For over two years, I ran and facilitated a “business book club” where we read a whole range of interesting books. Some related directly to business analysis…. some focussed on different (but related) subject matter.
I have listed some of my favourite books below. First there are the core BA books. These are staple reads for Business Analysis practitioners. I have also listed some other relevant books which I found useful or inspirational. I have also included a link to each book on Amazon.co.uk.
Core “BA” books:
A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge(R) (BABOK(R) Guide) v3 -BABOK provides a useful framework, and this is a book I keep at my desk side.
Business Analysis: Third Edition – This is a staple read for BAs. This book will be of particular interest to anyone studying for the BCS (ISEB) Diploma in Business Analysis, however it is a great “aid memoir” for even the most experienced BA practitioners.
Business Analysis Techniques: 99 Essential Tools for Success – This is a great book to keep at your desk. It acts as a great reminder about some of the useful techniques that are available.
Business Analysis and Leadership: Influencing Change – Covers a range of useful topics beyond core BA techniques, including how to lead change, deal with tricky stakeholders and much, much more.
Business Analyst (Careers) – A book that focusses on the business analyst role, charting potential career options, routes in, and the breadth and depth of the role. Includes a range of short case studies charting the career path of different BA practitioners.
Other relevant books:
Be A Great Problem Solver: Now! – (I may be biassed as I wrote this book!) A practical, concise book that provides a useful framework for solving tricky problems. When writing this book, I aimed to make this useful for BAs and non-BAs alike
Why its relevant for BAs: A core part of business analysis is understanding the root causes of problems, and formulating potential solutions. This book provides practical tips for how to engage stakeholders in the problem solving process, and how to create a concise yet precise 1-page summary of the problem situation.
Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable – This is an absolutely fantastic book which outlines the need for organisations to be different. I am a big fan of Seth Godin’s work, and I highly recommend this book.
Why it’s relevant for BAs: We’ll often work on projects which involve new product launches – this book provides a new lens to view product development, and can also provide a new way to think about an individual’s career.
Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t – Whilst the economic landscape has changed significantly since this book was written, it still provides a useful insight into what makes a company successful. It is thoroughly researched, and distills its findings into accessible and memorable themes.
Why it’s relevant for BAs: There are some interesting theories which relate to how strategy is formed and articulated, this is extremely useful to consider when conducting Enterprise Analysis and/or when working in the early stages of a project.
Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness – This book focuses on influence, and in particular how it is possible to ‘nudge’ people towards taking the right action.
Why it’s relevant for BAs: Within the Business Analysis community, we often need to use influencing skills, and this book provides a useful and different way of looking at things.
Made to Stick: Why some ideas take hold and others come unstuck – This is an excellent book that examines the theory behind “sticky” ideas. Why is it that people remember urban legends more than government health warnings? Anyone who ever needs to give a presentation, communicate to a group of stakeholders, or create a convincing and memorable argument should read this book!
Why it’s relevant for BAs: Presenting and communicating ideas is a core part of the BA role. Getting people’s attention can be difficult, and this book provides some excellent theories, ideas and examples.
Getting Things Done: How to Achieve Stress-free Productivity – This book causes division… some people love it, some people hate it! In this book, David Allen describes a detailed methodology for avoiding procrastination and ensuring that you are as productive as possible. I was sceptical… but having implemented some of the suggestions in this book I have gone from leaving work every week with 100+ e-mail sitting in my inbox unactioned, to less than 10…. and I’ve sustained this for 6 months (and counting!)
Why it’s relevant for BAs: Juggling the commitments of projects can be difficult, and the methodology described in this book can help!
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