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4 Types of Mistakes Business Analysts Make

Blog: Business Analyst Learnings Blog

Mistakes occur when unintended actions or decisions are made. It’s about doing the wrong thing while believing that one is on the right track. Mistakes can happen when BAs find themselves in a completely new situation or when they have not been properly trained. Mistakes are however, different from slips. A slip occurs when actions taken are not as planned. This can easily happen when the person carrying out an action does not pay sufficient attention. 

It’s completely impossible for one not to make mistakes and also arrogant to expect to be on top of one’s game every time, because the reality of life is that everyone makes mistakes. Understanding what mistakes are and the types of mistakes that can be made on the job is a necessary and crucial step towards ensuring that one is able to minimize them and come out better for it through the lessons learnt.

If you understand the sources of your mistakes, you are better able to take the corrective steps that will help you avoid those mistakes in the future, fill the knowledge gaps you have and become a better professional. This article is based on the ideas from Mindset Works.

Here are the major types of mistakes that a BA can make at one point or the other. 

Stretch Mistakes

These are mistakes that happen when we go beyond the boundaries of what we already know how to do. When you move into a new domain or implement a new software system for example, mistakes are bound to happen and these mistakes are only an indication of the knowledge gaps that need to be filled.

If you never make stretch mistakes, it means you never fully challenge yourself. It’s an indication that you need to put yourself in a situation where you are challenged, where you can grow or change your approach toward learning. 

Aha-moment Mistakes

This type of mistake is harder to plan for in the sense that we achieve the intended aim, but then realize that it was a mistake to do so.

For example, we make a decision based on an incorrect assumption only to find out that the assumption was wrong or we remember the details of a situation wrongly.

Mindset Works suggests that to reduce these moments, we should reflect on those mistakes to understand why they occurred in the first place. What went wrong? Why did we get the result we did?

Sloppy Mistakes

Happens when we know how to do something well but make mistakes, for example, we lose concentration, or have too much distraction around us. 

Making too many sloppy mistakes is often an indication to increase one’s focus, improve working conditions or improve processes to reduce the risk of making such mistakes.

High-stakes mistakes

Delivering functional software can be considered a high-stakes event if not done properly.  When mistakes are involved in such activities, the price to pay is usually quite high. 

You would want to avoid the mistakes that fall in this category by constantly practising and approaching the task at hand carefully to ensure that mistakes are avoided.

In order to learn from our mistakes, we need to reflect on them and extract the key lessons from them by evaluating the things we can do better. Having a mindset of continuous improvement is a key step towards reducing mistakes on the job.

Picture Attribution: Image courtesy of stockimages at

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