How to be a Great Business Analyst

I’ve been asked this question, and after considerable thought, I would like to tell you what I think makes a great Business Analyst.

So here goes…

There are number of skills and qualities that I believe you, the Business Analyst, must have to be competent in your role. This includes the ability to gather, analyse and model requirements using various techniques and tools, and produce documentation that clearly communicates change.

You typically like to help solve problems, you have an inquiring mind and you are comfortable asking questions. Many questions. You strive to build relationships and create alignment with your stakeholders to ensure clarity and vision of requirements.

You are an effective communicator, you listen and respond to feedback and you relate to your stakeholders on their terms. You are a good listener. You’re also a good negotiator and you manage your time and stakeholder expectations on requirements and deliverables.

Preferably, you are passionate about what you do. Passion gives you the drive to learn more, energises and fuels your success, strengthens your confidence, inspires persistence and improves your working relationships. Of course, you can’t always feel the passion – I know I don’t. But if you can identify the things that drive you, then your work will benefit.

As an effective Business Analyst, you continuously extend your skills and capabilities. Even if it is just by a little bit. You endeavour to learn more and improve your capabilities with each new project. You don’t stagnate.

You understand that even though you may often work on technology implementations, they are not really technology projects. They are business projects. Projects that impact the way people do business – hopefully for the better.  Technology is a means to an end.

You know that business analysis is about facilitating change within an organisation. This change may be at the enterprise level, at the project level, or anywhere in between. Your role is important.

You create value…

Yes, you.

How you deliver that value depends on the work you’re doing and your audience. It also depends on how well you communicate that value.

You continuously ask yourself these questions:

What is of real value here? and Why?

How can I demonstrate value in this context?

What do I need to do that?

You know it doesn’t matter how you do it as there is no right or wrong way. Ultimately, your work must demonstrate value to be of any benefit to your stakeholders, the objectives of the project, and the organisation as a whole. Understanding this keeps you focused and aligned on the work that matters the most.

You know that success is definitely about creating value. And this makes you a great Business Analyst.

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