Use Your Common Sense

Author: Geri Schneider Winters

In the context of the BA role, I see so much published on the internet that is just nonsense. How can you know who to believe and what to trust?

You have to trust in your own experience and common sense.

  • If something seems reasonable, some technique or process, then try it for yourself, and judge the results.
  • If it does not seem reasonable, then it might be the wrong thing for you in that situation.
  • If you do not have the experience to judge, then find someone else with more experience and ask his or her opinion.

Having said that, I also want to encourage you to keep an open mind. Something that seems reasonable, but that does not work today, might be just the right thing in a new situation. Re-evaluate what you know in the context of the current job, the current project.

I love this quote from over 2000 years ago:

“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”
Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.

When have you trusted your judgment, tried something new, and it worked? What about the times where it did not work? In a new situation, have you applied something that did not work before and had it work for you in that new situation?

This entry was posted in Tips for Business Analysts, Tips for Business Analysts on by .

About Geri Schneider Winters

Geri Schneider Winters is the primary author of the popular Use Case book "Applying Use Cases: A Practical Guide" and the founder of Wyyzzk, Inc. She has over 25 years experience spanning the software development lifecycle. Geri has learned her craft working with folks such as Grady Booch, Jim Rumbaugh, Ivar Jacobson, Walker Royce, Scott Ambler, Warren Woodford, Philippe Kruchten, and Kendall Scott, along with many less well known, but equally talented, people. Geri has worked in many companies in many industries, including IBM, Boeing, Lockheed, Adobe, Intuit, Delta Dental, United Healthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Money Store, Charles Schwab, The Federal Reserve Bank, Visa International, USAA, Stanford University, University of California, Carnegie Mellon University, HiLCoE College, Agilent, Knights Technology, Deloitte and Touche, Safeway, and Coca-Cola Enterprises.

2 thoughts on “Use Your Common Sense

  1. Craig Brown

    The quote gives bad advice in the context of our complex modern world. The main flaw is that so many people have been so strongly separated from their instincts in so many ways – by two industrial strength problems; marketing and bureaucracy.

    Marketing has taught us to believe too many lies and so we second guess things that are self evident. Witness racism, sexism, fear of refugees and so on. Even the need to use deodorant…

    Bureaucracy is a machine that whittles away at people’s free will in order to optimize an extant system. People lose faith in their own decision making ability in this context. Corporations are almost always bureaucracies and so many of us work there.

    So maybe analysts should instead focus their energies on learning their craft from experts in a master-apprentice fashion and augment that with learning from reputable sources such as universities and reputable experts.

    What do you think?

  2. admin Post author

    Hi Craig –

    Thanks for the great, thoughtful comments!

    I agree about BA’s learning their craft from experts and other reputable sources. I think there is a lot of very good and even excellent training easily available. The hard part for most people is figuring who the experts and reputable sources are!

    What I see is that companies are not paying for much training anymore. They are throwing people into the job and not providing training. Recent US surveys (I do not have them handy but they can be found online) indicate that companies are paying for about 40 hours (5 days) of training a year. This includes their required safety and security training, diversity training, possibly regulatory training, and leaves very little time for training in the professional field.

    I do not see many people stepping up and paying for the training themselves, possibly because they want their companies to pay for it. And so they are browsing the internet looking at whatever material they can find that is free, and do not know what is good, what is bad.

    I appealed to “common sense”. What other measures can people use to evaluate the information that are finding?

    Anyone is welcome to contribute to the conversation. 🙂


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