Business Analyst Roles—Conquer Them All

Business analysts wear so many different hats. We’re problem solvers, critical thinkers, experts, communicators, and implementation facilitators all wrapped into one package. And with those many roles in tow, it seems as if there is an ever-growing list of skillsets and responsibilities that business analysts have to juggle. With no two projects being exactly alike and stakeholders giving contradictory requirements, we always have to be on our A-game. Long story short, the frustration is real. But you can become the highly skilled, solution-centric BA your boss and clients want you to be, without feeling the pain of having multiple responsibilities. […]

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Anatomy of the Perfect Business Requirements Document

Business requirements documents are maps to the successful completion of your project, but if there’s something not quite right about that A-to-Z document, then your ultimate solution might not be as comprehensive as you’d like it to be. Business requirements documents (BRDs) are foundational for any project. As your compass that guides you forward in any waterfall or agile project, it’s important to make your BRD as streamlined as possible. That way, you don’t hit unnecessary snags or perform a lackluster job. So what’s the anatomy of the ideal business requirements document? When you know the purpose behind a successful […]

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Necessary Business Analyst Skills: The Forgotten Art of Body Language

Inside the seemingly endless treasure chest of necessary business analyst skills you must have to accelerate your career, there lies the forgotten art of body language. As a communication skill, body language is often the predecessor to successful requirements elicitation, establishment of expertise, and a host of many other benefits. The problem is, people—business analysts, especially—have forgotten how to convey their body language, even though we all pick up on it subconsciously. There aren’t many IIBA-endorsed courses that handle this vital topic. That’s why I’ve included it as part of my upcoming, 12-week course, Mastering Business Analysis Fundamentals. Here are […]

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When is Requirements Elicitation Complete?

Photo credit: Jacob Botter Requirements elicitation is one of the many must-have skills that successful business analysts have in their tool kits. But it’s hard to know when and if your requirements elicitation activities are truly complete. As you get into the nitty-gritty of a project, and you find that you’re missing an important requirement, that’s when you might have to go back to the drawing board. And there’s nothing worse than starting from scratch when you’ve already invested time and energy into creating a comprehensive solution that positively impacts all stakeholders. So how do you know the difference between […]

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Expert Business Analyst Skills: The 6 W’s of Problem Solving

Being an expert business analyst essentially means one thing: you solve problems. This is the core idea behind how our industry serves our clients. A person with keen business analysis skills will look at a problem from multiple angles, and then use his or her arsenal of problem-solving techniques to create and implement the most transformational solution. Yep. We’re kind of like super heroes in that way. To expand your resources as a solution-centric BA, and to earn more respect and a higher salary, it’s important to learn new methods for approaching problems. I often take “the 6 W’s” approach, […]

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Business Analysis Skillsets: How to Begin a Project

Business analysis skillsets—there must be 10,000 that you have to add to your repertoire every year. Beginning a project is just one—but it’s very important in the success of your BA career. I’ve outlined the steps that help you launch and subsequently complete a wholly successful business analysis project. Take the following steps to ensure your stakeholders are satisfied.  Sketch a Work Blueprint Our logical mind loves maps—and it certainly loves having a correct answer right in front of you. In providing an overview of the clients’ major obstacle, comprehensive goals, and nitty-gritty objectives, you have such a document in […]

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Poor Requirements Elicitation: Why 80% of Projects Fail

Poor requirements elicitation—and here we have the reason why 80% of projects go belly up. Without the proper requirements, a project equates to embarking on a long road trip without a destination or gasoline. Long story short, it won’t end well without solid requirements, and you’ll struggle toward a “solution” that neither you nor your stakeholders want. When it comes to eliciting requirements, so many talented and success-driven business analysts have no idea why they can’t get the vital information required to create a triumphantly successful BA project. No worries—I’ve got your back. Take the following steps to ensure the […]

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Underlying Competencies: What the IIBA Wants from You

Underlying competencies. According to our friends at the IIBA, underlying competencies represent the recipe for the most successful business analysts. These skillsets that constitute a driven and transformation-providing BA fall under 3 categories: coaching, facilitation, and decision analysis. If you’ve been in the business analysis game for some time, there’s no question that you’ve heard those 3 terms. But how can you apply them to your career, so you earn a higher income and achieve a senior BA position? I’ll tell you. Coaching: It’s up to you to guide your stakeholders toward the transformation you’ve designed. Facilitation: Leadership is the […]

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Business Analysis Blueprint for SWOT Analysis

When it comes time to write a SWOT analysis, you’re faced with a particularly tricky challenge. As a business analyst, you’ll often be asked to assess not where a company should go, but where it is now. And that’s a whole new challenge. For starters, you’ll not only have to identify problems, but you’ll also have to report on what’s working. The question: if one element is working, should it be improved on or left alone? When you’re faced with this situation, you may find yourself in hot water with stakeholders. Keep in mind that if someone feels responsible for […]

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IT Solutions: The Final Frontier of Business Analysis?

When it comes to business analysis, 99% of proposals dedicate some facet to IT solutions. It makes sense, because BAs are expected to have a good handle on software development and implementation. But therein lies the danger. When you think with a tech-only brain, you run the risk of creating incomplete solutions that result in only a partial transformation. I use the term “partial transformation” because tech-savvy stakeholders may feel satisfied, but employees who don’t rely on software to do their job will be left out in the cold. I’m often asked this question: “where are your clients in their […]

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