There are many organizations that offer Business Analysis training today. As a solution provider that provides training services, we are frequently asked about what differentiates our offering from the vast amount of offerings publicly available. Let me explain.
Cardinal Solutions’ Business Analysis Foundations (BAF) program has been structured to meet the needs of each business analyst based upon their level of experience. The fresh faced college graduate with the MIS degree has a very different skillset and experience level than a mid-level BA. They are still learning what business analysis is and what their role entails. The mid-level BA typically understands their discipline and role but is looking for ways to deal with specific situations and for tools and best practices they can use to improve their capabilities. Then there is the senior BA. They are looking for ways to grow as a leader within the discipline but also help their organization grow and deliver better solutions for the business. The way our BAF program is structured allows the varying needs of each of those individuals to be met.
Our BAF program has three levels, Junior BA, Mid-Level BA and Advanced/Senior BA tracks. The Junior and Mid-Level BA tracks each contain a 2-day boot-camp designed to provide an overview of topics geared towards their specific needs. Both tracks also contain 1-day courses zeroing in on a specific topic from the boot-camp providing total immersion to learn best practices and build skills. The Advanced/Senior BA track contains 1-day courses designed to hone in topics such requirements management, estimating and enterprise analysis. These are areas that typically require experience in order to attain and maintain success within an organization.
By breaking the courses into varying tracks participants are able to learn at their own pace and glean knowledge without feeling overwhelmed.
2. Content and Format
Each of the classes within the BAF program hit upon the various knowledge areas that are discussed within IIBA’s BABOK. The Introductory, Intermediate and 5-Day boot-camps contain multiple knowledge areas. The 1-day courses focus on a specific knowledge area but also include dives into the competency skills that are so often glossed over in most training courses, specifically the soft skills so important to any successful business analyst.
But don’t think of this program as a “brain dump for CBAP certification”. While the courses hit heavily on all of the knowledge areas within the BABOK, they are not just geared towards memorizing topics and buzzwords so participants can go take a certification test. Using a combination of instructor-led lecture and hands-on workshop format, participants are provided with not only “here’s what the BABOK says”, but also best practices and tools that can be applied in real world situations. Participants are encouraged to engage in discussion and to also share their experiences. It is this environment that leads to real learning.
3. Professional Development
Most adults approach training with the thought of “what’s in it for me”. Everyone is busy and that is just a fact of life. If you are going to invest the time it needs to be something that will provide benefit. It is inherently important that any type of training be practical and something that can be put to good use. Our training accomplishes that on two levels. First, everything in the courses can be applied in a participant’s day-to-day, although obviously you may not go back and implement everything the next day. Most organizations do not make change in a revolutionary manner, but tend to be more evolutionary. Slowly over time standards and best practices can be incorporated improving participants’ capabilities, making them better professionals and ultimately ensuring better delivery.
Second, certifications are also important to one’s professional development. They push us to learn and improve through the experience and studying required in achieving them. Each of the courses within the BAF program has been certified by IIBA for credit. These credits can be used for individuals applying for certification as well as by those who are certified and need continuing education credits to maintain their accreditation.
The courses have also been certified by PMI. This was done for two reasons. First, there are a significant number of BAs who have either their PMP or wish to obtain that certification. Second, while this course speaks specifically to the discipline of business analysis, it can also be a significant benefit to project managers. By helping them understand the requirements process, we believe the project manager and the business analyst can better work together as a team to ensure end project success.
And finally…instructors can make or break a class…
Cardinal Solutions does not believe in the approach where facilitators lead classes. All of our instructors are subject matter experts who live and breathe the material they are covering in the class room. They are seasoned and they have “been there, done that”. The goal is for them to be able to mentor and coach people, not just lecture. By working in the field for the topics they are teaching, they can establish instant credibility in the classroom with the participants.
But it isn’t just about being a subject matter expert; it is also about classroom presence. We have all seen “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off “ and probably had the “Bueller….Bueller” instructor. At Cardinal our goal is that everyone leaves the class with a great experience. That means our instructors must be more than subject matter experts. They need to connect, engage, and be adaptable…much like any good business analyst.
We achieve this by putting our instructors through a rigorous process. Once they are deemed a subject matter expert, they sit through the course they are slotted to teach to get a feel for how the material is laid out and how it is being presented. They are then put through a series of dry runs to ensure they are comfortable with the topic and can present well. Once they pass muster, they are put in the classroom. But our evaluations don’t end there. We not only take and apply student feedback, we also monitor and audit our courses to ensure that our instructors stay at the top of their game. I mean let’s face it, our instructors are the face of Cardinal Solutions and if we can’t build that credibility with you in the classroom, then how can we expect to build that credibility with you while on assignment.
In the end, it is all about building best in class material and having best in class subject matter experts deliver it. If you are interested in learning more, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org