Teaching and Training: Common Challenges Faced By a Business Analyst


"You teach best what you most need to learn". I love this quote by Richard Bach and firmly believe in it. It is the teacher or trainer who needs to keep himself or herself updated and learning so that one can give back the best. As BABOK® also has identified, a business analyst needs to have and develop teaching skills as well.

Think about the following related situations

  • As a lead business analyst, you need to train the team of business analysts who are freshers in this role.
  • When a business analyst needs to training the end-users or domain SMEs on how to use the solution.
  • When a business analyst needs to explain the features to developers and QA teams.
  • Or it could be a formal business analysis training or exam preparation training.

We may not use the exact word 'teaching' but it is implicit. So, what are the common challenges and what are the solutions? Let's take a look.

Never Stop Learning - Business Analyst

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Heterogeneous Audience

In this situation, due to some constraint or the other, a business analyst needs to teach a heterogeneous group of participants. Each group thus has a set of sub-groups. Each sub-group has a different set of experience levels, skills as well as expectations. Unlike a requirements workshop, wherein you do need to have different kinds of stakeholders together, this is a training session. It can get to be a real challenge to meet the expectations of each of these sub-groups.

Solution? As far as possible, ensure that the group you are going to train is on the same page. Ensure that the participants have similar expectations. If it is tough to find such a common ground, then what we can do is to list the top 3 expectations from each sub-group at the very onset. Then ensure throughout the sessions, you are taking care of different expectations by asking different questions to each sub-group or giving them explanations that are tailored to their requirements. If possible, also ensure that the hands-on activities are arranged accordingly.

Keeping the Participants Engaged

This has been in general a common consideration for any speaker or teacher. It is about sustaining the interest of the audience. Sometimes the training or teaching sessions can get disengaging or monotonous or alike. The topic at hand may not be exciting, to begin with. To some, it may be hard to understand. To some, it may not be something they can relate to.

Solution? Use common learning methods such as VAK (Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic). Use those in multifold ways to get the concepts more clear. Also, storytelling is one of the best ways in which we all connect the best and learn. A dash of good humour doesn't hurt either.

Balance of Theory and Real Life

Another challenge as I see is how to strike a balance of theory and practical. We do need to understand the fundamentals to be able to apply those in real-life situations. At the same time, we must teach theory or fundamentals. The real-world may not be as idealistic as theory sounds. Many of the business analysis techniques have evolved from real-world patterns. If you get into practical aspects without explaining the fundamentals, it is an issue. If you only focus on the theory with the least practical, then again there is a miss.

Solution? The answer may look simple yet difficult practice. We need to continue to alternate between the two. Starting with fundamentals always helps. Backing it by suitable real-life or practical work (hands-on sessions, demos) is a must. We need to continue to connect those dots after covering all the related theories. Starting with simple hands-on activities helps as compared to starting with complex work. Again, it all depends on your target audience.

The key is "Never Stop Learning"!


Swati PitreAuthor: Swati Pitre, CBAP®, is Sr. Business Analyst 

Sr. Business Analyst, Consultant and Trainer with 20+ years of industry experience across various domains and geographies. Recognized by clients as a valued member of business and technology teams, with a proven track record of delivering artifacts and solutions of high quality. Recognized by participants as a highly effective and hands-on trainer and coach. Self-starter, process-oriented, and creative with unique problem-solving skills.

Her specialities include Process Improvement, BPM, Predictive Analytics, Product Development, Quality, and Governance. She undertakes various training courses such as CBAP®/CCBA®/ECBA® Prep Courses, Comprehensive BA Job oriented Course, Agile BA Course, and several other customized courses.

She is also a public speaker and has completed Level 3 of Effective Coaching Pathway at Toastmasters International. She is a yoga and fitness enthusiast with varied hobbies include reading, writing, art, travelling and music.

LinkedIn: Swati Pitre, CBAP® | LinkedIn



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