SNAPPED: Company-X business analyst and professional photographer Dave Kooker.

Being a senior business analyst is like being an accomplished photographer. You get to see the big picture and focus in on what really matters.

I started working as a Business Analyst in 2001, documenting business processes and software through analysis of data.

I have 32 years of photography experience and elevated my photography skillset to a professional level 12 years ago.

Capturing the relevant requirements for a software development project is like pointing the camera to focus on the action of a bird of prey approaching its target. You treat your interactions with wildlife with healthy respect to get the best results. I embrace that same principle with my clients.

Mother Nature gives us two eyes, two ears, and one mouth. To maximise our life’s experience and to interact well with others, we should observe and listen twice as much as we speak. My observations of wildlife confirm this. Animals only make noise when it is necessary. Hours of observation of birds of prey flight taught me to watch the bird’s pectoral muscles and not merely track the bird’s motion. Understanding the bird’s pectoral muscle angle tells me the bird’s intended flight pattern, giving me precious microseconds to react and better track the bird and, ultimately, taking a better photograph.

The same behaviour is applied to my clients and how, as a business analyst, I can ensure I understand what they are really asking for. Was the statement they just made a basis for their problem, a statement of frustration about their problem, a nice to have, or something else? Understanding the demeanour of how the message is conveyed to me gives a good indication of what the client is expecting. Business requirements are drafted at a level the client understands then at a level the developer understands. The two versions convey the same message.

A good wildlife photographer projects trust. The wild animal senses you mean no harm and comes closer. The same reassurance is conveyed to the client who feels assured that the job that I perform for them will be done with due diligence and to their satisfaction.

In photography I enjoy framing the image and guiding the viewer to see exactly what I am trying to convey. Several people could stand at a waterfall and describe it differently. When I point my camera at the waterfall and frame the picture others see the same as me. That is the power of photography. Using that same visual principle, I show my clients what I have captured from the documented business requirements, including illustrations. The visual presentation provides an excellent starting point for the client. A visual confirmation avoids customer differences during the lifecycle of the project. It is a win-win for both the customer and Company-X.