Message from Your Chapter President - January 2022

thinker                                                      President's Message

Great Translation is One Key to a Successful Project

Greetings and Happy New Year to you and your family. I hope you are staying safe and healthy. Alberta’s extremely cold weather has been challenging and I am sure you welcome the warm reprieve. Linda and I were fortunate to escape the cold during a quick trip to Mexico. We certainly enjoyed the warmth, highlighted by the 60 degree Celsius difference between home and our destination.

The most basic and key role of any Business Analyst is to capture, translate and interpret needs of customers. This skill is not limited to Business Analysts and is used regularly in our everyday communications. I want to share a few observations I made on my trip regarding communication, translation and fulfilling expectations.

My first observation occurred while dining, as our server’s mother tongue is Spanish while the menu was in English. The server interpreted our meal requests from English to Spanish and passed along the translated information to the kitchen. As business analysts we must elicit the needs and requirements from the stakeholders in a language they understand.

The second translation happened between the wait staff and the chefs. Then the chef, having received the order, is responsible for translating into individual tasks in order to prepare the dish. Similarly, Business Analysts translate captured requirements to a technical team who will work on the solution to fulfill those needs.

The third translation that we encountered was a coffee cultural difference. When ordering our morning cup of coffee, Linda would order a cappuccino but received a latte. I would order a latte but always received a cappuccino. Rather than making any fuss, we would swap drinks and were very happy to enjoy our morning cups of coffee. After this happened repeatedly even with different servers, I decided to investigate the mix up with the wait staff. I learned that their understanding was different to ours and according to them there was no mix up at all. As business analysts, we need to confirm with the stakeholders that our deliverables are in line with the customers’ expectations and correctly meet their needs.

I am sure we have all encountered challenges translating during the various stages of managing requirements similar to what I have described. You must always be aware of your audience in order to effectively communicate using terms that suit the end user stakeholders and the technical team. With practice and assistance from your peers, you will be able to provide great translation to both parties.

If you’re struggling to find the right kind of support, one place you might find that assistance is to become involved in the mentorship program that is very successful in our chapter. Please check out the details regarding the Mentorship Program here.

In closing, I would like to keep you up to date regarding some of the IIBA© Calgary Chapter happenings. This month the leadership team is meeting to finish off 2022 planning work that started with the Board of Directors in December. I also wanted to highlight a very insightful event that we are cosponsoring with the IIBA© Bluegrass Chapter, on January 20th. I am sure it will be highly beneficial to you in your business analysis profession.

      Thank you,


Reg Cracknell,