Episode 24 – You Don’t Have To Know Everything with Ryland Leyton

 In Podcasts

Ryland Leyton is a Certified Business Analyst Professional having worked in the I.T. industry since the late 90s. Ryland is also a conference speaker and an agile coach for the International Institute of Business Analysis as well as author of the book “The Agile Business Analyst: Moving From Waterfall To Agile”.

In this episode Ryland talks about the continued popularity of agile, how business need to adapt to new ways of working and why none of your experiences are ever wasted. Ryland also discusses the importance of not being perceived as over confident.


Time Stamped Show Notes

(01:01) – Phil introduces Ryland Leyton

(01:29) – Ryland tells us that he entered the I.T. field from the counselling field

(01:45) – However Ryland found out that he was much more interested in helping people solve their problems

(01:58) – Ryland started off in database work and then onto software programming and web programming

(02:06) – Along the way Ryland found that he was informally doing business analysis and project management

(02:21) – The company Ryland was working for liked the results he was getting

(02:30) – Consequently Ryland moved into a more formal business analysis and project management role

(02:34) – For the past ten to fifteen years Ryland has been predominantly doing business analysis work and specialising into agile where he can

(02:46) – Phil and Ryland discuss the continued popularity and future of agile


(04:27) – Unique Career Tip: Ryland talks about a manager who taught him some good lessons which have stayed with him

(05:12) – Ryland describes how his manager told him that she would never know computers the way he does

(05:32) – She made it clear to Ryland that she knew the business inside out

(06:08) – But you don’t have to know everything

(06:14) – You only need to know the things that you’re supposed to know and a little more

(06:19) – Stand where you know what you know, and admit what you don’t

(06:52) – You may want to appear confident all the time but that’s simply not possible

(07:07) – You will learn more and be brought into more circles if you’re honest about what you do and don’t know


(08:03) – Worst Career Moment: Ryland talks about how he perceived himself as being helpful and willing to teach people things

(09:04) – However Ryland’s boss sat him down one day and told him that there were some changes he would have to make to advance his career

(09:39) – Ryland’s boss told him that he wasn’t being as helpful as he thought he was

(09:44) – People saw Ryland as resistant, difficult, challenging and in some cases arrogant

(10:29) – Ryland describes how the cultural differences between the companies he had worked for had a bearing on this

(10:59) – Ryland’s boss asked him to be more immediately responsive rather than scheduling time to help people

(11:51) – This was very different to the way Ryland perceived himself and was very hard for him to accept but he made the change


(13:21) – Career Highlight / Greatest Success: Ryland says that it was the experiences which led up to writing his book and when the book came out

(13:37) – Agile had become a hot topic in the Atlanta area and business analysts were trying to work out how to fit in

(13:46) – Ryland had just had some really good experiences with his first business analyst in agile job

(13:52) – He had crafted some agile processes and business analyst processes

(14:00) – Ryland volunteered to present on how business analysts fit into agile and the skills you need

(14:21) – The presentation was very successful and produced many questions from an audience wanting information

(14:40) – Many people were concerned about their careers

(14:48) – After this and some follow up sessions Ryland decided that he needed to write a book on the subject

(15:01) – Ryland talks about how he wrote the book over a nine month period and how he got it published

(15:50) – Ryland says that writing the book was a calling and something for which he had a passion to do


(17:12) – What Excites You About The Future of a Career in I.T.? Ryland talks about the future of agile in I.T.

(17:26) – He thinks the way business adapt to agile practices will be interesting including other business sectors

(18:08) – Having conversations with people about the future of agile is something Ryland loves to do

(18:45) – Ryland’s top value is leaving things better than when he found them


(19:00) – The Reveal

(19:05) – What attracted you to an I.T. career in the first place? – “I want to make a certain amount of money. I want to be able to problem solve and I don’t want to be in a narrowly defined career box”

(20:04) – What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? – “Always do the right thing”

(20:26) – If you were to begin your I.T. career again, right now, what would you do? –”I wish I’d taken the opportunity to do more consulting work”

(21:38) – What career objectives are you focusing on right now? – “I’m looking at things around leadership, teams and teamwork. Taking advantage of invitations to travel to conferences”

(22:35) – What’s the number one non-technical skill that has helped you in your career so far? – “A grounding in research methodology and design. Consciousness of asking open ended questions and closed questions”


(23:56) – A Parting Piece of Career Advice: Ryland says that nothing’s ever wasted

(24:05) – Every experience you’ve had will have taught you something

(24:54) – Make considered choices but don’t be ridiculously risk adverse

(25:16) – Be something that stands out


3 Key Points:     

  1. Be honest about what you do know and what you don’t
  2. Know what you’re supposed to know and a little more
  3. None of your experiences are ever wasted


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