Posted by tac_admin, October 8, 2014

Valuable BA Skill Set: Get Proactive

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When it comes to your business analyst career, it’s almost as if stakeholders and employers want you to use a crystal ball and predict every possible contingency. But unfortunately, they don’t teach clairvoyance in business analyst school.

The good news is that eventually you’ll learn how to predict what will happen in a given project before the actual work begins. This skill allows you to be proactive, and you can handle issues in advance of a negative outcome. Before you get to that proactive level, you’ll almost have to experience every challenge you’ll face as a BA.

However, there are ways to reach a level of proactivity without spending decades experiencing the same pitfalls. When you participate in IIBA-endorsed training, you will see multiple scenarios, and be able to solve problems before they take effect.

To access that elusive BA crystal ball, you need two things: effective communication and requirements elicitation.

Effective communication skills.

Communication skills fly so far under the radar. In truth, the lack of communication training keeps so many great BAs from accelerating their careers. So why do proactive BAs need stellar communication skills?

During the interview process, it’s especially important to set the framework for the work to come. This is where effective communication comes into play. And if you’re working as a team with agile methods, you’ll need to work as a cohesive unit in order to solve problems.

Another pillar of effective communication is “withdrawing the needs.”When I use that phrase, I mean that it’s important to ask a lot of questions in order to determine a problem that may not have come to the surface yet.

It’s part of the way you elicit requirements, which leads me to my next point…

Requirement elicitation skills.

Have your stakeholders scolded you because your requirements aren’t detailed enough? Are you always missing crucial information that leads to the right solution?

Here’s the thing: requirements aren’t always the problems as they exist now. In fact, much of the time, requirements should include future problems. For example, as you examine an existing system, do you see any room for error? If you do, bring that up in stakeholder meetings! Not only does this gain you the respect you deserve, but you’ll also solve “pre-problems,”and accelerate your career much faster.

The best way to do that…

Become the BA Who’s Seen It All and Done It All!

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