Business analysis is a discipline that focuses on ensuring that changes implemented in an organisation align with the strategic goals or direction of the organisation. And to successfully accomplish that, the business analyst would have to square-up to several challenges that demand a host of skills, competencies and expertise.
For some people, these skills or competencies may come naturally, while for some others, it may just require some measure of training and perhaps a lot of practice to develop them
As per me, not in a particular order, the below five most important skills one must possess to be effective and productive on the job of a business analyst;
#1. Problem-solving skills
Every change opportunity comes with its own problems/challenges and these are inevitable episodes in any piece of work or project. So, problem-solving skills can be things like a curious state of mind, analytical thinking, creative and imaginative reasoning. It can also mean having a flexible attitude toward issues resolution and even the ability to challenge the norm or status quo. It involves having an analytical and systematic approach to issue resolution.
Every change opportunity comes with its own problems and challenges
As a BA, you can’t escape solving problems and it’s simply because business analysts are problem solvers. We are constantly looking for ways to meet and satisfy organizational needs. Whether it’s in relation to IT systems implementation, business processes improvement, organizational strategy development, new product launches, new markets discovery, name it. We’re always seeking out solutions to prevailing problems.
Therefore, to thrive and not just survive in an environment like this, you’ll have a need for some problem-solving skills.
#2. Communication skills
Communication is the exchange of information between two or more parties. And it happens via a number of routes such as writing/documenting, speaking, listening or presenting. It incorporates the effective use of body language to convey messages and intentions. Business analysts are often judged to be the bridge between the business and technical teams. For they act more like a ‘conduit pipe’ or ‘liaison’ by facilitating the flow of communication between both worlds. In light of this, communication is a very important part of a BA’s work.
The Business Analyst acts as a ‘conduit’ or ‘liaison’ between the business & tech team
Imagine a situation where as a BA you have elicited all the requirements, created all the artefacts, researched all the solutions and written all the recommendations. But without communicating these to anyone in the team, not to the business, project, technical, suppliers, regulators or even the finance teams. Imagine the chaos, confusion, the waste of time and efforts.
#3. Organisational skills
Organisational skills refer to the ability of an individual to plan, prioritise and execute tasks in an orderly, systematic and efficient manner. It involves things like attention to details, good decision-making, proper time management, effective management of workloads, ability to meet deadlines, to lead oneself and others.
The BA succeeds with this skill simply because of the significance, enormity and severity of the work he does. With organisational skills, you’re more inclined to working smart and efficient at delivering high-quality outputs.
# 4. People skills
People are central to the work of a business analyst, hence, the need for people (soft or interpersonal) skills. These type of skills are those that play out when we relate, interact, consult or collaborate with humans ~ individually or collectively. It’s usually the capacity of an individual to display empathy; a firm state of social and emotional intelligence.
So, for a BA, it’s that ability to build connections with people in a very humane manner in order to productively achieve an end goal. Sometimes, it could mean being able to accommodate even people who disagree with your views, opinions or perspectives.
People are central to the work of a business analyst, thus the need for people skills.
To effectively carry out the work of business analysis, a BA must be spontaneously good at building relationships and striking a chord with people, regardless of background, discipline or culture. This is where the concept of stakeholder management becomes very key and applicable.
# 5. Technical skills
To have technical skill in an area is to have the domain knowledge in that particular area. It is the ability of an individual to perform a specialized task in a given field. Some examples include; IT skills, project management skills, data analysis skills, coding or programming skills, requirements elicitation skills and many more.
Just as in any other profession, having a domain knowledge in your field of work is so liberating and at the same time, empowering. It positions you as a thought-leader or an authority and a relevant voice on any piece of work or project. With these type of skills, you naturally become a ‘go-to-person’ in and for your team.
As a business analyst ~ aspiring, beginner or experienced ~ you don’t have to be extraordinarily good in all of these areas. But, you only have to be good, capable or competent enough to draw on these competencies whenever the need for them arises.
For instance, you don’t have to be a tech-savvy to play the role of a business analyst on a project. You only need to know sufficient enough to get you through talks and conversations with your stakeholders. And as a matter of fact, there would always be subject matter experts (SMEs) on the project team whose job description is to provide clarity in matters demanding deep technical explanations.
Article Credits : Harihara Subramaniam