and growing others.

Here are just a few of the highlights in this episode:

🥣 🥣 🥣 🥣 🥣 "Very greedily I signed up for five mentors, and I had the most amazing conversations with them." Christelle shares how she accidentally discovered the business analysis career path after meeting a superhero business analyst. And then how through a mentorship program in her company, she gained experience by shadowing and working on tasks, eventually landing the role she desired.

🦸🏽‍♀️ "When I think about the business analyst of the future, I believe that they're going to have a few characteristics very close to The Avengers." Christelle outlines how the business analyst of the future will have similar characteristics to the Avengers. That the future business analyst will bring together the perfect blend of soft skills and the curiosity for technology to add value to the organisation they're working in.

🕺🏾 📦 💃🏾 "Business analysts are too sexy to be in a box." Christelle observes how businesses seem more interested in data science, data analytics, and business analytics and everything that sounds like business analysis but not business analysis. But it is best to have someone who can understand all aspects of the business.

🌍 👩🏽‍💻 🤖 "Any change that affects humanity or fixed technology is going to affect business analysts." Christelle sees change as the only constant, and we will see a lot of change; it will be rapid and impact all aspects of our life. Meaning change management will be imperative for business analysts as we are at the forefront of technology and how it serves humanity.

🫵🏽 "It's up to us to shape where we see this career going." Christelle encourages us to stand up and say; this is the role of a business analyst; this is what we as professionals can do, and set a clear path for the next generation of business analysts.

🫡 "We have to deliberately include everyone." We round off with a quick conversation about helping everyone in the room feel included, respected, valued, and safe enough to contribute.

Tune into the episode below or listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your podcast player of choice. You can watch the interview on YouTube here.

Brought to you by Business Change Academy skills development and career building business analysis courses.

The transcript of this episode can be read here.

  • [00:41] Christelle shares her story of how she became an accidental business analyst
  • [05:00] Imagining the superhero characteristics of the business analyst of the future
  • [10:46] Getting involved in new technology early enough in the business change life-cycle
  • [14:02] Moving beyond the business IT gap to bring the sexy back to business analysis
  • [20:11] Christelle shares her hack for building relationships in a remote work environment
  • [23:59] Future trends of remote work, data security, being nimble, AI, and change management
  • [29:35] Adding strings to your bow and not getting pushed back into an IT systems corner
  • [32:52] Being a general practitioner and referring stakeholders to specialist functions
  • [37:11] Why the profession needs brave individual business analysts to drive the role forward
  • [41:39] Ensuring people feel included, respected, valued, and safe enough to contribute to meetings

What was your favourite quote or insight from this episode? Please let me know in the comments. 👇👇👇

🧠 Add your brains to the  👉 Future Business Analyst survey.

Joe Newbert 0:00
Hey everyone, it's Joe. Welcome to another episode of the future business analyst podcast. My guest today is Christelle Govender, who is a business analysts currently with the SPAR group. Christelle is a conference speaker has published articles, and is passionate about mentoring and growing others. So Christelle, thank you for joining me today.

Christelle Govender 0:23
Thank you for having me, Joe. I'm really excited to be here and looking forward to chatting a little bit about something we're both passionate about.

Joe Newbert 0:31
Yeah, indeed, yeah, no, this is I'm excited for this. I tell you what, let's actually just dive straight in to this. So if I think you've got about five to 10 years ba experience, if I recall, won't you tell me sort of how did you you get into the business analysis field? And I've got a second question for you as well. I just want to drop in now, which is, do you still see yourself in the profession in two years time?

