Saturday, March 15, 2008

Best of a Business Analyst

SOMEONE RECENTLY POSTED A QUESTION to the BA community at large to the effect of identifying 'universal skill-set' for a Business Analyst.

A variety of responses were received in the public forum, some of which (including mine) were chosen under the 'good answer' category.

At the outset, the field of business analysis is far too wide, spread-out and pan-industry to have a single set-of-skills. However, in terms of 'universal' skill-set for analysis in business, a certain personality traits could contribute to the arsenal of an effective Business Analyst.

A Business Analyst is a management consultant in the making, and IMHO, basically you need a balanced personality between the ears and having:
  • common-sense
  • ability of seeing the Big (macro) picture in smaller (micro) details
  • neutrality of judgement (having the effect of 'being' external)
  • poly-point-of-views, with negotiation skills
  • stakeholder management with the ability to provide (respective) 'views' to each party, with appropriate statistics
  • domain knowledge (up to the required depth and degree)
  • the skill of identifying and collating the correct data-set; separating facts from fictions
  • ability to grasp the correct context/structure/'currents' surrounding the problem-at-hand
  • accurate understanding of the criticality of time-management w.r.t. the problem-at-hand
  • ability to anchor responsibility
  • effective communication (especially astute listening skills)
  • ability of blending intuition and insight with analytical abilities
  • ability of quickly getting in sync with the 'economics' surrounding the problem-at-hand
  • the idea of when and how to stop, and say 'No'
Other attributes, such as ability to break down the problem into manageable/logical categories; fluency with a given technology, tool-set or methodology; are likely to be important attributes, but are rather not 'universal'.

You are welcome to add to/comment upon the list above.

An effective Business Analyst would execute most of the attributes given above. An experienced consultant, however, would execute only the required attributes from this list - for his/her main skill is to accurately identify what is required the most among the skill-set for a given assignment.

The ultimate aim is to bring about 'customer delight' that may or may not include/depend upon the success of the given project.

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