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Baking Success: Unveiling the Sweet Similarities Between a Small Baking Business and a Business Analyst’s Role

Embarking on my journey as a baker just under two years ago, I have joyfully crafted birthday cakes, engagement cakes, baby shower confections, and more. Recently, I faced a culinary challenge that pushed my skills to new heights. This cake wasn’t just another creation; it was a test of my abilities, filled with many “firsts” that transformed my approach to baking. From applying a white chocolate ganache coat to mastering a full fondant covering, I encountered unexpected hurdles that required constant adaptation.

As I navigated the complexities of this ambitious project, I realized that I was implementing a form of agility in motion. Much like a Business Analyst (BA) adapts to evolving project requirements, I found myself breaking down the cake-making process into smaller, manageable increments. Baking the layers two days in advance and freezing them, preparing the frosting a day ahead, and meticulously crafting fondant toppers became a harmonious dance of preparation and adaptation.

This experience illuminated the surprising parallels between my role as a baker and the responsibilities of a Business Analyst. In both worlds, adaptability is the key ingredient for success, allowing for the seamless integration of unexpected challenges into the creative process. Let’s delve into the sweet symphony of similarities between managing a small baking business and excelling as a Business Analyst.


  • Adaptability is the Key Ingredient:

In the world of baking and business analysis, adaptability is the secret sauce that leads to success. Just as a baker adjusts a recipe based on available ingredients or customer preferences, a BA must be flexible in adapting to changing project requirements, client expectations, and market dynamics. Both roles demand a skillful balance between structure and spontaneity, ensuring the final product meets or exceeds expectations.


  • Customer-Centric Approach:

In both professions, understanding and satisfying the customer’s needs are paramount. Bakers pay close attention to customer preferences, dietary restrictions, and flavor profiles. Similarly, a BA delves deep into understanding the client’s business requirements, ensuring that the solutions provided align with the client’s goals. Both roles involve effective communication and active listening to create a product or solution that leaves the customer delighted.


  • Requirements Gathering as a Recipe:

Much like developing a baking recipe, a Business Analyst must meticulously gather and document requirements. In baking, this involves understanding the desired flavour, texture, and appearance of the final product. In the business world, requirements gathering entails collaborating with stakeholders to determine the functionalities, features, and constraints of a project. Both processes require attention to detail, precision, and a knack for turning abstract ideas into concrete plans.


  • Project Management:

Running a small baking business involves managing resources, timelines, and deliverables – much like a BA managing a project. Both roles require effective project management skills to ensure that everything runs smoothly, from planning and preparation to execution and delivery. Time management, coordination, and the ability to troubleshoot issues are crucial aspects that bridge the gap between these seemingly diverse professions.


  • Continuous Improvement:

In the dynamic worlds of baking and business analysis, there is always room for improvement. Bakers experiment with new recipes, techniques, and ingredients to stay ahead of trends and meet evolving customer tastes. Similarly, BAs must stay informed about industry best practices, emerging technologies, and changing market trends to provide innovative and effective solutions.


  • Understanding Global Trends and Market Dynamics:

In the ever-evolving landscapes of both baking and business analysis, awareness of global trends is paramount. For a baker, staying attuned to culinary trends such as the rise of veganism or the demand for gluten-free options is crucial. Just as a baker adapts recipes to cater to changing dietary preferences, a Business Analyst must be cognizant of market trends and technological advancements. Incorporating global trends into business strategies ensures relevance and competitiveness. The ability to anticipate shifts in consumer preferences aligns closely with a BA’s role in recognizing emerging market demands, enabling both to proactively adjust their approaches for sustained success.




  • Risk Management:

The concept of risk is inherent in both the realms of baking and business analysis. In the baking business, the risk might involve experimenting with a new flavor combination or trying out an innovative baking technique. Similarly, in business analysis, the risks could range from technological uncertainties to unforeseen changes in project scope. Both roles require a keen sense of risk management – identifying potential challenges, developing contingency plans, and mitigating risks to ensure a successful outcome. Whether it’s predicting how a cake batter will rise or foreseeing potential project obstacles, effective risk management is the insurance policy for success in both fields.


  • Visual Thinking:

In the world of baking, the visual appeal is as important as the taste. Creating aesthetically pleasing cakes involves a form of visual thinking, where bakers conceptualize designs, color schemes, and decorations. Similarly, Business Analysts employ visual thinking when crafting process flowcharts, diagrams, and user interface designs. Both professions rely on the ability to translate abstract ideas into tangible visual representations that effectively communicate complex concepts. Whether it’s envisioning an elaborate cake decoration or designing a user-friendly interface, visual thinking is a powerful tool that enhances creativity and clarity in both baking and business analysis.



Despite appearing dissimilar at first glance, both industries align on fundamental concepts such as versatility, prioritizing customers’ needs, meticulousness, and a steadfast dedication towards enhancing one’s performance constantly.


Just as a baker meticulously crafts a cake, considering evolving culinary trends and customer preferences, a Business Analyst navigates the complex landscape of project requirements, global market dynamics, and technological shifts. The parallels are striking – both professions demand a delicate balance between structure and spontaneity, transforming challenges into opportunities and setbacks into stepping stones.

The recipe for success transcends the boundaries of specific industries. The amalgamation of these skills – adaptability, customer-centricity, attention to detail, continuous improvement, global awareness, risk management, and visual thinking – creates a masterful blend that resonates across baking and business analysis. Whether you’re sculpting a delectable cake or orchestrating a cutting-edge business solution, the essence of success lies in skilfully blending the right ingredients to create a masterpiece that not only delights but endures in the ever-changing landscapes of taste and technology.

Christelle Govender

Christelle Govender is a confident, result-driven professional. Specializing in product ownership, project management, agile methodologies, and more, she excels in attracting top-tier talent and creating high-performing cultures. Christelle is an IIBA-SA volunteer, and track chair at the South African BA Summit 2022 and 2023, published author and conference speaker.