Christelle Govender 1:03
Okay, so recently, you would have seen that all across in LinkedIn, there's been this term, the accidental BA. And I too, am an accidental BA. It was definitely not the career that I planned for. I studied become and I majored in marketing and human resource management. So quite by accident started off my journey as a quality assurer. And during my time as a tester, I worked on a product that had a business analyst, that was my very first encounter with someone that had this title that I had never heard of. And this person was like a superhero. He did everything he was invested in, what type of bugs were being logged, and he wanted to understand how the product was working. And he just seemed to be everywhere, all at the same time. I was fascinated, because I had never heard about this job title within, you know, software development, there was my very first encounter of the role. And soon I wanted to explore other options. And I found my company had a mentorship program, where business analysts actually volunteered their time, to people who weren't listed in the role. And this, this is exactly why I'm so passionate about mentorship, because I know how much it takes a lot of people to volunteer time. You know, it's easy to give money, it's easy to give, you know, tangible things. But to give you a time it, it takes a lot out of someone to invest in someone else. And these people just volunteer their time. And they are they were a wealth of knowledge, just waiting to have conversations with people who wanted to know more about this career. Because bearing in mind, it's not clear cut, study this and become a business analyst, you know, everyone's role, everyone's journey is somewhat different. So very greedily, I signed up for, I think, like five mentors, and I just had the most amazing conversations with them about their journeys, and what they did on a day to day basis. And I began shadowing them. So they actually shared parts of their tasks with me, which I would work on during lunch or after work. And of course, my managers were aware of it. So before long, I had actually built up business analyst experience, and in the meanwhile, doing a few courses, so when the opportunity arose, and there was a vacancy, I applied, and that's how I became a business analyst. But to answer your question of do I see myself in this role in the next two years, 100% I absolutely love being a business analyst. I cannot see myself doing anything else. But business analysis. And I hope to be that mentor to someone else, not just in the next few years, but as long as I can.

Joe Newbert 3:54
That's fantastic. Yeah, let it go full circle, right, you know, paying paying it back. What a fantastic opportunity. That is, what a great place to work, you know, sort of these people, as you say, Time is a very precious thing. So I think it's wonderful. And you just grabbing all of it right? I have all five of you please because I think that's really good because like you highlighted in there sort of every BA is different. Everybody does it a little bit differently. So now, you're not sort of sat there going well, this is the one way of doing it. You're learning that there are potentially five different ways of doing something. No, well done you and I mean, as you say, like the moment that job opportunity opened up it probably had your name already attached to it because as you say the leadership had spotted you spending your lunch times shadowing doing work so so no, I think that's brilliant. And I'm glad to hear you're going to be in this in in two years time as well as definitely is the profession that keeps on giving I'm gonna come back to one of your words that you dropped in there. What an excellent segue. You've given me. Superhero, right? Once you please describe to me what you think the BA of the future might be a little bit like.

Christelle Govender 5:16
So, Joe, I'm a massive Marvel fan, not to be confused with DC, which is Superman and Batman. Yes, I'm one of those people that get highly offended when people confuse the two. But I'm a massive Marvel fan. And I, when I think about the business analyst of the future, I believe that they're going to have a few characteristics very close to the Avengers. So the first would be the leadership qualities of Captain America, I believe that a BA is a leader. And we have the ability to make change, to drive change, and to lead a team, not necessarily by title, but just by how we do things, how we handle every day, how we handle our interactions with our team, with our stakeholders, I believe that that is leadership, being able to identify strengths of the different people in your team, and unify those trends to achieve a goal. And again, I must emphasize not because of title, but because your team believes in you, and you believe in your team. And that's something that I relate to Captain America and I believe the business analyst of the future, would have mastered that. The next is the AI and technology of Ironman and what kinda so the Black Panther. You know, Ironman had a lot of things at his disposal, one of which was money. And I believe that sometimes business analysts struggle to get the buying of the business, to say, you know, we need this tool, or we need something to help us with our day to day job. I believe that in 10 years from now, the business analysts won't be having those discussions anymore. The business will believe in the value that a business analyst is able to bring to the overall business and what they are trying to achieve. So it won't be a question of, no, we're not giving you the money, it will be how much and how soon, I believe that we would have the technology at our disposal, our disposal to to make a difference. You know, AI is the boss right now check GPT. And while you have two distinct groups of people, one who believe this is the end of humanity, and we're never going to have a need for skill set. There. They are the others, who I hope all the business analysts are part of that group, who see an opportunity to use technology to better our everyday work and to add value in a more efficient way. So I believe that's what the business analyst would do. They would look at technology and see all the opportunities. They will see the threats, not that they will be blind to the threats, but they will be able to turn those threats into opportunities. They will also have the emotional intelligence of Dr. Bruce Banner, not when he's the Hulk, but when he's Dr. Bruce Vana. And he's able to incorporate his IQ and his EQ and just handle himself in really tough situations. And then I also believe that the business analyst of the future will have the ability to bounce back from failure, like door to door went through some really serious changes in his whole superhero journey. But he was able to bounce back from that. And I think the business analyst of the future would have a different view of fear, they will not be afraid of it, they would fail fast, fail quickly, get it over with learn from it move forward, it wouldn't be something to be afraid of. And I just think the business analyst of the future will have the perfect blend of the soft skills and the curiosity for technology and be able to bring those two together and add value to the organization that they're in.

