A look at “A Navigator to Business Analysis”

The cover of "A Navigator to Business Analysis"

A review of “A Navigator To Business Analysis”

I’m a Business Analyst, I’ve got my CBAP certification from the IIBA, and I’ve got a few scars. So when I saw that Sergey Korban had a new book out, I decided to give it a critical look. 

What is it?

“A Navigator to Business Analysis” is the latest book from Sergey Korban (Aotea Studios). 

In the words of the book itself:

This book is for everyone who wants to either start a business analysis career or would like to learn practical tips and tricks to get the job done in an effective way.

 

My “first glance” impressions

Did I read the book thoroughly when I first got it? No. I looked for clues to see how valuable this book would be for a Business Analyst,

I looked for clues to see how valuable this book would be or a Business Analyst. I scanned the Table of Contents, I looked at the headings, and I scanned through the diagrams.

Subject Matter Indicators

The title is “A Navigator To Business Analysis“. This is a good start.  I have never seen the word “Navigator” used in this way before, but it told me to expect a lot of guidance.

Further in, I saw this quote

A guided tour into a terra incognita is better than a journey there on your own...

This was another sign that the author has a good idea what the purpose of their book is. They haven’t just vomited words on the paper and bundled it up.

Breadth of content

Consisting of 400 pages, the book is divided into three parts, each of which contains several modules.

The parts are:

  • Part 1 – “Business Analysis“,
  • Part 2 – “Beyond Business Analysis“, and
  • Part 3 – “Build Up Your Value
Contents of A Navigator to Business Analysis

An overview of the contents of “A Navigator to Business Analysis”

That gave me a good overview, and I was excited to see (yep – I’m a BA geek)  the contents of the Beyond Business Analysis modules. It’s good to see these domains listed.

Flicking through each module, I scanned the titles, and the sub-titles, and looked at the diagrams. This was dangerous as I often found myself stopping because Sergey was covering material that I did want to get into more. My goal, at this stage, however, was to NOT read the content.

Charts and Diagrams

Sergey has filled “A Navigator to Business Analysis” with a lot of charts and diagrams that illustrate further what he has written.

Even on their own, these are incredibly valuable. (I suggest you check out the website for Aotea Studios where you can download several great BA related charts).

(Note – their change management chart was included in the book Project Management for Healthcare by David Shirley)

Practical Advise, Practical Tools, and Additional Reading

Scattered (generously) through the pages, Sergey has included: Practical Advice icons, Practical Tools icons, and Additional Reading icons.

A Navigator to Business Analysis Practical Advice icon      A Navigator to Business Analysis Practical Tools icon       A Navigator to Business Analysis- Additional Reading icon

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When the Practical Advice icon is visible on a page, there is also accompanying text that relates to the contents of the page. As with the Charts and Diagrams, if this was the only text that you read on each page, you will learn a lot.

The Practical Tools icon can be seen on pages that contain a useful resource. This includes templates, matrixes, checklists, diagrams, etc. (As discussed above.)

The Additional Reading offers suggestions of material that will supplement the contents of the book.

Thought-provoking Quotes

At several spots through the book, Sergey has included quotes from variAll you need is the plan, the road map and the courage to press on to your destination..ous sources that are relevant to the content at that stage.

For example, in the section
“Business Analysis Lifecycle”:

 

I really liked these. They gave you that little boost of inspiration. (Some of these quotes were even from Aotea Studios).

Revision

Reading through the content and looking at the diagrams, in a book is one thing. Recalling what you have read is another.

At the end of each module, Sergey has included a Revision page. This usually includes a series of questions that prompt you to check whether you can recall what you’ve read.

This is something useful for both newbie BAs and seasoned BAs alike.

Actually making the effort to go through each question, and writing out a detailed answer, would either a) ensure that you truly understand what you have read, and b) you truly understand what you have read. (This works for everything, though,)

 

The Meat of the book (aka – the actual text)

The next step was to actually read what Sergey had written.

Writing Style

The text in “A Navigator to Business Analysis” was, generally, easy to read.

Sergey wrote in an efficient manner without “added fluff”. The opening paragraph would immediately answer the question the reader has – “what is this section, or module about?” The following paragraphs provided more details, often supported by (as mentioned) diagrams, or charts.

The only thing that made it a little bit difficult, for me, was that the typeface is entirely sans serif. (Although there appears to be no evidence that there is a difference between serif and sans serif typeface when it comes to readability.)

Valuable?

Did the material expand my understanding of Business Analysis? Yes.

The field of Business Analysis is something that is still trying to define itself. Sergey takes this into account. The topics in the book cover not only what are considered the “core skills” of a Business Analyst, but also expand upon this to show how, in reality,  Business Analyst interacts, and works, with many other domains in an organisation.

Alignment with BABOK

About a year ago, the IIBA, published their latest edition of the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK). This is often seen as the defining work for Business Analysis work.

Books on Business Analysis should not just repeat, or rehash, what can be read elsewhere. That is, they shouldn’t just be the BABOK using different words.

And this is what impressed me with “The Navigator to Business Analysis”. It aligns with the latest BABOK, while expanding on it, and add insights that 33 years of experience as a BA has given Sergey.

Is there anything wrong with the book?.

While the book is a great resource for Business Analysts, there were two things that bothered me.

  • As already mentioned, the use of sans-serif font for everything made it, for me, a little difficult to read, (This is a personal thing.Others. might not have a problem with it.)
  • When reading a PDF, I always like to use the structured bookmarks. These are the ones that can be displayed on the left side of Adobe Reader (for example). They allow me to get an overview of the layout of the book, as well as easily navigating to a particular section. “A Navigator in Business Analysis” didn’t contain logical bookmarks.
    (Sergey has told me that this is something that they are working on improving).

 

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Would I recommend this book?

Yes. Most definitely.

I found the book to be extremely valuable. As I mentioned above, the Business Analysis profession is still being defined. “A Navigator to Business Analysis” gave me an excellent understanding of how it worked, how to work in it, and how it fitted into the “bigger picture”.

This book would have been very handy when I first started on my Business Analysis journey.

I recommend checking the book out. On the Aotea Studio website, you can download a sample.  Have a look, and decide for yourself whether this book will be of value to you.

 

Useful Resources