Business analysts are known as agents of change. They are not just there to bring about inspiring generic improvements but also speed up the way work is done. As a business analyst in one of the well-known organizations, I can typically state that there is so much a business analyst can do to make the business reach the zenith of success. It is a little bit of everything that you should know that you should handle and that you have to improve. There has to be intense interest backed by sound experience and a great motivated team that will make things happen around you with ease.
It may seem fun, which is, to some extent, but largely, and honestly, it takes a lot of yourself. The profile demands a high amount of commitment and a promise to stay put despite the hardships and setbacks. Remember, every sunrise will bring in new hope and challenges. The profile is such that you need to maintain your cool and poise to deal with every situation one by one. There is nothing you can do about situations, yet you have to keep going to get the resolution.
You will indirectly be a part of every vertical of your organization. Many vital business decisions are based on your inputs, and hence every little piece of information you furnish has to be backed by sound and intensive research. Everything is easy, yet nothing can be taken easily. That is the beauty of the job. It is your passion for research, communication and a basic analytical mindset that will take you places. I love it because to date in the last four years; there hasn’t been a day when there was nothing new. It could be a minute thing you can think of, but yes I learned every day of it.
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Read: Why is a Business Analyst Best Fit for Scrum Environment?
Now, let me take you through the real journey of success and tell you exactly what it takes to be a great business analyst.
1. Roles and Responsibilities of a Business Analyst
A business analyst is involved in the processes to improve business processes by using data. The primary role largely involves gathering, examining, and then synthesizing information for the understanding of various patterns and trends. It is by the use of this data, that business analysts will make suitable suggestions of many new ways of managing and optimization of processes. The idea is to ensure that the whole set of programs started by your organization are working optimally for the best outcomes. Here is a list of responsibilities that a Business Analyst is supposed to undertake:
- Understanding the Business Requirements: One of the primary roles of every Business analyst is to work in sync with the project stakeholders and typically understand their requirements. Once they have understood, they work with the developers to translate their requirements in suitable detail. A lot of time needs to be spent on meetings with the clients to know the requirements of the project. This time spent saves the time of the development team.
- Various Business Possibilities: As a business analyst, you are required to work with the primary stakeholders and other important people linked with the project. The business analyst does this by transforming the initial goal into something more realistic and workable.
- Presentation: Now, the presentation of the work holds great significance. As a business analyst, all your capabilities are nullified if you are not able to present it well. You will be required to give many presentations about things like the project requirements, the designs of the applications so made by the development team and also many other kinds of business requirements. Remember, the audience is highly learned people who have immense knowledge about the subject you are discussing and are highly interested in knowing every word you say. So everything will matter, what you say and how you say it.
- Project Detailing: One of the other responsibilities is to be able to articulate the details of the project well. This usually involves working with a huge number of people in the organization and ensure the understanding of their knowledge, and scale the feasibility of the same. Often this is taken up at the beginning to know if the project has to be undertaken or not.
- Supporting the Implementation: A business analyst, as I mentioned before, has to be present until the end of the project. The role is such that there has to be proper monitoring of the implementation of various requirements to ensure the whole team is on the same page and is working as per the stated client requirements. In case there are any constraints related to the technical aspects he or she has to work on the same with the rest of the team to meet the requirements of the business. This becomes even more pronounced in case of new solutions where the analyst will have to understand the needs and requirements of the stakeholders. They have to go to the extent of performance testing of the new product or solution. They might be required to prepare user documentation, training and acceptance
- Functional and Non-Functional Requirements: A business analyst has to work on both the functional and non-functional aspects of the business. While the former is related to what the project has to handle, the latter comprises how it will be handled effectively. The non-functional requirements of the project are said to be far more important than the functional ones.
- User Testing: The responsibilities of the business analyst do not end with delineating the needs and requirements of the project. The role also involves ensuring that the product that has been delivered has met the client and the user expectation or not. Thus, when the product reaches the final development stages the business analyst should start putting it through various user-testing scenarios. This, if done prudently, almost makes sure that the product will give the expected result.
- Documentation: This is another vital role of the analyst that one has to undertake with great care. They have to prepare highly informative, coherent and other kinds of professional documentation for the products. The documentation has to be perfect and to the point. Remember, documentation of your work is highly important in this profile.
- Team Building: You are nothing without your team. It is always up to you how you want your team to be and how you want it to perform. This comes on slowly, but once you have the right men in place who understand and are also able to follow your instructions accordingly, there is no looking back. Good teams are not hired but are built. You have to build your teams by constant reinforcement and empowering them with a lot of energy and positivity.
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Now that you know in detail what all you have to do and how far you have to stretch to complete your daily tasks. I can summarize the above by saying that the business analyst basically works as a facilitator, a contributor Let me know also discuss what all skills are required for you to furnish the above tasks with ease.