Joe Newbert 9:08
Yes, that's some pedal stool. You're putting his arm for the future. Isn't it like this blend of all the best bits of these adventure? Avengers? Am I hearing that there might be a little sort of conference presentation? In the making here? I don't know. I feel like the this might come together there. But yeah. Okay. I mean, obviously, the Avengers are a team, right? I mean, you started off talking about leadership and teamwork and things. The Avengers are a team and they, they've you know, they've each got positives and negatives about them or as much as you've sung. These guys strengths here. They've all got a weakness as well that they sort of need to overcome down So maybe we start with thought that that resilience that's going to be needed to be able to bounce back, I definitely think that that is that is something that's going to be needed. Because I would imagine that experimentation is going to become more prevalent in our day to day work. Like, if there is more change coming than we've ever experienced before. That means that we're going to have to be constantly sort of catching things, testing them out feasibility. And there's going to be failure in there. So definitely, we're going to have to bounce back from that as well as people's commentary on our failure. So that probably covers for Conde too, because it is this tech. Yeah, there's gonna be a ton of different tech. Do you feel we get involved enough in tech early enough?

Christelle Govender 10:53
No, I don't think so. I think right now, it is better than it was. That's for sure. But I think we're still in that reactive phase. Then rather than being proactive, I think, I think we're still sort of like in the phase where technology is happening to us. And we're not happening to technology. But it's definitely getting better. And I see that we're taking active steps. We're having those discussions. We may not have we didn't may not be having it at the right time. We're still very reactive, but I think we're getting there.

Joe Newbert 11:31
Yeah. Yeah. A little bit more r&d in our life. I think even if it's, you know, our own spare time at lunchtime, and after work, you know, I'm aware that companies have r&d departments, they'll have people who are perhaps looking at, you know, the stuff that's on the horizon. But I do think we, as you say, you know, it happens to us, we don't happen to it. And I definitely think we can change that. Bruce Banner, I feel like to a degree, we've already nailed Bruce down a little bit. It is that IQ, it's that knowledge. It's those soft skills. It's that knowledge worker, right, and we've done the knowledge work thing. I feel like we're, we're okay there. Let's go Captain America. Yeah, I love the fact that you highlight leadership, I think it from Bas, it needs more focus. If we are to get more money, like budget for things, if we are to be able to catch technology or go after technology a little sooner. I feel like we need to be trusted leaders, like we need to be out at the front here. And I like what you say about you know, it's not being granted a title. You know, we're not knighted a leader. And I actually think it's easier to lead without authority. Because then you actually have to use your influencing skills in order to bring people along on the journey with you. Whereas when you have a title, people just often blindly follow because somebody said, but let's come back to this, this this Ironman, I've always felt with a shoemaker without shoes. You talk about this utopia, which is probably this word, Wakanda as well, right? This utopia, where I can ask for money, and I get given it. I'm not used to that. And that's gonna take some getting used to, but business analysis, I feel was trending once, like it was sexy, once, I felt like it's lost some of that sexiness around organizations, executives and budgets, you know, it's not the thing that gets funded. There are many other things to get funded. So I'm just gonna say sexy things get funded, and the things that don't get funded aren't as sexy anymore. How can we help? How do you see this changing? And how are we going to bring the Sexy Back to Business Analysis to get the execs to fund us?

