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Did you know that the Business Analyst is one of the most sought-after careers today? It has almost figured in every list of Glassdoor’s top jobs.
What is it that is making people going bonkers over the same? Is it that everyone wants to be a business analyst? What if everyone becomes, how far do you think will they be able to go in life?
This will depend on many factors and commitment is one of them. Your commitment to your work, to the organizations you serve and to the life you want to live. It is all connected. There is a difference in being a business analyst and being the one who is always in demand.
Think about it! How will it feel to be the most important guy in the organization?
It doesn’t come easy. It is not always hard work but also other things. Passion is one. Actually, it is the most important factor. It will lead you to make more sound choices as you will weigh all options before moving forward.
It's like you have to go on a road trip and don’t know the way. Your GPS is showing a route that is all red, blocked with traffic. Now, only when you really want to get there, that you will make efforts to exhaust your search options to see what best suits your plans. And trust me, there is always a way. It just depends on how far are you ready to stretch, how important is it for you to get there, what all sacrifices have gone into it?
And once when you walk that path, you know all the obstacles and also the ways to overcome them. That is passion. Thomas Edison did not fail 1000 times, he discovered 1000 ways that won’t work.
Likewise, it takes passion, courage, and effort to be the best. How about strategy?
This is the 21st century and you have to work smart. You need to know, what you need to know and also what you don’t need to know. Both are equally important.
This is the reason what I have in store for you. You have read extensively how to be a business analyst? Like what all things you should be studying, certifications, experience, etc. There is, however, little said about what is the secret behind the ones who really make it to the top.
There is a whole pool of business analysts in the market. Me being one, I can tell you, it seems we are a whole race. Especially when we enter the online forums, it feels so good to be a part of the community of the like-minded people who share the same dream. Yet, you will find a few who actually have it in them to rise to the top. There is noise, less music.
I happen to come across this person from States, who had done well. Will not name him, but he is at the top of his career slots. I felt lucky for I was able to get some really valuable piece of advice that has stayed on with me. It was on a thread we connected and ultimately when we had discussed it far enough, only two of us remained. That was where we decided to get to know each other personally.
I will not say he mentored me, but yes, I have learned a lot from him. The best advice comes in the most simple terms. You just need to connect it in real-life. I bring to you that treasure here.
Yes! it is that simple but very deep. If only you can relate to the roles and responsibilities you carry out daily. You may be the one who is aspiring to be a business analyst or is somewhere working on a different profile and looking at a career change or the one who is already a business analyst but is failing to connect. You can be anyone. This advice goes as it is put.
Understand the role of the business analyst. You need to look for ways to do it. You are the trump card for success for your organization. The epicentre will decide the direction of growth.
This is the demand of your profile. Step back and look at the larger picture. You will see yourself in the middle of the whole show. This is you and if you are not there, then you ought to find out ways to get there. Once you are there only then you become the true business analyst. The one that will be in great demand.
If you ask me, how to get that kind of understanding? It's simple. Break your tasks into simple blocks. One is the short-term goal and the next is the long-term end. Now see if your daily actions are actually taking you in that direction? Are your decisions worthy enough? Once you are able to answer both these you will keep getting closer to the centre.
What a short word? Isn’t it? We all know that. Yet many of us do not practice it. The worst mistake any analyst makes is to get the problem wrong. And it happens. Mostly everyone makes such mistakes in the beginning. We all have our bags full of these but we learned.
Insight does not mean metrics or statistics. It just means you need to develop a deeper understanding of the issue at hand. You need to know what the problem is all about first. No statistics, or metrics or anything will be helpful unless you know what you have to solve.
Some of the best minds in the industry feel that the best business analysts have that ability to look into the problem and properly structure it in a Business Analysis framework. This solves 75 percent of the problem even without the solution. The mistake that most people often make is to not understand the problem statement well and end up checking through irrelevant details and metrics. Many even come to a conclusion, interestingly with full confidence to something that was nowhere near the core problem at hand.
Hence, this secret formula is mastered with practice. Do not jump to find solutions and information. Study the problem statement. Look for the primary pain-point. Then get to business. See which department in your organization is best equipped to deal with it. Organize your solutions and the whole plan of action. Decide the roles and time frame. Get to work.
Also, the old formula of 5 Ws and 1H does really help. Some old wisdom never becomes obsolete. Logic and common sense wrapped in technical knowledge and experience do the trick. Try it.
Apart from knowing your subject well and your organization’s vision and your core team, you need to play your part well. If you are not able to communicate and make others believe what you say, you are not a good analyst and you can never be. You may need to play like a diplomat. Your choice of words, tone, pitch, and intonation will have an impact. You have to know what to say, when and how. Mind you, every bit is significant. You might not get a second chance and even if you do, chances are your clients or investors or team-mates haven’t really foregone the first version. Remember, it is all a game of words. You may have to be a translator in one moment and a negotiator in other.
