What’s your 5-year career plan?

A woman holding up a clipboard with a calendar in front of her chest

It is a truth universally acknowledged that project requirements have a tendency to balloon-up and, if left unchecked, can cause downstream issues in cost, time or quality of the end deliverable.

As a Business Analyst - the conduit between the business stakeholders and the product development team - one of the best things you can do to monitor scope creep is meticulously maintain a requirements traceability matrix.

As per the BABoK (Business Analysis Book of Knowledge), requirement traceability is “the ability to identify and document the lineage of each requirement, including its derivation (backward traceability), its allocation (forward traceability), and its relationship to other requirements.”

This exercise of creating and maintaining a traceability matrix ensures that the end deliverable always ties back to the original business goal(s), and that time, effort and resources are not wasted on activities that provide little or no value in meeting goals.

But what on earth does any of it have to do with your career goals?

Actually, quite a lot.

Just think about all the activities, courses, workshops, seminars, and conferences you’ve attended with the vague hope that it will somehow help further your career. And while I’ll grant that no learning is truly wasted, a more focused approach to picking and choosing the activities that directly tie back to your overarching career goals is probably a more efficient use of your time, effort and energy.

A couple of years ago, I came across a great article about charting your career goals using a simple tool — a calendar. Specifically, a multi-year calendar.

What’s different about this approach is the tactical focus on planning, preparing and meeting deadlines while still keeping the big picture in view.

The article is rooted in academia but the concept itself is easily applicable to any field.

Here is the original post: Why You Need a 5-Year Plan

And the follow-up post: In Response to Popular Demand, More on the 5-Year Plan

unsplash-logoBrooke Lark