Christelle Govender 14:10
I have to say, Joe, that sounds like a conference title. How do we bring the Sexy Back to Business Analysis? I hear what you're saying. Because businesses seem to be more interested in data science and data analytics and business analytics and everything that sounds like business analysis, but it's not business analysis. But they've always needed someone to bridge the gap. Traditionally, business analysts bridged the gap between what the business wanted and what the technology could do. And now that they have all these other disciplines of data science and business analytics, they still need someone to bridge the gap to understand what the data is actually telling us and what we're trying to achieve. And now how do we utilize the Technology to bridge the gap between what the data is telling us and where we want to go, you've just got an additional player in the game. And I think it's important to remind them that when I say them, I mean the business, the guys will have the deep pockets, that you need someone who's able to understand all aspects of business. And I think that also goes for us as business analysis analysts to stop putting ourselves in a box. I only draw process flow diagrams, I only write requirements documents. Well, I'll title is business analyst. And as basic as a five year old will say, so do you analyze the business? I think that's actually the most accurate definition of what we do. We analyze where the business is, and you know what we use every business function. To do that we need, we need every business function to be able to do that and to advise the business. There's outside factors impacting the business, there's internal factors, they still need someone who's able to speak those different functional business functions to be able to speak those languages. I think a lot of why we don't get the funding is because we've forgotten how sexy we are. As business analysts, we've forgotten how much value we can bring to the table. And we've went when the business said, Okay, this one budget, we're not going to give you the money, we just sat back and said, Okay, and here we are years later still sitting in the same situation. It's because we've allowed it. I don't want to be in a box business analysts are too sexy to be in a box

Joe Newbert 16:35
Yeah, what box? I think is always my answer to outside of the box, that what box, you mentioned lots of language, you mentioned languages in there. And I know that you've got some thoughts around the languages that BAs speaks, let me just pull you in into that part of it. So talk to me a little bit about how you see the future and sort of who we might be communicating with.

Christelle Govender 17:05
Yeah, so traditionally, my elevator pitch of what a business analyst does was, I'm bilingual, I speak two languages, I speak business. And I speak technology. So I'm able to translate what the business wants. Take it over to the guys who sit with their black hoodies and their headphones on in the little dark rooms. And say to them, Well, this is what the business wants to do. Let's see what the technology can do. And then take the binary that the guys in the dark room speak, take it back to the business and, you know, not play broken telephone where we take the wrong message, but make sure that the correct message is being delivered. And we're ultimately adding value. How I see that definition changing is we're now multilingual was not just enough to speak technology and speak business. There's other aspects as other influencing factors to what we do as a business. For example, I'm in the fast moving consumer goods, sector of business, there are so many factors impacting what we do. I mean, there's sustainable farming, there's supply chain models, there's marketing, there's competitor analysis, there's a worldwide market, there's so many factors. So I can't just be in this little box and say, Well, I'm going to draw a process flow diagram for an online shopping tool. You know, I need to be able to speak multiple languages and see where we're trying to go as a business as a whole. So that's how I see the definition changing. We're going to be multilingual, multilingual, business analysts.

Joe Newbert 18:45
Yeah. No, I think it's fantastic. It's Babel isn't it, you know, it's just being being being able to communicate across across boundaries. And I'm going to bring in a chameleon here, too, as well. Probably haven't used the word chameleon for a few years. But I always felt like you know, when we get out into the organization, we need to be able to influence to be able to communicate, be able to just build rapport with different people from, you know, the execs in the boardroom down to a guy who is perhaps in some kind of broom cupboard, you know, and just be able to treat everybody no differently within that to be able to blend in and to be able to build that rapport, to ask the right questions and get the answers that we need. And I think if we combine that sort of Babel with that chameleon in that probably is going to be quite a super heroic ba he can have to come up with some kind of name and costume for that person, I think. But yeah, did Yeah. It's interesting to say that the definition sort of changes because As our scope increases, really? Okay. You mentioned talking of asking questions. Tell me about a hack that you use successfully, something you can maybe pass on for, for me to get use out of.

