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Today, I’d like to talk about what makes us valuable as requirements analysts. As a young professional in this industry, I’ve devoted a fair amount of time to contemplating this topic. Initially, I believed my value was derived from things like taking initiative, attempting to produce flawless deliverables, being prepared for any question I might be asked, etc. Without a doubt, these are worthwhile things for anyone to contribute to their work environment. That said, I eventually realized that my endeavors, though practical, were ultimately secondary to my true value – my ability to learn.

It’s clear that the ability to write good requirements is contingent upon being able to learn the given subject matter in a timely manner. In fact, that reality is so obvious and so fundamental as to be easily forgotten when we are inevitably confronted with more complex/conspicuous obligations like the ones I discussed above. For the most part, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

The issue arises when we begin to attribute our sole source of value to meeting those complex/conspicuous obligations. An excessive preoccupation with our output does not embolden us to learn. Instead, it drives us to try producing quality work without establishing the necessary foundation first. Truly, that is a disservice to all involved.

As professional learners, we must not be afraid to slow down and think. Even more, we must recognize that it is not a failing to be (temporarily) ignorant/misinformed/flat out wrong. If anything, those are some of the best opportunities for us to gather the information we need from our subject matter experts. It’s easier for a SME to correct something that isn’t right than it is for them to try to recall all potentially relevant information in a vacuum.

Every now and then, I think it’s helpful for us to take a moment and remember where our true value lies. In so doing, we can ensure that we maintain the perspective we need to be as effective as possible.

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