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What Does A Business Analyst Do, Exactly?

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When I coach clients who are thinking of taking the ‘leap’ to become a Business Analyst, I’m often asked ‘what does a Business Analyst do, exactly?

Here’s the rather lengthy definition from The International Institude of Business Analysts (The IIBA) from the Business Analyst Body of Knowledge (V2)

Business Analysts must analyze and synthesize information provided by a large number of people who interact with the business, such as customers, staff, IT professionals, and executives. The Business Analyst is responsible for eliciting the actual needs of stakeholders, not simply their expressed desires. In many cases, the Business Analyst will also work to facilitate communication between organizational units. In particular, Business Analysts often play a central role in aligning the needs of business units with the capabilities delivered by information technology, and may serve as a “translator” between those groups.

woman business analyst BA simplified what?

However, at BASimplified, we like to find more straightforward approaches. So I really think that Business Analyst.com have got the essence of an answer in their article titled ‘What Does A Business Analyst Actually Do? They have made a good attempt at breaking down where a Business Analyst can add value at different stages of a project, and come up with a new definition:-

Initiation

It’s the role of the BA to clearly identify the problem that the business is experiencing and to map out what a possible solution would look like.

Analysis

The analysis phase is the period during which the Business Analyst defines the requirements in detail, stating clearly and unambiguously what the business needs in order to resolve its problem.

Development

A BA will need to step up their meetings with the development team, attend daily meetings and generally be the eyes and ears of the business, constantly looking for deviations in course that would otherwise go undetected.

Testing

There is a process to follow as the testing team go through the process of testing and identifying bugs and the BA can work with the business to set defect fix priorities.  The mere existence of this documentation is often enough for one side of the other to admit a mistake and for the issue to be resolved amicably.

Implementation

It’s the last chance for things to go awry and for goals to be missed.


 

What BA.com have taken from this breakdown is a common theme – and have re-worked the definition as this:

A Business Analyst is responsible for knowing what the goal of a project is, how to achieve it, managing any changes to the goal and ensuring that all deliverables are aligned with the goal.


What I suggest you do is copy and paste this sentence somewhere you can refer to it – as a screensaver, on your phone or device, or print and stick it infront of your desk – so the next time someone asks you – you have a simple answer.

Great job – ba.com. You can read the full article here.

 


 

150 Chika headshotBA Simplified can help you to discover the most critical business analyst skills – in a simplified form so you can get the edge. We are here to make becoming and excelling in business analysis as simple and easy to understand and implement.  We also help organisations to implement effective business analysis practices in delivering successful projects.

Let us know if you found this useful – and what you would add. We’d appreciate the feedback!

 Chika Oyinlade

 

Sign up for (occasional and non spammy) updates here www.basimplified.com
Connect with us on FB here www.facebook.com/BASimplified
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5 Quick Ways To Build Your Credibility As A Business Analyst

BA simplified credibility 2 suit

Building credibility as a Business Analyst must be considered – from first impressions to the delivery of your biggest project. Here’s a short and sharp post which might bring you some inspiration as you go about your week – just in case you need a helping hand.

1. Interact with and keep the development team up to date

2. Run through requirements before implementation starts

3. Be approachable – but not over friendly

4. Share your knowledge but don’t brag

5. Get a coach -don’t go it alone. This is fundamental to your success. A coach will act as a mentor and soundingboard, and help you build your credibility as a great Business Analyst faster and with a better foundation than on your own.

BA Simplified credibility

Thanks to BusinessAnalyst.com  for their article: Business Analyst; Build your credibility,  for the inspiration for this blog.

You can read the full article here.


150 Chika headshotBA Simplified can help you to discover the most critical business analyst skills – in a simplified form so you can get the edge. We are here to make becoming and excelling in business analysis as simple and easy to understand and implement.  We also help organisations to implement effective business analysis practices in delivering successful projects.

Let us know if you found this useful – and what you would add. We’d appreciate the feedback!

 Chika Oyinlade

 

Sign up for (occasional and non spammy) updates here www.basimplified.com
Connect with us on FB here www.facebook.com/BASimplified
Follow us on Twitter here  www.twitter.com/BASimplified

 

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4 Key Questions To Ask If Your Project Is Off Course

project off course ba simplified

Projects do go off course, especially if (in your opinion) they started badly. It happens. So what do you do if you find yourself in this situation? I was asked recently by a Business Analyst coaching client, and we talked about a solution.

On reflection, I wondered what other experts in the Business Analyst  field were saying.  Alex Papworth is a respected Business Analyst in the IT sector, President of the UK chapter of the IIBA,  and offers help and mentoring to BA’s globally.

project off course ba simplifiedHe knows a thing or two about what to do when your project is off course. I read ‘How To Bring A Project Back On Course (if it has started badly), and I’m sharing it here because it is a sound framework and will really give support to move your project on if this is you.

In this comprehensive piece, as well as knowing the culture and the communication style of the business,  he outlines four key questions that a good Business Analyst should ask in this situation, and as a result be able to offer the most value to stakeholders.

Here are some typical warning signs early on in any project to give an indication that the project is going off course and needs to be managed effectively;

  • Stakeholder disagreement
  • Senior stakeholders lack of decision making
  • Critical team members continually missing deadlines
  • Disagreement in the as-is state

Alex suggests asking these four key questions if your project is off course:

1. Are there disincentives if a project doesn’t deliver the benefits?

For example, the change framework may have ‘gateways’ that require the project to prove it will deliver benefits

2. Does the organisation require a business case before an investment is made?

 Again, this may be part of the change framework

3. What happens on other projects?

4. Does the culture encourage/rewards sponsors to decide on solutions and push through to delivery?

project off course ba simplified

Holding a re-kickoff meeting will be a great place to pose the four key questions above and rally all the key stakeholders together to reconfirm the mission of the project and discuss changes to the project approach. It will provide a way for all impacted parties to recommit to the project and focus priorities.