Christelle Govender 20:22
a hack. Okay, so it's a very basic hack. But during remote calls, I found it very difficult to build those relationships that you spoke about to gain trust, to ensure that my team believed I was able to add value. And I was not just here asking questions for the sake of asking questions and wasting their time. So I was new to the team, and I had to make them believe that I'm, I'm here for them. I'm on the side of the team, you know. So no, it was very difficult to build those relationships. And the hack that, that I started off with, was sitting exactly where I'm sitting now with my refrigerator behind me. [Time Machine.] It's my time machine, but it was what I call nonverbal cues. Okay, conversation starters. And it could be just about anything, I could keep a guitar behind me, sooner or later, someone's going to ask me in a meeting Christelle, do you play guitar. And here we go, are having a conversation, totally unrelated to work, but I'm able to build a relationship, because what was much easier, pre COVID When we were in the office, and I would walk past your desk, and know that you're a comrades runner and say, Hey, Joe, you know, comrades, was this past weekend, and we'll be able to have a conversation. It's much more difficult if you're in a hybrid environment if you're in a fully remote environment. And it's only going to continue being that way. Because this is the way of life, we're always going to be communicating through some sort of remote technology. So we have to get used to a way to build human relationships through a screen. So my hack is nonverbal cues and conversation starters. Today, I have my refrigerator behind me that has pictures of my family and magnets from places that I've traveled to. And sometimes I wear a football jersey, I am a Manchester United supporter. It gets a lot of people revved up during meetings with their Liverpool supporters, the Champions League has just finished in Manchester City won. And you know what, we have some really cool pre meeting conversations that just help build relationships. So my hack is nonverbal cues. Where your funky T shirts, try it in your team wear a funky t shirt to work, they actually did that in my team. And people wore funky T shirts to stand up and everyone actually put the camera on, which some people didn't do.

Joe Newbert 23:06
That's, that's really nice. I feel like it also slows things down. When we have these virtual meetings, and we are in front of the camera all day. We're pretty excited for those meetings to end right. So we can stand up and walk away. So often these meetings are just how quickly can we get through them. So it's nice that you know, as you say, it's gonna start conversation, build rapport, and just start to slow things down. I'm not going to comment on the Manchester United. I was talking about trending just now saying sort of business analysis might not be trending. You highlighted sort of data science might be a child probably still is a little bit. But what trends do you think are going to impact our sort of future work?

Christelle Govender 24:07
So there's a few trends that I see impacting and not just in the future you already see traces of it now. And the one that we just mentioned, was related to the hack that I shared. And that's remote working, hybrid teams, co located teams, whatever you want to call it, it's here to stay. COVID was just a catalyst for a major change in how we do business, how we work day to day with our teams, how our business exists in the greater context of our customer journeys, they're becoming more complex. A lot of things are moving online, people buy groceries, online banking online, we do everything online. So this way of working is something that we're going to have to get used to and I and I see it trending for a very long time. I don't see it going away. I don't see the tradition. Oh, let's all go to the office five days a week ever being the way it was pre 2020. The other, like I mentioned was data, you see the big push towards data driven decisions, collecting the right information, knowing what to use that information for. And of course, coupled with that data security, which is something that business analysts need to focus on, we need to make sure that we include cyber security, data security, there's laws for the different countries that we may find ourselves working in wherever our software's operating or our solution is operating. I think data is the currency of life. But it's probably the commodity that's treated with the least amount of security, like if diamonds are in transit, you will see the security around it. But because we don't necessarily physically see data moving, I think we've forgotten the security mindset around it. So I think it's something that business analysts can also drive from an organization perspective. Then, of course, it's the whole, nimble versus agile. I imagine this is what the discussion must have sounded like when it was waterfall versus agile. And it's almost like we're reaching a point where Agile is not enough for how we do things, how we work as an organization, because the change is happening so fast. It's not just being agile, it's how you respond to the change. Are you nimble enough? Are you quickly responding to opportunities and recognizing change? So I think that's going to be trending for a while. And we may just find ourselves with a new working methodology, who knows. But if the change is so rapid, and the way we working is not helping us enough, I think we may actually find ourselves studying a new manifesto in place in place of the Agile Manifesto. And then, of course, AI, chat GPT, I think is going to change the trajectory trajectory of the business analyst career, I certainly don't think it's ever going to replace it. But it's definitely going to have an impact on how we do day to day things. Which brings me to my last point, which is change management, okay. The only thing constant in life is change. The only thing guaranteed, and I think that's going to be a trend that we see a lot is going to be rapid, it's going to be on all aspects of our life. And any change that affects humanity or fixed technology is going to affect business analysts as a career. Because here we are at the forefront of technology and how it serves humanity. So I think these things that are trending are going to impact where the business analyst profession goes in the next 10 years.

