4 June 2008

Online Business Analyst Communities

Sixty five analysts completed the May 08 survey on this site about which online community sites are being used.

(Several respondents visit more than once site.)

Here are the results;

Modern Analyst 39 (60%)

BA Times 22 (33%)

MyCatalyze 15 (23%)

Requirements Networking Group 12 (18%)

Other 5 (7%)

None 2 (3%)

If you were one of the people who answered “Other” let me know in the comments which site you are visiting and I’ll take a look myself.

What are my thoughts on this?

Well, I have to say I have been pretty active at the MA forums for a while, but I stayed quiet there during May. I also went to all sites listed and peppered their forums with comments and questions so that there was a reasonable even spread during the survey period.

Overwhelmingly MA came out ahead.

It’s not surprising. When you have a look at the discussion forums you’ll see that there is an active community asking questions and sharing knowledge.

MyCatalyze and RQNG forums are sparse but live and BA Times was as quiet as a ghost town. RQNG and BATimes do have active discussions attached to their blogs and articles. My Catalyse also runs well attended webinars.

That’s not to say these other sites are not worth visiting.

For example RQNG has a very active series of discussions attached to their blogs, MyCatalyze runs a regular series of online events and BA times publishes regular articles. Each have their own style and strengths.

They also have their own niche in the BA community.

Modern Analyst has a wide range of participants, but is particular friendly for junior BAs seeking support and help in their roles. MA might also be seen as the more IT centric of these sites.

RQNG has serious discussions about what I would call advanced topics and is more targeted at the seasoned professional. RQNG is also biased towards agile style developments whereas the other sites are a bit more neutral, towards methodology.

MyCatalyze has a strong web and design element, as it also caters for usability professionals.

BA Times has some interesting stuff, but seems to suffer from a lack of focus on any particular niche.

All of these sites are built on off-the-shelf community platforms and include basic features like membership, newsletters, blogs for members, feature articles, libraries of many, many articles, and discussion forums. I personally gauge a site’s by the activity on the forums, and MA definitely beats out the others on this front. (I already said that, didn’t I?)

So, what to do? Don’t take my recommendation. Go look at them all. Subscribe to their RSS feeds for a while and see what comes through.

The one thing I think you should do is join at least one and “share, learn, network.” (Thanks for the tagline, Tom)

One last thing: Click on the picture for a larger version to read the sign.

Picture by Skip the Filler (CC) at Flickr

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