Really important question and every business analyst professional should be asking this question.
What can I do to become a better business analyst?
Another related question would be – How can I become a more valued and respected business analyst in the organisation so that I can have a more satisfying career?
I saw this question on Quora and thought it to be important to write a post on it. Though I have answered it there as well in short.
My recommendations to be a better business analyst
As an IT professional, I have spent many years in the IT industry and several of them as business analyst professional. My own experience and talking to the business analysts and customers, I have come up with 5 things, a business analyst can do to be better performing.
Be really good at problem solving
Business analysis is all about problem solving. When you are developing (part of a software development team) a software, you are actually solving the customer problem. When you are implementing a product (like SAP) or creating a reporting module or creating cron processes, all of these are solutions to customer problems.
The problem here has a broader connotation. It refers to issues, opportunity & challenges. Organisations are faced with problems everyday. Solving the problem effectively is what the organisations looking for?
So, to be better at your job, you need to be better at problem solving.
Develop domain expertise
Domain or subject matter expertise helps you to not only understand the customer problem better but also helps you to add value to the solution. Your experience with similar implementation enables you to identify points of failure, opportunities to improve and in so many other ways. That makes you a very competent and sought after professional.
Banking, Financial services and Insurance (BFSI) is the top revenue earner for the IT industry, so you can choose any specific area from BFSI segment and choose to gain experience in that.
Please remember that domain expertise takes years and with actual project experience.
Improve your presentation skills
As a business analyst, your day to day job will involve making presentations – requirements, prototypes, process flows, strategy analysis, capability analysis model and so on. These presentations could be face-to-face, telephonic, web meeting etc. Being able to clearly convey, what you would like to, is paramount. Strong presentation skills helps a long way in gaining customer and internal team confidence.
Choice of techniques and approaches
There are multiple techniques and approaches for conducting business analysis activities. There are no standard model/framework, which allows you to select the suitable approach or technique like Agile or waterfall or an elicitation technique. The ability to choose the right one(s) comes with experience and observing – what worked and what didn’t in previous projects.
The ability to choose the right set of techniques for business analysis avoids waste (spending effort in not so useful activities or spending on learning)
Keep up with the latest technology
Its important for every business analyst to keep up with the tech trends. You don’t need to take a deep dive, but just having an executive understanding is good enough.
These are some of the things, you can do to become a better business analyst and be valued more. All the best.