The last bit is important. There are situations when you have to listen to two parties with conflicting lines of thought over the same issue. Here, not only you have to find common ground but also tactically bring them there in a way that it seems to them, that they always wanted to be there.
Many top managers are of the view that this skill of negotiation, between people not only from different fields like core IT and management but also from different ethnicities who have their own jargon and ways of addressing the issues, is essential. It is something that separates the best business analysts from the rest.
This one is a little deep but trust me, it is priceless. When I was told about it, I could not relate to it remotely and had to work on it every single day. I realized how superfluous the approach was I living with. It is something about perspective, about a vision, about your ability to be far-sighted, to have a keen look so you can decipher the larger picture and cause.
You will have to train your mind for it. Not the formal training but the one that happens every day. You may be at any stage of your life but if you aspire to be featured among the best business analysts in the world, then you start practicing it.
You don’t really have to be in the office set-up to do it. Do it in your personal life. The idea is to start thinking big. Everything has perspectives. A decision as small as going to buy groceries can have different perspectives. Develop one of your own. Weigh each option. You may be the main decision-maker or you may be the edge player, you can have an opinion and you should know how to convey it.
This is what the management looks for in a business analyst. He may be all dry, or knee-deep into water or the water may have reached his throat, he knows how to approach the situation in a logical way. He does not lose his cool and seeks to address the pain-point and not just get out of the thick.
Best business analysts have that higher sense of business. They might be from an IT background, but they know how to put the puzzle together. They make an effort to dig deep. They will not just make a purchase decision, even though it is critical, but it will take time to understand how that will fit in the final finances, etc. They have a perspective that is not founded on thin air but sheer effort and quest.
The role will not end there. Remember the center. Yes, they have to keep everyone together on the same page. It is a part of the role to explain to them the larger benefits of the purchase. Imagine, if you have a perspective and you do not convey to your team or are not able to explain it to them, do you think it's of any use?
Always keep in mind that you will be the first person to be approached for any upcoming business need, the first line of contact and backup. It may be the client, the implementation team or even post-implementation, it will always be you.
So, your concepts have to be bang on perfect. No second thoughts on that.
Everything has its own set of limitations. Even you, even me. We all have our limitations. No matter how good we get at a field, there are some pockets that never sink in. These do not have to be highlighted but at the same time not ignored as well.
Technology also comes with limitations. Business analysts have to be smart enough to know those limitations and if they are not apparent, then work them out. Every big initiative taken up by the business has to go through that reality-filter before going through.
It is the role of the business analyst to show a clear picture. There are some things that are technically not possible and even if they are, then they are heavy on costs. It simply makes no sense to pursue such ideas.
However, you cannot just simply get up and say that it makes no sense. Possibly no one will understand and even if they do, they might not like it. Especially the one who gave that idea, will have 1000 reasons ready to make it seem like the next big thing. Hence, you have to substantiate your stance and convey it with facts and figures along with some market research, the feasibility analysis and ultimately the profit. You have to show the bigger picture and let them then decide what you had stated in the beginning.
Yes, you read it right. You have to be the people’s person. Someone everyone wants to talk to, someone who can be approached. It can be challenging for some people especially if you are coming from backgrounds like IT or other technical fields. In such cases, the management takes time to believe your decisions as compared to the people who have management backgrounds. This is a trend that cannot be bypassed. It's like a growth cycle and you have to go through that phase. But, nonetheless, no one can rule out the fact that some of the best business analysts come from backgrounds as diverse as accounting, IT, procurement, product planning, etc. And despite the initial hiccups they are doing well.
The bottom line still is, that it is your call and your effort and you have to prove yourself. It is your dream and no one knows it better than you, that how bad you have been wanting it and how much effort you have put to be there. So, now there can be no reason that a few people who are not ready to accept you are able to shake that confidence away. The opinion of others cannot be stronger than your own convictions.
You take it with a pinch of salt that you will not be accepted in the first go. But, eventually, you will. No one can hide the sun in you. And building that kind of confidence takes time.
This means a lot and it will take you far. You are as efficient as your team and it is thus important to have a great team. Is that it?
Well, no! A great team is not gifted, you have to build it. People can have great potential and yet not be performing well due to work or personal pressures. Reach out to them. Learn to respect their issues and approaches. Acknowledge any good idea and encourage.
Connect with your team. This will take you all higher. You cannot connect sitting on your desk over some office chat. Connection happens in person. Be a help in their projects. Give ideas to make things better. Also, chip in your efforts in things they are involved in. You might just learn a new skill and win a team-mate for life.
Great business analysts are not born. They are made- by self-effort, conviction, and passion. They don’t believe in settling. They constantly search for more fuelled by passion and an energy that never runs out. Remember, your vibe and energy will be enough to charge people around you and the rest will be handled by your speech.
The secrets I shared are no magic, but they lie inside you. Just explore yourself a bit more and work on them one by one, every single day. And, soon you will meet the best business analyst in your organization in your mirror. And, of course, we will love to meet him or her too. Do share it with us.
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