A Discussion with Terry Giancroce and What Excited Him About Being a Business Analyst

A business professional with a proven track record in Business Analysis/Project Management, Terry Giancroce has a knack to successfully lead client facing projects, oversee testing strategies and change initiatives. That’s because he is a staunch believer of “The Customer Comes First” philosophy. The Toronto, Ontario native, with a Certified Scrum Master and Certified Business Analyst […]

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Terry Giancroce
Terry Giancroce

A business professional with a proven track record in Business Analysis/Project Management, Terry Giancroce has a knack to successfully lead client facing projects, oversee testing strategies and change initiatives. That’s because he is a staunch believer of “The Customer Comes First” philosophy. The Toronto, Ontario native, with a Certified Scrum Master and Certified Business Analyst Professional designation to his credit, learned this while attending Seneca College’s Business Administration program and working at a major Toronto clothing retail store. There he honed his craft of listening to customer needs and working with them to create a solution, hence satisfying the customer.

Away from work, Terry relaxes by playing drums for two bands (SurgaRush, and The Rural Jurors). He also stays active by playing hockey and tennis. Terry also volunteers as a soccer coach for a local soccer club.

Why did you decide to go into IT/Business Analysis?

I fell into the industry when I got out of college.  I was working part time as an underwriter and decided it would be a good fit.  That is basically how I got into it.  I see myself as a problem solver and a good facilitator of diverse input.  Well working as an underwriter I found I had a knack for business process working and how it related to the front line of the business (customer interface).

What trends in your industry excite you?

One of the things that really excites me is the increasing adoption of new technology. More specifically Mobile applications. We’ve seen in the first half of this year, an extreme dependency on mobile applications, an extreme dependency on functionality built in to mobile applications. In the past this might have cripples some companies but now with this technology the transition for some has been seamless and I love being a part of making that happen for my clients.  Also, the increasing usage of analytics and analytics experts has augmented the role of the Business Analyst. Big data has become such a big factor for companies and how they make decisions and what sort of marketing direction to take.  Those kinds of factors influence the future of business analysis.  We are able to get more data and look at the data differently.  Companies want to know, how is my solution or my product selling in a specific area of the country, what specific city, what type of people are buying the product, what are their incomes like.  They really want finite information in a really quick timeframe.  This is something that was not able to be done 10 or 15 years ago.  BAs help companies by producing reports for them from the data that they have in their systems and to get them the information that helps them make their business decisions, supply and demand to ensure customers and clients are supported.  

What would you tell others looking to get into your industry?

When I came out of college, I had never heard of a business analyst, let alone that this was a career.  Now students have the opportunity to think about a career in business analysis.  I would tell them to validate their interest.  Are you sure you are interested in this?  If the answer is yes, then I would say do some research on what a business analyst does.  Are there any skills that they’ve learned from any previous jobs are transferable to a business analysis role?  If you’ve come to the conclusion that this is what you really want to do, start by learning the fundamentals and get the business analyst accreditations.

What is one thing you would change in your industry today if you could?

The perception by individual business managers is that the business analyst is not required. I’d like to see top business managers understand how the BA integrates all areas of the business. And while each manager may know their area of the company well, it’s up to the BA to determine how changes to their business may or may not impact other areas of the company.  A lot of companies are realizing that.

How has Business Analysis/Project Management changed over the last decade?

If you’re a strong communicator, if you’re a strong collaborator, and have good analysis skills, that will always be the backbone of a strong business analyst. In the last decade, with the changing technology environment, different skills are required today than 10 years ago.  With the ascent of agile methodologies and lean concepts, organizations today are looking for faster solutions. Trends change really quickly and their business needs to change.  Continuous learning becomes part of any good BAs career path.

If you could change 1 thing you did in the beginning of your career what would it be?

Continuous Learning early on in my career. The role of the BA requires a lot of different skills. Facilitation, Public Speaking, all the different technologies. I wish I had that frame of mind at the beginning of my career.

Who has been a role model to you and why?

Someone who was a big influence on me and made a difference in my career was a project manager that I worked with when I was working at an insurance company in Toronto.  She was a great mentor and a great person.  She was a real believer of governance and of the project management methodologies. She encouraged gathering of ideas from multiple sources and encouraged a team philosophy.

How do you maintain a work life balance?

I love to cook! I am an avid tennis player, play hockey. I’m also a drummer in two bands.  Also, anytime I feel frustrated or overwhelmed, I take the time to mediate. I’m a big advocate of stoicism. To keep me grounded I read a passage from the Daily Stoic meditation guide to start off my mornings.

Explain the proudest day of your professional life.

The proudest day of my professional life was when I received feedback for a co-op student that I had mentored. I was proud of receiving the email from her and realizing that I was shaping a future leader.

What has been the hardest obstacle you have overcome?

I used to work in retail at a clothing store for a little bit when I was younger.  There was a situation where the store manager, who was a good friend, was let go.  Suddenly, I had a quick talk with the business manager, and I was promoted into the store manager position which kind of felt awkward.  Soon after that, because of cutbacks I was asked to let another person go as well.  I had never done this before.  I told that person this was the first time I’ve ever had to do this.  It was quite a difficult thing for me to do, but I had to let him go.  That person was very visibly upset and disappointed naturally, but he appreciated my honesty.  He recognized I was only doing my job.  This experience taught me how to deal with the difficult duties that came with the job.  As a matter of fact, we are still friends today, believe it or not.  We stay in contact at least a couple times a year.  We have a lot of similar interests and he has never held a grudge against me. 

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

Never stop learning and treat people with respect.  It’s as simple as that. 

When I first started in insurance as an underwriter, I faced a lot of adversity.  When you get a call about insurance when you’re an underwriter, it’s never about you doing a great job.  It’s always a complaint or something went wrong.  When you’re a young person and you think you’re invincible, you think you can start talking back in response.  But a person took me aside and said, “Hey listen, treat people with respect.  It’s not personal.”  From there on, that’s what I strive to do.  You need to be willing to learn and willing to change the way you do things. 

What does success look like for you?

I have a burning desire in my gut.  I don’t know if I’ve ever reached the feeling of success.  It’s kind of a curse being a consultant in a way.  You never know where your next opportunity takes you.  I decided after years of chasing, to just embrace the process of discovery.  We face new challenges every day, so I just celebrate the victory of being present. Every day presents a new challenge  and I am not the type of person to look back.  Maybe one day when I’m all said and done, I’ll look back and say, I remember that project that turned out fantastic.  Right now, I just stay in the present. 

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