Business analysts have evolved into one of the most important resources in every organization. There is a growing demand for business analysts due to the value that they drive for business operations. However, business analysis can be an overwhelming career considering the large set of day-to-day responsibilities of a business analyst. But, don’t worry, if you are a business analyst, you must be aware of how Best Practices For Business Analysts can come in handy for you to carry out the tasks efficiently.
Now using practices and strategies in business analysis usually necessitates providing the necessary groundwork to guarantee upfront agreement on what the analysis is anticipated to deliver. This could involve things like having a deeper grasp of how external influences are affecting the company’s growth strategy or creating an action plan, and so on.
If you are someone working as a business analyst or are going to start your business analysis journey, you can explore our business analysis certification training courses that can help give your career a boost.
In this guide, let us briefly take a look at top best practices that will allow you to make your business analysis job easier and much more manageable.
10 Practices to Effective Business Analysis
We have a list of top 10 steps that you can consider for effectively and efficiently carrying out your day-to-day business analysis responsibilities. These top 10 steps can be your guide to adopting the best practices as a business analyst for smooth operations.
Develop Excellent Communication Skills
To be truly effective as a business analyst, you must possess excellent communication skills. You should be able to get your point across and have it understood, regardless of whether you are communicating face-to-face, over the telephone, or in writing. This should also apply to both one-to-one and group communication.
“Great business analysts know effective communication isn’t an option; it’s a necessity,” says Kiesha Frue, in an article written for PESTLE Analysis. “Any hiccups in these discussions create more work for everyone involved.”
Gain Clarity As Early As Possible
Next, a good business analyst will attempt to gain real clarity before deep diving into a project. As Laura Brandenburg points out in an article for Bridging the Gap, business analysts could be expected to contribute to a project that has already started or a project that is still at the conception stage.
Clarity on the scope of work, business analysis approach, context, stakeholders, etc. are important as lack of clarity leads to gaps ad missed requirements, and cost/schedule overruns.
Therefore, it is essential that you take the time to gain as much insight as possible. This means being clear on your own role, the project history, existing processes and systems, and the main business objectives.
Take Time to Learn About Stakeholders
Close collaboration is at the heart of all good projects. For this reason, it is important that project team members make the effort to learn about the different stakeholders and develop an effective stakeholder management plan.
As a business analyst, you should know which team members are responsible for which parts of the project, who the various leaders and sponsors are, and who has a stake in the project at the executive level. Some business analysts take the time to create a document outlining different stakeholders, their role, their influence, etc.
Create Your Own Business Analysis Plan
Creating a plan for conducting business analysis activities aligned with the project management plan is critical. The business analysis plan is not a separate plan but part of the overall project management plan and is done in collaboration with the project manager.
Such a plan should define the project’s requirements and set realistic expectations for what you will achieve.
Be Willing to Offer the Alternative Options
One of the major parts of the job is to be willing to speak up and point out potential problems or pitfalls with a project. Indeed, depending on the project, this can sometimes lead to situations where the business analyst is a lone voice urging caution or asking some of the more difficult questions.
However, as the BusinessAnalystLearnings website states, it is important that you are not just delivering bad news. Your job is to offer solutions to those problems and even if they are not ultimately accepted, it is essential to voice them. Acceptance or rejection is based on parameters decided to evaluate the merits of the options.
Understand the ‘Agile’ Approach
The role of the business analyst in the ‘Agile’ approach cannot be undermined and must be part of every business analyst training program. There has been considerable debate about whether business analysts are required or defined for Agile projects? Scrum does not define a role as a business analyst, rather it has a Product owner role. Nevertheless, BAs are increasingly playing a key role.
A growing number of Agile teams are realizing that output often fails to meet requirements without input from a BA. You should, therefore, make sure you understand Agile and how you can contribute.
Watch Now – Crafting Agile Requirements
Get Used to Dealing with Virtual Teams
As a modern business analyst, you must deal with the reality that faces many industries, which is that technology has made remote work more feasible and more popular. As a result, you may need to deal with virtual teams.