Thanks to Alex for providing excellent articles which really help Business Analysts to get things moving when a project is off course.

You can read the rest of his article here


 

150 Chika headshotBA Simplified can help you to discover the most critical business analyst skills – in a simplified form so you can get the edge. We are here to make becoming and excelling in business analysis as simple and easy to understand and implement.  We also help organisations to implement effective business analysis practices in delivering successful projects.

Let us know if you found this useful – and what you would add. We’d appreciate the feedback!

 Chika Oyinlade

 

Sign up for (occasional and non spammy) updates here www.basimplified.com
Connect with us on FB here www.facebook.com/BASimplified
Follow us on Twitter here  www.twitter.com/BASimplified

 

 

 

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If You Need Information From Stakeholders, Can You Get It Without Being Pushy?

business analyst ba simplified

As a  Business Analyst how can you make sure that you get the right information from stakeholders, on time, without being considered pushy?

BA informationHow can you be determined to get your information from stakeholders when it’s your job as a Business Analyst to keep everyone on side, and hold things together? Coming across as pushy could be detrimental to your project, but you need the information, and you need it on time.

Your choices are to wait, or make assumptions, and neither of those options are really the solution. Trainer and Business Analyst professional, Laura Brandenburg says that

“Waiting for information is one of the primary reasons I see business analysts get stuck on their projects and branded as people who cannot meet deadlines.”

So she came up with some approaches that you can adopt when you find you’re waiting on information from stakeholders, but you can’t wait.

1. Send  a crystal clear request – and datestamp it.
You need to create deadlines for stakeholders so that the project will keep moving along. It’s the professional way to set your expectations.
2. Follow up before the deadline
Your email might have been missed for whatever reason, by the intended recipient. Following up is not pushy – it’s professional.
3. Escalate the request
OK, so this might be a bit uncomfortable, but if you have set your boundaries with 1 & 2, and still haven’t got the information you need, then you have set things correctly for escalation.
4. Get an experienced coach who can show you how – faster than if you were on your own
Having someone on the phone who you can call and use as a sounding board would be invaluable in this kind of situation.

Inspiration for this blog post was taken from Laura Brandenburg from Bridging The Gap. She is a trusted and experienced BA trainer. You can read the whole article here


 

150 Chika headshotBA Simplified can help you to discover the most critical business analyst skills – in a simplified form so you can get the edge. We are here to make becoming and excelling in business analysis as simple and easy to understand and implement.  We also help organisations to implement effective business analysis practices in delivering successful projects.

Let us know if you found this useful – and what you would add. We’d appreciate the feedback!

 Chika Oyinlade

 

Sign up for (occasional and non spammy) updates here www.basimplified.com
Connect with us on FB here www.facebook.com/BASimplified
Follow us on Twitter here  www.twitter.com/BASimplified

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3 Great Ways To Maximise Your Christmas Networking

man confused ba simplified

With Halloween over, Christmas is almost upon us. One of the great opportunities available to you as a Business Analyst who wants to become an expert in their field, is to get out and network. So why should you be planning your Christmas networking like a pro?? Because networking always pays off.

To give you a simple way to succeed – I’ve added 3 great ways to maximise your Christmas networking.

1. Become an expert in remembering faces, names and a fact about the people you meet. Don’t be one of those people who apologise and say  ‘I man confusednever remember names’.  Make a concerted effort to become someone who does. It’s not actually that tricky if you put a bit of effort in. You see, people do business with people they like. You will need to know how to get people to like you and remember you – so they call you when they need help. This is really important if you’re an independent Business Analyst and need to tout yourself for work.

The reason you don’t remember is that you’re really not interested in that person – or you’re busy or distracted during the hello, and often not listening properly. Its not to do with your memory.

So here’s Tip 2 to help you…

2. Read the classic book ‘How To Win Friends & Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie. (or at least add it to your Amazon wish list!).  It’s a short book – you can read it in a few hours and it’s absolute gold for networking and being remembered.

3. Make a deal with yourself that you will speak to at least ONE key person of influence at every event, and do this early on  – so even if you do have a few drinks, your mission will have been accomplished. The next day, connect with them, and send a ‘nice to meet you, have a good Christmas’ message – don’t leave it. At the end of the season you will have a list of people you want to meet again, so you can pick events throughout 2016 to attend.

 

dale carnegieSo 3 great ways to maximise your Christmas networking starts off with becoming genuinely interested in people, so that you can easily remember their name, face and a fact. This will mean they remember you. If this is tricky, get some help and read the book written by one of the giants of business relationships, Dale Carnegie. Hone your skill – and aim for a list of genuine contacts that will start your 2016 on the right note.

A simple and methodical approach which will enable you to be successful in your networking AND enjoy it too. I’d like to bet that come January, you will be really pleased with yourself that you read this and took action.


 

150 Chika headshotBA Simplified can help you to discover the most critical business analyst skills – in a simplified form so you can get the edge. We are here to make becoming and excelling in business analysis as simple and easy to understand and implement.  We also help organisations to implement effective business analysis practices in delivering successful projects.

Let us know if you found this useful – and what you would add. We’d appreciate the feedback!

 Chika Oyinlade

 

Sign up for (occasional and non spammy) updates here www.basimplified.com
Connect with us on FB here www.facebook.com/BASimplified
Follow us on Twitter here  www.twitter.com/BASimplified

 

 

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