Joe Newbert 28:00
There's a lot of things aren't there that can influence this. I mean, it's quite, quite incredible. I mean, us joined down, you talked about process data security, then I've dropped UI in interfaces, functions. You know, there's a there's a quip that says that ba stands for be anything, and I'm a great believer that, that we can do so much. I feel like you know, I actually want to say that's the BAS job note, that's also the BAS job to get your hands off that ba should be doing that. And you end up sort of ticking off, like half the functions in the business because we do have that broad skill, that that deep knowledge, that means we can do things but you we have there are specialists in each of these areas. There'll be data specialists, there'll be process specialists, security specialists, UX specialists, functional analysts that you know, in each of these things that we mentioned, there are specialist jobs that do them. But then we're a bit like that sort of proverbial GP to general practitioner, you know, we can do each of these, we may not get right down into the detail, understand, you know, all the pros and cons of everything, but our skills are quite broad. And I often think like, Where does the job and do you see as like, basically getting more strings to our bow and get it becoming more general practitioners? Or could you see as being sort of pulled down a particular specialist path and set the only specialist path that's jumping to my head knows perhaps requirements engineering, that systems analysis, we could sort of almost get pushed back into into that space. What do you think?

Christelle Govender 28:13
I think it's up to us to make sure we're not pushed back into that space. I think your team needs to be able to see the value. Not you necessarily not the eye, but but the value that is being added by a business analyst in a team. So, you know, you spoke about the GP and I think that's probably the best analogy for business analyst, because you get the flu more often than you need a specialist to operate on you. So more often than not, you go to a GP, who then refers you to a specialist, you can't exactly get an appointment with a specialist, you know, you don't just walk into a neurosurgeons doctor's room and ask for an appointment, you have to have a referral letter from a GP, who's able to direct you and say, this is actually where you need to go. So I think that's what the business analyst is the multilingual person was able to say, you know, what you actually need another discussion with a specialist in this area, who speaks Italian will speak to data security for your specific need. But we're still able to diagnose that situation. And sometimes maybe our antibiotics will be enough. Sometimes you may need a surgery. But we'll at least point you in the right direction. And as far as the best of what is not the wonderful thing about being a business analyst, you could be a GP for 20 years, and then suddenly decide I want to specialize in neurosurgery. So you could be a business analyst for however many years, and you want you have this opportunity to go further into one of the disciplines within business analysis. I think we have all these strings in our

Joe Newbert 31:54
Yeah, no, I don't like people say, Oh, your career path as a project manager. And I just think like, how many different things there are so many, like rivers flowing from this, you could take any one of them and spend two years spend 10 years? You know, it's it's an interesting point, you know, you sort of took my GP idea, and you took it a little bit further, which is, wouldn't it be great if people came to us as that point of contact, knowing that we could pass them on to somebody else, like we had to write that letter of request, you know, and pass it on? Whereas at the moment, perhaps people sort of go pastures or over our heads or whatever to get to that person? It doesn't come through us? Do you think we could maybe position ourselves better to say like, here we are, we're at the forefront of this. Hello, Mr. Mrs. Stakeholder. I'm here for all your needs. And trust me, if there's something that you need to goes a little bit deeper than my typical expertise, I will, I will hold your hand and pass you on to the next person.

Christelle Govender 33:17
Definitely, that's where the leadership comes in. That's why we said Leadership Without title. Because it's how you position yourself how you build those relationships. It's not an overnight thing, like a title change. It takes time it takes investment it takes having those meetings, building those bridges, ensuring that you're communicating to that stakeholder the way they want to be communicated to, you know, some stakeholders like an email, some like a team's message, some like you to walk over to their desk, and give them an update. Do you know your stakeholders that way? Do you know exactly what they want? When they want it and in what format they want it and think it's up to us to position ourselves at that forefront? No one's going to wake up and say here, like you said, I Knight you person who stands at the door for all stakeholders, you know, you have to build that up. And it's important that we know it's not an overnight thing. Because I could be a BA in this team today, and go to another team within my organization tomorrow and have to rebuild that position all over again. Because it's a different set of stakeholders. I think that's the fun part. It shouldn't be looked at as a challenge because you get to No, no two days at work at the same who gets who gets to call out all boring, no one, because each day is different. So I think I think the important thing to know is that it's not an overnight solution.

