8 tips from Paul Newman on being a Business Analyst


Paul Newman, – actor, film director, entrepreneur, professional racing driver, auto racing team owner, and auto racing enthusiast, and … Business Analyst guru.

What?!! BA Guru? 

Yep…draw closer and I’ll tell you why…

Paul Newman was president of “The Actor’s Studio” from 1982 till 1994. In the second ever episode of “Inside The Actors Studio“, Paul Newman was the guest. He spoke clearly and passionately about his career, and his craft.

And what he said can be applied to the profession of Business Analyst…

1. Working with others gave him the opportunity to join The Actors Studio – It was because he was helping someone audition for The Actors Studio that he as invited to join himself.

Translation: Working with others can be invaluable, and can create new opportunities.

2. He learnt a lot by observing others. – Paul picked up a lot about his trade from watching others, and learning.

Translation: Every Business Analyst can learn from other Business Analysts. We all have skills that have come from unique experiences.

3. He goes back to the Studio to continually improve, and to work on his faults. -He is not an intuitive actor. Paul is always concerned about his own performance. He considers himself as “just tenacious”, and keeps on trying.

Translation: Continual learning, and improving is essential. Being able to identify your weak areas, and work on them is important.

4. Did a lot of work identifying his skills.

Translation: look at yourself, and asses where your strengths are with regards business analysis. You might be better at eliciting requirements from stakeholders through interviews, and workshops than you are at creating business process models. Don’t be afraid to use your strengths (while working on improving other areas).

5. Rehearsal is important to him. – Paul likes to prepare for the scene. He always wants to ensure that the team works smoothly and efficiently.

Translation; Preparation ensures that things go smoothly. If things go smoothly, it means a happy Project Manager, and a happy client. 

6. Good Communication skills – During the interview Paul was very engaging. His communication style was very good.

Translation; Communication skills make the difference when engaging with stakeholders from all levels. Use a simple language, and be clear, Be engaging.

7. Started off with no real “him” – Paul stated that, in the beginning, he was just a collection of “bits of characters” – it was through a series of experiences that he was able to “define himself”.

Translation – A strong Business Analyst is confident in his, or her, capabilities. Don’t try to be something that you are not. Clients want conviction when talking with a Business Analyst.

8. Developed a short-hand with Directors he had worked with for a long time. – Paul claimed that he had worked with some Directors for long enough that they knew what each other wanted without having to explain it.

Translation: Get to know the members of your team, or at lest the Project Manager. The better you understand each other the better the communication.
So – there you have it. While discussing his craft, and his career, Paul Newman made several good points that can be applied to the profession of a Business Analyst. In fact, not just a Business Analyst. They can be applied to almost anything…