2. Skills Needed for a Business Analyst
There are some skills that are highly essential for this role. It is not always the technical skills that are important, but for profiles like these, the non-technical skills play a significant role. Being a business analyst, you have to have a keen vision and be able to foresee the future of the product or project. This means that your planning should be sound enough that you actually write the destiny of the project and there is nothing that comes your way. This is not a fairy-tale but is possible with planning and hard work. The below-mentioned skills, I feel, are more important than formal education in business studies.
- Analytical Skills: This is not acquired or learned but often comes naturally to a person. There are people I have met who have a natural tendency to analyze everything thrown at them. They will not accept anything without logic. Along with this, as you will be constantly involved in data analysis and research, so you should be well-aware of the various analysis methods.
- Leadership: Definitely, you have to be the one who is a leader. You have to set paths and communicate effectively, so your team wants to listen to you and believe in your capability. Everything comes easily to a person who is a born leader, especially the productivity of your team. It will also help you foster your position in the organization you are serving.
- Planning: Not everyone is good at it. People often state that they can plan meticulously but often fail due to the lack of vision to see the future. Out of my personal experience, I can add that planning only comes after extensive research and understanding the requirements of the client. Everything has to match the potential of your team. You cannot overcommit, and likewise, under-commit as both the extremes are suicidal. Only after careful planning and charting out the blueprint can you set the right expectations of your client. The experience will definitely refine you, but you should inherently have that will to work more than required.
- Technical Skills: As the name goes, it means knowledge of almost every technical process taking place in the organization. Imagine, you are taking up a project that requires your organization to develop a new app and a related website in a stipulated time-frame. Now, unless you have knowledge about the app and website building, the software on which they are developed, the design process and details, the testing phase, you will not be able to undertake related research or draw a suitable plan for the same. Again, this has to be matched with the resources you have at your disposal, and definitely your team. Every aspect has to be taken into account. Hence, a piece of basic knowledge about these processes proves very handy in great decision-making. Decisions so made on concrete and measurable metrics hardly ever prove wrong.
- Time Management: Like every significant business role demands effective time management, likewise being a business analyst is no different. There is a lot in your platter and everything is linked with a deadline that you cannot afford to miss or avoid. Hence, if you are not sorted out with how much time you have to give to which part and when soon you will see things fall apart irreversibly. Any amount of knowledge or skills cannot help unless you know how to manage your time well.
- Communication Skills: You will need to communicate with multiple people inside and outside your organization. Communication skills as it largely misunderstood not just stand for how to speak but the art of listening as well. You will have to work along with cross-functional teams, and nothing is possible without communication. Another vital part is the need for effective documentation that which comes after practice. You may have strong language but what to add where and when is important and usually comes after practice. Being too straightforward is seen as being detrimental to your position. Many times, you will realize that giving too much information to your client also hurts, hence the art is to be diplomatic in your approach.
Having these skills is simply indispensable, but that does not mean that these will tide over all the challenges. However, here I have also mentioned the challenges that will come across your way.
3. Challenges that Come the Way of a Business Analyst
It is out of my bag of experiences that I can say that the biggest challenge that you will face is how to bring about the change that you have worked out on paper. Now, as a business analyst in your organization, you will be expected by your seniors to bring about the apparent change in the way they have been conducting business in terms of marketing, research, and development. However, the real challenge creeps in implementation as you are then also required to implement the same by making the employees who are already used to a given work process, work in a different manner. Here is where the real performance of your abilities will lie.
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Likewise, you will also be expected to convince the client and understand the needs well. It becomes a problem when a client comes to you with impossible expectations. You, as an analyst not only have to convince them to work with your organization but effectively set the expectations so that you do not overcommit.
I also feel that I should also mention the roles that you can get into as a Business Analyst.
4. Possible Careers of a Business Analyst
- Business Analyst: You will be required to analyze both the requirements of the business and the client. Based on this, you will have to come up with new designs and planning for their implementation.
- Business Process Analyst: This role involves a lot of thinking. You will have to gather information from the process details and then link the same to the business objectives. Based on this, you are required to make various process improvements.
- IT Business Analyst: This involves giving shape to technical solutions based on client inputs. Solutions to various problems and improve software processes, products, software, and services.
- Data Analyst: As the name suggests, one is required to interpret data and turn it into more meaningful information and improvement in businesses.
- Functional Analyst: This involves a mixture of roles in terms of business analysts, product managers, and UX analyst.
- UX Analyst: The primary focus is on customer experience as they work on software, websites, products, etc.
Every industry or organization needs a business analyst and optimize their processes. Business analysts are finding their place in Information Technology, Security, Computer Systems, Finance, and now even in the Government Sector. The role I must reiterate is challenging yet equally interesting, and if you develop the knack for it, I bet you will love every bit of time you spend on your job. Yes, certifications do help a lot in getting the right placement. So get one to get the dream break. Do not forget to share your experiences with us.
Read: How Important is to Have Domain Knowledge of a Business Analyst?
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