Join Haydn Thomas for an in-depth discussion in this video Adopting a business analyst mindset, part of Business Analysis Foundations.
- Whenever you're trying to do something in an organization, the desire to know why is at the core of the mindset of a good business analyst. BAs need to harness their inner child, a bit like the ever inquisitive five year old, constantly asking, "but why?" Considering the why assists with understanding the level of desire, commitment, and need for the change and how this change impacts both the processes and other areas of the organization. Understanding the context may also assist with how the need for the change can be justified.
You need to reflect on the why to be successful, along with some other mindsets which include the constant belief that inefficiencies exist. The pace of change in today's business world is significant. Your management might change, clients might change, priorities might shift, and the marketplace itself transforms regularly. Well crafted processes and approaches to getting things done decay quickly. They simply become obsolete. Add to the fact that people who create processes initially rarely have a perfect crystal ball or resolve an issue in isolation without understanding the flow and effects of the minor changes being made.
This is why inefficiencies are present in virtually every business and every business process. As an effective business analyst, you believe this fully and have a burning desire to find and fix these inefficiencies. The second mindset characteristic is understanding that the best place to start is with what is happening today. It is easy to dismiss understanding what processes exist today, giving an excitement and haste to get the new and improved to-be state. However, it's very difficult to get a destination without knowing where you are today.
Whether using a map or GPS, the turns you have to make are determined, not only where you want to get to, but where you are now. As an effective business analyst, you'll want to spend significant time understanding the existing as-is processes in order to facilitate effective change in your organization. The next important mindset of a good business analyst is to seek and enjoy knowing the detail, as well as the big picture. Exploring and documenting business processes can be very detailed work. It takes patience and the ability to ask questions about exceptions and other nuances about processes.
Although the devil's in the details is a very accurate statement, truly effective business analysts seek to understand and optimize how processes interact with each other. Supporting the over arching goals and objectives of the organization is also critical for success in business analysis. In short, a big-picture view to what is happening and could happen in the business is just as important as capturing and tracking the procedural details. Lastly, the business analyst view is to serve as the bridge between business and technical personnel.
It is rare to find an organization that does not have a language problem. Technical teams talk about data flows, sequence errors, engineering specs, and the like. Business personnel talk about turnaround times, customer preferences, and capability management. The vocabulary between these groups can be so different. Discussions can be nearly useless as everyone scrambles to understand each other. This is where the business analyst comes in with an interest and knowledge of what the organization is trying to accomplish and a view to what the technical team needs in order to satisfy their needs.
The BA serves as a facilitator and translator from those stakeholders requesting the change to those who will deliver the change. They calm nerves and become a diplomat between people who often drastically have different perspectives about a problem. When you as a business analyst embrace these varying mindsets, business and technical people both feel listened to and more confidant their needs are understood and can be met. Your organization can then move forward in a controlled and informed manner, and your project's underlying processes will more likely deliver to the required change and assist in delivering against why the organization needed the change and align to their stated goals and objectives.
Discover where business analysis lives in the project life cycle, how to initiate a project, the best way to gather requirements, and smart strategies to monitor results and test outcomes.
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- Understanding what business analysts do
- Defining business opportunities and objectives
- Identifying stakeholders
- Gathering requirements through observation and brainstorming
- Validating requirements
- Developing project acceptance criteria
- Implementing, testing, and closing your project<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.