An overview of the skills and competencies required for your success.
This post will give you an outline of the skills and competencies of an effective business analyst. It will help you identify areas that you need to focus to progress your career. As it addresses the underlying competencies specific for a BA – which are not all unique to the BA profession – it may not address everything that you will need to fulfil your career goals. However, it is a starting point that will help you identify areas that you need to develop.
Underlying business analysis competencies
Competency means to be adequately qualified for a role. By defining business analysis competencies organisations will be able to:
- Better assess candidates during the recruitment process
- Better define an individual’s role and hence assess their performance and improvement against agreed key performance indicators
- Structure training and mentoring programs around those areas of competency which an individual is not yet competent and/or an organisation is generally lacking
- More efficiently predict and structure the resource pool for future projects
What makes a good business analyst?
The definition of “good” is a subjective thing, however the competencies of an effective business analyst fall into these main areas:
- Understanding of business and technology
- Ability to facilitate, research, model and define requirements
- Communication skills with senior management and other project team members
- “Soft” skills in terms of motivation, flexibility, influencing skills, and problem-solving skills
- Documentation and administrative skills
The BABOK underlying competencies
The BABOK® defines 6 key groups of competencies that a business analyst is expected to possess. Use this list to identify areas that you may need to develop for further development.
|1||Analytical Thinking & Problem Solving
The business analyst must be able to understand and decipher requirements elicited and devise solutions to overcome problems faced by stakeholders. The BA must logically reason and make judgments based on evidence and assumptions and propose new and alternative solutions to problems.
The business analyst is expected to uphold the trust placed on them, and they work with the highest level of integrity regarding the security and safety of sensitive information. To cope with high demands placed on them, the BA must also be meticulous in their personal organisation and prioritisation of their workload.
The business analyst understands common business principles and practices (e.g. HR, finance, IT). They also have industry, organisational and technology knowledge that contribute to developing good requirements and project outcomes.
|Business Principles & Practices
The business analyst has excellent oral and written communication skills, so they can express complex ideas as clearly and simply as possible to assist with decision-making.
The business analyst facilitates workshops and meetings to ensure information is gathered in a manner that is considerate of stakeholder’s time. Communication is an important factor in this role and the BA must be able to lead and influence effectively to guide stakeholders through decision-making.
|Facilitation & Negotiation
Leadership & Influencing
|6||Tools and technology
The business analyst has knowledge in applications that help carry out day-to-day project tasks and, depending on project requirements, is capable in specialised tools such as document management systems and content management systems.
|General Purpose Applications
The BABOK Knowledge Areas
The BABOK®Knowledge Areas are briefly described here. It is not intended to reproduce the BABOK®which varies from version to version, but to provide a checklist of areas that you mayneed to identify for further development.
|1||Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring
This knowledge area covers the activities which a business analyst should follow to determine the efforts involved in the future steps. It mainly covers stakeholder analysis, managing risk, issues, and requirements. It also covers the techniques to manage the requirements and the track of the project progress.
|Plan Business Analysis Approach
Plan Stakeholder Engagement
Plan Business Analysis Governance
Plan Business Analysis Information Management
Identify Business Analysis Performance Improvements
|2||Elicitation and Collaboration
Requirements are the most important aspect of the project and understanding them correctly is of utmost importance. There are several elicitation techniques like brain storming, prototyping, interviewing etc to collect the most precise information. The actual purpose of the elicitation is to record the correct requirements of the stakeholders to avoid unwanted and superficial demands in future.
|Prepare for Elicitation
Confirm Elicitation Results
Communicate Business Analysis Information
Manage Stakeholder Collaboration
|3||Requirements Life Cycle Management
This covers the tasks that business analysts perform in order to manage and maintain requirements and design information from inception to retirement. These tasks describe establishing meaningful relationships between related requirements and designs and assessing, analysing and gaining consensus on proposed changes to requirements and designs.
Assess Requirements Changes
Describes the business analysis work that must be performed to collaborate with stakeholders in order to identify a need of strategic or tactical importance (the business need), enable the enterprise to address that need, and align the resulting strategy for the change with higher- and lower-level strategies.
|Analyze Current State
Define Future State
Define Change Strategy
|5||Requirements Analysis and Design Definition
It covers the tasks that business analysts perform in order to manage and maintain requirements and design information from inception to retirement. These tasks describe establishing meaningful relationships between related requirements and designs and assessing, analysing and gaining consensus on proposed changes to requirements and designs.
|Specify and Model Requirements
Define Requirements Architecture
Define Design Options
Analyze Potential Value and Recommend Solution
This covers the assessment of the available solutions which can help the stakeholders select the most appropriate solution to implement the requirements. Once the best solution is selected the business analyst makes sure that it meets those requirements throughout the lifecycle of the project.
|Measure Solution Performance
Analyze Performance Measures
Assess Solution Limitations
Assess Enterprise Limitations
Recommend Actions to Increase Solution Value
The underlying competencies described in the above section are one of the BABOK knowledge areas.
|Analytical Thinking & Problem Solving
Tools and Technology