Joe Newbert 34:47
It's it's it won't be No. And I'm getting a thought here, which it was broadly summarized as process versus people. So You know, there is the job title or ba, but it's not the job title that gets you that access or permission is the individual who happens to have that job title that gets that access and permission by influencing by leading. So it's not like, they're going to say, Okay, this is now the role of a BA, they're gonna say, actually, Christelle, you come here, you help me and they're looking at you, they're not looking at the title they're looking for you for for help. And then when you go, there's probably big shoes for somebody else to, to fill, but they're not going to say, okay, that's the role of the BA now, it's just gonna go down that Christelle helped with that stuff. And where I'm going with this, as well, as you mentioned, nimble versus agile. And while you were talking about that, I was also thinking, people versus process. And what what I'm getting at here is, sure people can come up with a next methodology, they can write some steps that need to be followed, and some rules and manifestos that govern it. But I mean, I know a ton of methods, I know a ton of notations. I've spent my entire career reading and learning. So I've got it all. But I don't follow any of it. Right? I do bits of it, I blend it together in a way that makes sense for that piece of work or that moment in time, where I am. So what I'm getting at here is, it's the person, it's like having that stuff ingrained in the person is more important than having that stuff written down and telling people to follow it. Having that permission, that access is again about the person it's not about putting the process in place to do it. Do you think that it's individuals who are going to be able to shape the future rather than I suppose it's like, go and do it and ask forgiveness later? Is that sort of where we're at? Are we looking for brave individuals to go out to drive this professional forward?

Christelle Govender 37:15
Our depth definitely, definitely brave individuals to go forward. I mean, a few years ago, they weren't cybersecurity IIBA courses where you could certify yourself. There was some brave individual who had a deep curiosity for that. And now we have an IIBA certification for it. Because we're in one of those careers where there's not that typical study this degree and you know, you're now qualified BA, it's up to us to shape where we see this career going. And we've got to stand up and say, you know, what, this is, this is the role of a business analyst. This is what we see us as a profession being able to do, and who knows, maybe in between that you might actually end up with those degrees or courses like the IV security one, and you may not, but you certainly have a clear path to follow for the next generation of business analysts who would actually know what a business analyst does. And they would be in school. And just as they say, I want to be a doctor and I want to be a lawyer, or I want to be a software developer, they would say, I want to be a business analyst. Because the path would be much more clearer because of some brave individuals who stood up and said, This is the career this is what it means. This is what this profession means.

Joe Newbert 38:37
Yeah. I'm now I don't know if this is a crazy thought or not. But this is why I love these conversations with people like you. It's fantastic. Like it gets me thinking about stuff I might not have considered before. You talked about change management two minutes ago, right? If we think what change management is, it's basically getting people ready for what's coming. It's helping to smooth that transition for something. How about if we did change management, on our stakeholders about how we're going to change and what's coming, it would almost be like, not just a bit giving them forewarning of us coming to do this, almost getting permission to do it before we did it. Because we told you we're going to come and do this. You're expecting us, aren't you? Right? You're expecting this? How about we do some change management on our stakeholders then to start to shape what we're going to deliver in the future?

Christelle Govender 39:38
Definitely, and to shape where they can where our influence is going to be more focused on not so much on outputs and deliverables, but on those conversations, on unpacking these ideas exactly like how we're having a conversation now, and we're unpacking ideas. We want to position our influence to sit with stakeholders and I unpack ideas for the future. So we are going to change manage all stakeholders in relation to where we are taking this profession.

Joe Newbert 40:09
Yeah, I think I think that will be fantastic. Because then it's a bit like that comment you made with the technology earlier, then that's not just gonna happen to us. But we are happening to it, we're putting our sort of stakes down and given given the wheels spin, I think that'd be that would be great. Lastly, with all this change with all this remote work, and I know sort of remote work, based on your little hack earlier, is something that's very close to your heart of great interest to you. You said it's not going away. The thought that popped into my head at that point is I think it probably depends on who you are, and where you are, right? I think retail is going to be different to finance, I think South Africa is going to be different to the US. There are traditions, there are cultures, there are powers that perhaps are different in different places. But I do think there's definitely going to be a blend, there's going to be a mix. So it's that word hybrid. And something that is coming about more frequently now is hybrid meetings hybrid workshop says go for a workshop rather than a meeting meetings, easy workshops are our hard work. How can we manage hybrid sessions? Well, let's just say 50% of stakeholders are online 50% are in the room? Because that's quite a tricky thing to do. How can we bring those people together and try and give them a similar experience?

