The Power of a Business Analyst..

Last week, I got the chance to attend a training program organized by SLASSCOM and ESI for Business Analysts. The program was named " Revolutionize  Your Business: The Power of of the Business Analyst" and was conducted by Glenn R. Brule   who is a Business Analyst himself and does carry out training programs regarding business analysis all around the world.  

The program was a superb one and I learned a lot from Glenn on various functions and techniques that can be carried out when performing business analysis procedures. His presentation was one of the best I have attended so far and his approach was very unique, educational and entertaining at the same time. This post covers some of the main points that he discussed during his presentation which I thought, of sharing with all of you who didn't get to attend his program. 

The Business Analyst  Provides the Input to the Project  ( Via Requirements)

Any IT project is carried out according to a set of requirements provided by the clients and the role of the Business Analyst is to get those requirements down correctly and accurately. The project will go forward according to the requirements gathered by the BA so, if the requirements are incorrect  the whole project will be a disaster. As explained by Mr. Brule,  a holistic view can be provided regarding the role of a BA The view consists of  3 main components which includes,

  • Elicitation  ( Obtaining the Requirements from the end users / customers  )
  • Analysis   ( Breaking the requirements to understandable language to all stakeholders of the project )
  • Assessment  ( Understanding which requirements can be carried forward and which ones needs to be dropped  by coordinating with all the stakeholders of the project)

All the above 3 components point to requirements.The BA is responsible to elicit, analyze and asses requirements accurately so that the right requirements are gathered and the project is carried forward correctly benefiting all the stakeholders of the project. 

A Good Business Analyst has some unique Skills

As pointed out by Mr. Brule,  a good Business Analysis have some unique skills which helps him/ her to carry out his/her task more accurately and efficiently. This skills are listed below.

  • Knowledge  ( On the business domain, about the customer , on the required goals and objectives)
  • Skill ( on the tools and the techniques )
  • Ability  ( to use the tools and techniques to benefit the customer as well as yourself)
  • Attitude  ( The correct mindset to carry out the task accurately and efficiently)

By having the above skills, a BA can always face the challengers they get when facing the clients head on and and carrying out their tasks accurately. Any aspiring BA should try to have and build these skills, if they do their task would be far more easy to carry out.

A Business Analyst is not a Project Manager 

A lot of people mistake a BA  to a PM and thinks that the PM also plays the BA's role.  This could be true when it comes to small projects but in most cases, the BA's role is carried out by a different person who is solely allocated to that task. The role of a PM is to create project goals and milestones, asses the project progress and monitor how each member of the project team carry out their specific tasks.

The BA is the guy who interacts with the customers,  get their requirements and project it towards the whole team and tells them what needs to be done. If the PM tries to perform this task alone, it could be a very tedious task and includes a lot of risks. So its best to have a proper Business Analyst for each project  since he/she is trained and have the skills to carry out those tasks.  A BA may have a goal to become a PM someday. That  is simply ok and is a great goal to have. But performing Business Analysis and Project Management together is not a good approach to complete a successful project.

Don't be the Witness when getting the Requirements 

A good BA should always be aware on how they communicate with his/her clients when getting requirements. As said by Mr. Brule, "You should not be the witness when getting the requirements"Customers are always willing to give various requirements regarding the project so the BA should be aware of that and should not give a lead or more specifically give them a head start on certain requirements. For example check out the conversation below which was role played by Mr. Brule with one guy in the audience.

BA:  So Sir i see that you want this spaceship to be built to go to the Moon?

Customer:  Yes I do

BA:  So what do you want it to do ? Go to the Moon in 4 Hours ?

Customer:  Hmmm.. that would be great. I want it to go to the Moon in 4 Hours.

As you can see from the highlighted text in the conversation, the BA provides the client a hint for a requirement and the client thinking the BA and his team can do anything , gives that hint as a requirement. A good BA should not do that and act and should ask the correct questions at the correct time to get the correct requirements from the client.  If such a situation as above occurs, you could tell the client that we cannot do that or it is a bit unrealistic. But the client would not be satisfied as they would surely ask you for an alternative. So be careful when engaging with your clients when getting requirements. Asking the correct questions is a must to get accurate requirements and as I said at the top "Don't be the Witness" .

Get Certified to Improve and Enhance Your Business Analysis Skills

To climb the ladder of Business Analysis, Every aspiring BA should get the certified. This is the only way you can get more knowledge and improve your skills to reach the top.  There are several certifications available including IIBA certification (which is also available in Sri Lanka now) , SCRUM certification ,  Agile certification etc. It's not wrong to get certified , that will any BA to enhance their skills , enhance their job opportunities and also compete with the best BA's all around the world. So get certified , it won't harm you anytime.

So.that's a gist of the points mentioned by Mr. Glenn.R.Brule  during  presentation. I could have listened to him all day as his presentation was very educational and entertaining at the same time.  I also understood that I need to do a lot to be the best when it comes to Business Analysis and these points really helped me and showed me a path on how to carry out my tasks in the future more efficiently and accurately.  I hope you also got some knowledge through it too.

Let me take this opportunity to also thank SLASSCOM and ESI for doing a great job with this program and I hope they would continue keeping these kind of training programs as it would be a great stepping stone to all individuals who plan to gain success in their own business, work , domain.

Have a Great Weekend Everyone..

Cheers !!

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