“With companies keen to use the best, and the cheapest, labour available, outsourcing and offshoring has taken off,” explains Penny Pullan, writing for the Strategy Execution blog. This brings its own challenges, including the use of virtual working technology, plus grappling with differences in language, culture, and time-zones.”
Play an Active Role in the Development
Once project development begins, it is crucial that a good business analyst continues to play an active role. This can be achieved by supporting key team members, ensuring that what they deliver is meeting the requirements that were defined earlier in the project life cycle, and guarding against scope creep.
“The BA must support the programmers by constantly reviewing their deliverables,” DVG states. “Management of scope changes, down to acceptance of the final product, is another business analysis best practice.”
Prioritize Solutions Over Attributing Blame
Throughout the course of your work on a project, a great way to improve the quality of your own performance and of the eventual outcome is to make a conscious effort to focus on solutions.
Put simply, this means that while you may uncover mistakes, you should not focus on blame. Instead, you should focus on helping to put things right. Not only is this a more productive and useful attitude to have, it will also help to create a better atmosphere on the project team, and to avoid unnecessary negativity.
Seek Feedback on Your Performance
Finally, the best business analysts seek feedback about the project itself, but also about their own performance. Part of effective business analysis is measuring success so that your value can be clearly demonstrated. You must also be open to criticism so that you can learn from it and improve your performance in the future.
One possible method here is to carry out a survey of the various individuals involved in the project. Ask them to honestly appraise your performance, and assess whether or not you delivered on your objectives.
Tips for Business Analyst –
Here are some tips that you can have a look at as these tips might come in handy for your business analysis profession or may even give you a good start if you are a beginner in the business analysis domain.
- Understand your role from your company’s point of view
First and foremost, you must determine your responsibilities as a business analyst. Make no assumptions about what you expect to happen. In truth, there is no commonly agreed-upon definition of the position of the business analyst. Therefore, it is important for you to understand your business analyst role from your organization’s point of view, rather than what you are expected to do.
- Collaborate and coordinate with your team members
Learn about everyone participating in the project, from the front-desk customer care representative to the project planner who keeps track of the schedule, the developer who turns your requirements into code, and the tester who checks the solution’s functionality. Take everything you can from them. You will know whom to seek for specific answers on various elements of the business if you create a pleasant relationship with your team.
- Accept constructive criticism
Accepting criticism without taking it personally is arguably one trait that requires a lot of practice. We all want to perform our best, so hearing that we can do better might be upsetting. Accepting constructive feedback, no matter how difficult it may be, is an excellent method to improve your skills.
- Don’t be hesitant to ask questions
It’s likely that the majority of the people in the room have the same question but are too afraid to ask it, especially if there are managers or customers present. When you need clarity, don’t be hesitant to ask for it. A minor misunderstanding or misconception might cause major delays and costs in your project.
- Be punctual
Don’t be the last person to arrive for a meeting. Getting at the meeting on time, whether you scheduled it or not, will ensure that you have enough time to relax, network with others, and collect your thoughts before the meeting starts. The ability to manage your time is crucial. Everyone will appreciate it if you respect their time.
- Always seek feedback
So you’ve spent so much time and effort documenting requirements and implementing the solution? The system is operational, and everything appears to be in order. How can you know if you’ve provided real value to the company? By requesting feedback among your stakeholders. Check to see if the problems you set out to tackle were completed. Determine how you can improve your performance in the future. Using clearly defined KPIs, assess the business value generated by your project.
Best Takeaways from Business Analyst for Newcomers
We hope the above guide was helpful for you. Now if you are a newcomer in the business analysis domain, you must be wondering about where and how to start? Then in such a case, taking small steps will help you to understand and get better clarity of what business analysis is all about and how you can make business analysis your outer shell.
As a newcomer, it is important for you to gain practical as well as theoretical experience and knowledge of business analysis. And this is where IIBA offers various business analysis certification that helps you to hone your business analysis skills and knowledge and allows you to demonstrate your competency to prospective employers. If you are ready to kickstart your journey, explore our entry-level ECBA Certification Training Course.