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Business Analysis Blueprint

Ana Duncan, IIBA Kansas City Technical Director

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect the perspectives of IIBA.

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As Technical Director of IIBA Kansas City, Ana Duncan knows firsthand the value of connecting with the business analysis community. Having started out in the IT field, she says volunteering with her local IIBA chapter was the best career move she ever made—and one that continues to pay dividends.

For our very first Business Analysis Blueprint profile, we chatted with Ana to find out how she pivoted to business analysis, her advice for newcomers to the profession, and the benefits of IIBA certification.

How did you first get involved or interested in business analysis?

I had been doing Java software development for more than 15 years. I reached a point where I forgot what it was like to enjoy my career. Eventually, it dawned on me that I wasn’t using the skills that most aligned with my personality. From that point on I started researching other areas within IT that were interesting enough for me, which led me to business analysis.

It wasn’t long before I contacted Tamara Copple, the sitting IIBA Kansas City president at that time. She explained business analysis to me, and I couldn’t have been more excited. She invited me to a few chapter meetings, and I soon decided to join IIBA.

After that, everything started making sense to me. I became fascinated with the business analysis profession. The rest, as they say, is history.

What is your current role and what does a typical day look like?

I am currently serving as the IIBA Kansas City Technology Director, a volunteer position. I took it on because I wanted to gain experience in a safe environment and connect with seasoned business analysts. As it turns out it was the best decision I ever made, career-wise.

In my role as Technical Director, I take care of the chapter's website, participate in chapter and leadership meetings, and regularly contribute ideas on technology. Whenever the chapter needs new software, for example, I often help to acquire it.

How has certification impacted your responsibilities, interactions with stakeholders, or your ability to drive successful projects.

I think having an IIBA certification is crucial, especially when you are new to the profession! I see more and more employers asking for that in lieu of actual business analysis experience. If you can combine it with experience, though, it puts you in the best position possible to see a project through successfully.

How have you benefited from IIBA membership?

Being a member of a professional organization has had such an impact on my life. I always look forward to interacting with my Kansas City business analysts, who make me a better professional. By attending the chapter/leadership meeting, I gain so much knowledge about business analysis techniques, soft skills, networking, and even tech skills.

Community participation has taught me to process information in a different way than I used to, using a much broader perspective. Before joining IIBA, I had tunnel vision.

How do you continue to enhance your skills and knowledge after getting certified?

For me, the best way is by volunteering with the Kansas City Chapter. But this can apply to any form of participation with your local professional community.

I always ask my fellow business analysts for advice and observe how they run things during meetings. Being part of the leadership team helps me stay motivated and on top of my game.

What advice would you give to business analysts who are just starting out in the field?

First, try to find out if this profession really is for you. Research it thoroughly and regularly attend chapter meetings. Second, be persistent and optimistic—even a small dose of positive thinking can go a long way. Third, study your tail off and always maintain a humble attitude!

Lastly, I would encourage any up-and-comer to take the ECBA certification exam. It really helps you understand business analysis concepts, which in turn will do wonders for your job search down the road.

Which famous figure, living or historical, would you want to have dinner with?  

I really love and admire Michelle Obama, who is incredibly humble and positive. She has worked hard to empower women toward a brighter future.


Know someone who is making an impact as a business analysis professional? Reach out to to have them featured in IIBA’s next Business Analysis Blueprint.

About the Author:
Robert McClements_.jpg

Robert McClements is the Communications and Media Relations Specialist at IIBA®. With over six years of communications experience at non-governmental organizations, he contributes to IIBA’s marketing and communications efforts in support of the business analysis profession and community. Now residing in his hometown of Montreal, Robert enjoys spending time with his family, listening to music, and reading.   

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