Continuing our blog series on the soft skills that go into the making of a successful business analyst, I will discuss a few more of these qualities that’ll make a difference. I hope these perspectives will help deal with the challenges that come with the turf and to prepare mentally for a successful professional journey as a business analyst.

Attention to detail

Every encounter with key stakeholders should be treated with due diligence and considered important. The ability to listen during communication is essential, as requirements may be presented at a very abstract level. Assumption can be dangerous. It would help to clearly articulate your understanding of the conditions in detail before starting work. The repercussions of making assumptions during the elicitation process without getting the requirement clarified can result in expensive iterations during the later stages of the product life cycle. Multiple research studies have proved that rework will require 60% more effort than developing it right the first time around. It’s essential to pay attention to details, even to those things, which look simple and straightforward, at every stage of the business analysis process to reduce the time spent in rework.

Open-mindedness 

Depending on the nature of projects, the BA will be required to work across multiple domains, new technologies and legacy applications. It’s essential that he/she be open to learning new processes, domains, and understand various current technologies and become productive with a short turn-around time. At times, while conducting requirement workshops, the stakeholders might propose new methods and techniques, and the BA should be open to these new ideas and proposals. This does not mean that they should blindly accept everything and give all possibilities and people a chance to present their viewpoints. Be curious to get the information you need, and at the same time, be open to new things coming your way.

Common sense

Ï will have to agree with the person who said, “common sense is not so common!” The BA should have excellent analytical and reasoning competency; however, this will become obsolete if they cannot exercise practicable judgment with the elicited information. The BA should learn from experience and apply it to the present needs and business context. A competent BA will not jump to conclusions without understanding the full context. The BA is like a practicing law professional who should immediately ask “Why?” so they can understand the rationale and use his/her common sense to make an astute judgment.

As a guide

Generally, a BA is not assigned as the captain of the ship, who would need to make decisions. However, he/she is expected to play the role of a captain without power and authority. Like a gyroscope inside a ship, the BA should act as an internal SME helping and guiding the team towards achieving the product vision and goal. He / She should be willing to help the team move ahead in the right direction by providing precise and correct requirements throughout the product development cycle.

Closing thoughts

Functional expertise gained by understanding the depth of the business through involvement while learning the breadth through experience will take you places. Success comes to those who persevere, and the longer a BA stays with a domain/technology/product, the better they become. Longevity is key. The mark of a competent BA is the extent to which they can unclutter business requirements and provide inputs to technical folks in a format recognizable by them. There is the science of being a BA, and there is an art. BAs usually start with the science, learning the tools, best practices, and documentation methodologies, and must imbibe these soft skills to become proficient in the art of business analysis.

With inputs from Rakesh Dharwadkar, Delivery Manager, IT Services

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Ganesh V. Anand

Ganesh is a FHIAS- and PAHM-certified healthcare expert with special interest in patient engagement platforms and digital healthcare-related solutions. Has extensive experience in the US healthcare payer, provider, and PBM landscapes across different healthcare systems.
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