The Business Analyst is a key role in any software project and he is responsible mainly for the output from the analysis which phase is critical for the software project success, in this article we will discuss 5 core competencies that business analyst should have. let us go through them.
Creative thinking is the process by which we generate new ideas, imagine possibilities, and find relationships among seemingly unrelated concepts.
Why creativity of thinking is required for the analyst?
- Establishing and generation of new and radical ideas and approaches of thinking out of the box.
- Convince others about these new ideas.
- Transform these ideas into action.
When the customer is facing a problem or a challenge, the analyst should think of new ideas that can be more efficient to satisfy the requirements and generate new added values and benefits to the customer business and solve his challenges, for example, if the beneficiary would like to have a system to track his customers’ complaints, there may be many solutions exist to perform this job, like, a custom-made application to just log these complaints or maybe Customer relationship management (CRM) system with customizable workflow to automated the customer’s complaints resolving cycle. This can be a new thing for the customer and was not considered before.
Decision Making is an essential process for all organization and making right decisions are more crucial. A logical and systematic way of decision making can help to address critical problems of business more precisely.
Why Decision Making is required for the analyst?
- To convince the stakeholders and decision makers in choosing a specific solution. The analyst may need to decide and convince himself/herself first about the solution.
- To address how this solution will solve their existing problems.
- To address the impact and benefits of this solution.
- Based on the previous ideas (CRM vs Custom made application) If the analyst discovers that the CRM product will be more suitable for the customer needs.
- He/She should address why choosing the CRM, for example; workflow from receiving the complaint till solving it, monitoring the bottleneck of pending the complaints, measure process performance, efficiency on solving customers’ complaints…etc.
- He/She should decide what are the functionalities that matters to the customer and what are not a necessity to have.
- Sometimes these decisions are not taken only by the analyst but he is a key influencer for those decisions.
Continuous Learning and Exploration
Continouse Learning to have deep knowledge about the business and problem domain and to explore the new trends in the industry and different analysis techniques.
Why Learning is needed for the analyst?
- To know and be specialized in the business domain, for example, the financial domain for example.
- Well-Knowledge of the issues, trends and the related challenges may exist in this business domain.
- Can form any solution based on this learning and the previous experience.
- Learning about the customer, his strategy, needs, challenges, the pain points, …etc.
- The analyst needs to explore new tools, trends, the industry challenges, the ecosystem, …etc.
- If the beneficiary has a telephony system which is needed to be integrated with the CRM application to facilitate the complaints logging and creation through automatic number identification of the caller.
- In this case, the analyst should be well known for the product will be chosen to satisfy this requirement, and how this requirement will be implemented.
- This will be based on his knowledge of this domain and the technology used as well and its capabilities.
Problem-solving is a mental process; part of the larger problem process that includes problem finding and problem shaping and its related to the decision-making process.
Why problem-solving is required for the analyst?
- He /she needs this skill to understand what is the problem and to break it down in an analytical understandable way.
- He/she should know many techniques to analyze this problem.
- Need to convince the decision makers of the chosen solution based on problem finding and analysis. Moreover, to illustrate the pros and cons of this solution.
- After addressing the main pain and problem beneficiary is facing.
- He/she needs to write them down, to know which the best way to identify the required application, and why this way or scenario is the best for solving it, what are the assumptions the analyst take to reach this conclusion.
System thinking is the process of understanding how things influence one another within a whole system.
Why system thinking is required for the analyst?
- The whole system is composed of many components, the basic unit, which comprise several entities (e.g. processes, rules, and people) and may be broken down into further sub-components. The analyst should be aware of these components and how they are related to each other.
- Understanding of the system will enable understanding the effect of any change may on the whole system functions.
- Identifying how the system can be adapted dynamically to those changes.
- To understand the system limitation and when the system cannot absorb any new changes.
- Some projects contain more than one system and each system can have more than one component, the analyst here should be able to understand the role of each one and what are the stakeholders’ needs for each one of them.
- Some of the commercial off-the-shelf products have restrictions to meet special requirements, so the analyst should be aware of these restrictions and these restrictions shall be notified to decision makers. Others have a limitation on workflow design and customization, so the analyst should know these limitations and how the system can handle a workaround or special development or customizations to achieve the requirements and needs.
- The analyst should draw the system context and links and how any change will affect this context with the identification of issues or risks may exist after applying these changes.
I hope this article illustrates these core capabilities and competencies the analyst should have. Looking forward to your comments and any additional competencies you think it is essential for the business analysts.