When you’re starting a career as a business analyst, you need to know what it takes to be the best. The key to being a successful business analyst is to make a smooth and effective go-between for project managers and stakeholders in a company. As a business analyst you tread the wire between different departments, to help manage expectations and ensure that what’s being done in a project meets what every stakeholder is looking for. Your job is to communicate the big picture, how it fits into the company’s goals, how it affects overall profits and how you can best achieve them. First you need to work on your confidence, which you can learn in this course. Once you’re confident in yourself, you need to master a core set of skills to be both efficient, and enable you to do the best job possible.
Here’s what you need to be a phenomenal business analyst:
Ability to Communicate
The nature of a business analyst means that you’ll be spending much of your time interacting with people. This ranges from users or clients, to management and teams of developers. The ultimate success of a project depends on the details being clearly communicated and understood between all parties, especially the project requirements, any requested changes and results from the testing.
Being able to articulate exactly what you need, is critical, alongside the ability to actively listen to what’s being to you as you gather all of your information. If you struggle with this try a course on conscious listening and master this important aspect of your job. In addition your presentation and public speaking skills are going to be very valuable, especially if you can give your updates and impress your audience with your confidence, and ability to deliver a fantastic pitch. You need to be able to interact with people from all levels of an organization, from top management all the way down to IT staff and end users of the product. Being able to communicate technical information to a non-technical audience is very valuable, so don’t forget to work on this skill! Written communication is also not to be forgotten, as much of your job is the technical writing and creation of business requirements. Being able to put together useful and coherent documents is a requirement for success.
For you to be able to identify solutions for a business, you need to both know and understand the current applications that are being used. You need to understand new outcomes that can be achieved on the same platforms, whilst having a good understanding of the benefits the latest technology offers. The ability to test software and design business systems is an important technical skill, and you’ll only gain respect and build confidence in the IT and business end-users if you can demonstrate you can speak with authority in the dual languages of business and technology, whilst being technically strong in the systems use.
To be able to properly interpret and translate a customer’s business needs into application and operational requirements, every analyst needs phenomenal analytical skills. A significant amount of your job will be analyzing data and documents, reviewing user input questionnaires and operational workflow to determine the right courses of action to take. You can learn a little bit more about what’s required in analyzing a business’s processes in this course.
Problem Solving Skills
Building on your analytical skills, you also need to be able to look at the data and use out of the box thinking to solve solutions for your clients. You can’t propose any changes unless you can analyze and understand exactly what is needed for the solution, and sometimes you need a novel approach. When you’re working on custom builds, nothing is ever 100% predictable. You’ll spend much of your time dealing with random and all too frequent changes, so finding ways to solve these is paramount in your role. Whether this is through formalized techniques like the five why’s or brainstorming sessions or a more creative approach, the best business analysts are the ones offering to fix all the problems. You can learn a little more on idea management in this recent post, and never let a spark of imagination slip through the cracks again.
You’re also going to be called on to help make important decisions in the solution building process. A business analyst acts as a consultant to managers and the advisor for the development team, so you need to be prepared to be asked any number of questions on the business. If you want to be the best business analyst you need to learn how to assess a situation, take in relevant information from your stakeholders and plan out a course of action. Sounds easy on paper, but it takes practice and dedication to learn to make decisions without hesitation.
Ability to Negotiate and Persuade
Your position as the liaison between the users, developers, management and the clients means a business analyst will often be the go between that has to balance the business needs with individual requests as you manage a number of different individuals to meet a project’s goal. To do so requires an outstanding ability to persuade and negotiate. If you’re competing for business in a pitch, you’re ability to negotiate will play a key role in your success, while you aim to achieve profitable outcomes for your company and working solutions for the client. You’re going to need to balance and maintain relationships with people inside companies, as well as external partners. The ability to persuade also helps you to protect yourself from scope creep, and help mitigate stressful situations as your stakeholders disagree, deadlines are missed and overall the tension is running high.
All Around flexibility
The best analysts are agile and flexible, and have no trouble taking on the unique challenges of every new project and mastering both the requirements and the personalities in their team. Working with people in the same office is very different to having a remote team, and you need to be able to adapt and cater for whatever comes your way.
Ability to be a Manager
As a business analyst your ultimate objective is to manage a project. You’re going to need to excel at planning out the scope of work, giving direction to the team as well as keeping everyone motivated and on track to meet the objectives. The skills you need to be an effective manager can be learned, but take time to master so try to get as much leadership experience as you can to allow your growth and learning in this area as you can. If you’ve never led a team before check out this course and start your journey to success! As a business analyst you’re going to be leading teams of people that are often not formalized, and it’s up to you to add structure and keep them all on track. Managing the stakeholders of your project alongside keeping the team members is vital to the project’s success.
The most successful business analysts have a skill set that allows them to demonstrate their abilities across the board, while being experts in managing business processes, developing a project, strategic planning and being able to communicate effectively to their teams. They need a strong fundamental set of technical knowledge on computers and systems, grasp engineering concepts and be adept at complex modeling techniques and the ability to write effectively on technical subjects. Master all of these skills and you’ll be a phenomenal analyst, that any company would be lucky to have on board.