Join Haydn Thomas for an in-depth discussion in this video Four levels of competency, part of Insights from a Business Analyst.
As a business analyst, there are times where you're going to have to go and speak to a stakeholder, and truly understand the knowledge and experience that they have, so that you can then work out what level of detail is needed to take that information to the next step. One of the best approaches I use is what I call the four levels of competency. This is where, at the very beginning, you become what is called unconsciously incompetent. This is where you don't know, what you don't know. This is where you want to go spend some time analyzing, doing some background information.
That will then take you to the next quadrant, and that is basically becoming conscious of your incompetence. Now you know, you don't know. That's a great place to be as a business analyst, because it then starts shaping the type of questions you're going to be asking your stakeholders, so that you can get the right information from them. When you get to the next level where it's called, conscious competence, now you know, you know. That's a great place to be because you've gathered the information, you know how it all fits together, and how to actually move it forward. Then you get to this wonderful place called, unconscious competence, where you do things, but you don't why you do it.
It's almost like you've done it so often that it becomes a habit. What we find is business analysts, is that sometimes, depending on where you are, in those four quadrants, is you will determine the amount of detail, and the amount of effort that is required to be able to gather the right information. As part of that, I want to make sure that if we get to this level of - As an example, how many steps are there in starting a car? If you're up at this unconscious competence level, most people would be saying, somewhere between five to seven steps. Why? You just unlock the car, you jump in, you put your foot on the accellerator, you kick it over and off you go.
Whereas, if you've never driven a car before, so you're back in this unconscious incompetence level, there is over 153 steps to actually starting a car. This is where you actually have to identify the remote, you need to work out which button to press. From that, you need to come work out which door to go and open. How do you physically open the door? As you open the door, you need to step back. Once again, we take all these steps and depending on where the organization is, and how much knowledge and experience they have, will determine, as a business analyst, what level of detail you need to go into, so you can actually create the solution that meets their needs.