Christelle Govender 41:57
You know, I recently attended a course on communication. And one of the things that came out was, every meeting or workshop or every interaction has a practical need that we need to fulfill. So in the case of a workshop, there's an education or learning outcome. In the case of stakeholder meetings, you maybe need a requirement or there's some practical needs some output. But every encounter has about five personally needs, all of which have to be met. So it's not a, you know, I ticked three off, and I got the practical need. So the meeting was a success. Every personal need has to be fulfilled in order for a meeting to be a success. And it sounded so mushy, like, it's so emotional, but it's so true. Every person in the meeting needs to feel included, respected, valued, safe enough to contribute. And that's whether the meeting or the workshop is being a hybrid, whether it's in person, whether it's fully remote. So for me, it's deliberate inclusion, because I can meet a practical need very easily. I come from a testing background and checklists, what my what my everyday thing. So I come in, I look at a piece of software, I did the checklist, and I'm done. But did I assure quality? Or did I take a checklist that I have? Did I have a workshop? Or did I pass on a learning outcome to every individual who was present in that meeting? That's the difference. And it's a deliberate inclusion that results in that value. Not just ticking a checklist. And I could have been excellent in delivering the workshop. But nobody left with a learning outcome because the full 50% who are logged in, remotely, were asleep, or checking on cat or updating their Instagram, because they were not deliberately included. So I think if I had to sum it up deliberate inclusion, call people out by names, use the technology, create those virtual rooms for breakout sessions. Technology will be there to aid us but we have to deliberately include everyone.

Joe Newbert 44:11
No, I like that. I think that's great to two simple words but deliberate inclusion. And by doing that, you make it fair as well because you're going to include people regularly everybody's going to get the same amount of airtime the same get picked on get their names called out the same number of times as well. And if we do that frequently, I don't think we're gonna give them time to drift off and check whatever whatever they are checking. Okay, I think that's a great note to end this on. Thank you for including yourself in his little podcast series. It's been great hanging with you today. Christo. I'm looking forward hanging with you in when is the October ba summit this year as October November. That's gonna be

Christelle Govender 44:57
with you as well, Joe, and thank you for this amazing opportunity.

Joe Newbert 45:01
My absolute pleasure. I appreciate you coming on and braving the pot. Thank you Christelle,

Christelle Govender 45:06
second time. Time. Let that go. So this is the second time that we're recording this because Joe forgot to press record. So we did an entire podcast that was not recorded. That was not second time.

Joe Newbert 45:27
I was so bleak. But I was very grateful for your graciousness when I broke the news to you that the guy had not recorded not not not my happiest moment at all. And I'm glad you've left I'd actually totally forgotten that you're gonna bring that up. I'm glad you left it to the end because only the hardcore who listened through to this point will actually get that reached this point. Awesome. Cheers Christelle. Thanks, Joe. Cheers. Bye

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About Christelle Govender

Christelle Govender (/in/christelle-govender-198b61136/) is a Senior Business Analyst with the Spar Group. She has served as an IIBA-SA volunteer and a track chair for the BA Summit South Africa. Christelle is recognised as a conference speaker, has presented on multiple webinars for the business analysis and project management profession and published articles in industry magazines. 

About Joe Newbert

Joe Newbert (/in/joenewbert) is is a consultant, a writer, a speaker, but above all, a teacher. As Chief Training Officer at Business Change Academy, he delivers some of the best business analysis training on the planet. He co-authored the original IIBA® Business Analysis Competency Model and served as Non-Executive Director on the IIBA® South Africa Strategy Board. Joe is Showrunner at the business analysis podcast network OneSixEight FM as well as Editor-In-Chief at the Inter-View Report. And he also writes in fits and starts at Newbert's Blog.

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