Join Haydn Thomas for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding the skills business analysts use, part of Business Analysis Foundations.
- I love playing sports, and I'm lucky to be built in such a way that I can play sports easily. I'm a tall guy, I would have a very difficult time playing basketball if I was only four and a half foot tall. Just like in sports, there are characteristics and skills that can help position you to be a great business analyst. First and foremost is curiosity. Understanding the business areas in which you work and how they fit together is vital. Understanding at a detailed level and how it fits within the context of an organization is where you can apply your sense of wonder to unearth opportunities.
An almost endless level of curiosity as to what is really happening, and what could potentially happen in the future, is where the business analyst's value is created. The business analyst characteristic that is a close second to curiosity is questioning and listening skills. Observation of work being performed is a very effective way to obtaining information about the details of how your organization works. However, you won't understand everything by just observing. Having a keen sense for asking questions and listening to what is said and often what is not said, is pivotal to determine what is really going on in the organization.
In addition to this, interviewing is a fundamental approach to obtaining information from the organization, and members of your project team. Crafting effective questions and being able to listen to the answers on multiple levels is fundamental to success as a business analyst. Considering that the observation, question and answer approach to obtaining information can take time, another fundamental skill for business analysts is patience. Is it easy to find a piece of information and jump to conclusions as a result? As the same document and process may be executed different ways to different people, or in different areas of your organization, jumping to conclusions is dangerous.
Taking the appropriate amount of time to collect, analyze and verify your information and conclusions requires patience. That patience is a fundamental characteristic for sustained growth as a business analyst. Two other fundamental business analyst skills that go hand-in-hand are communication skills and diplomacy. Every facet of business analysis involves some form of communication. You're typically either absorbing information through communication approaches or capturing and sharing that information with your own communication tools.
Tactful diplomacy is skills that you would call upon frequently as you'll often be in place of a position where you're judging approaches and suggesting improvements. Projects can take anything from a few weeks to years. Therefore, another skill that is valuable to you as a business analyst is sustained enthusiasm. Understanding the improvement goal, being dedicated to its achievement, and having contagious sense of enthusiasm, is important. This helps your business colleagues and the project team stay focused on moving forward.
Enthusiasm is an important aspect of getting changes accomplished, especially when you take a while to bring them to reality. Now, one last skill to share. Being logical in your thinking is at the heart of surfacing and understanding improvement possibilities. You need to apply logic and understanding of what is occurring in your organization today, and be able to picture better ways of getting things accomplished. That is the best and most sustaining value you can provide as a business analyst. Logic is the key to delivering the value quickly and effectively.
As you can see, being a business analyst is a multi-faceted role. It takes a lot of different skills and characteristics, but it's all fun and exciting as you are in the heart of change in your organization.
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.