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What leads a business analyst from simply “good” to “great?”
Education and credentials play a role. The software helps. But that’s not it. Consider this: If you were a business owner, would you want to work with someone who stumbles through a conversation? Do they visibly sweat when meeting your eye?
What about the person who commands the room the moment their foot passes the threshold? They have a way with words. The kind of way that gets right to the point. When they tell a story it doesn’t consist of a bunch of fluff no one cares about. They know what matters and they start with it.
That person, if they jump into a business analyst career, has the capabilities of being fantastic. Combined a few other qualities and they’d be overflowing with work and offers.
Here’s a look at five qualities every great business analyst should have.
1. Impressive Communication
Imagine hiring a business analyst who mumbles every time they speak. They refuse to hold face-to-face meetings, even with stakeholders, because they’re too shy. Or their emails are so short and curt it requires twenty back-and-forths just to confirm a deadline. That’s an analyst who can’t communicate. Would you trust him to improve your business? Likely not.
Great business analysts know effective communication isn’t an option; it’s a necessity. For any given project, they’ll converse with managers and employees on the phone, through email, and in-person. Any hiccups in these discussions create more work for everyone involved.
2. The Ability To Solve Problems
A problem occurs within the company. Maybe a hiccup in operations or a change in process management is needed. Regardless of the issue, a business analyst is called in to fix it. How? Well, that’s up to the analyst.
Solutions aren’t always simple. Analysts know they’ll need to run through multiple operations and relevant scenarios before finding one that fits. Because businesses are intricate. They require many working parts (processes, management, customers, employees, etc). One solution could be good for one of those groups, but deadly to another.
You don’t want a business analyst who immediately implements the first solution that hits their brain. You want someone who has examined the problem from every angle imaginable. Someone who has spoken to all parties involved for valuable input and feedback. And someone who sees the success of your company as their personal success too.
3. Critical Thinking
Finding the ideal solution doesn’t “just happen.” The answer doesn’t appear at the bottom of their favorite coffee mug or in the middle of a dream, right before waking up (even though it’d be nice if it were that simple!). No, analysts rely heavily on their ability to think critically.
Sometimes, the reason behind a problem isn’t the true reason at all. It’s easy to say, “I need this to work because it’s not!” Sure, it’s true. But it’s not the core reason.
Maybe the manager needs this (the team) to work because they’ve been having complications on a project. The analyst must speak to everyone involved to understand why this need exists and how they can help both the team and the manager equally. Otherwise, production and profits hit a standstill.
Looking at the problem from the surface will only provide shallow or ineffective results.
4. An Analytical Mind
You don’t have to be born with it. But you need to appreciate and use different forms of analysis. With so many different types of analyses, it’d be easy to drown in an overload of information. But a great business analyst understands when using PESTLE is superior to value chain analysis.
To truly dig into a problem or assess a proposed solution, analysis helps to strategically break it down into easily understandable pieces of information. It can help outline a scenario and build a framework for an effective solution. For a business analyst, the various types of analysis are a staple in their tool belt.
5. Process Modeling Knowledge
Some forms of analysis use visual or process modeling. It’s a visual representation of information, often depicted in a graph or diagram. It’s common in process management where various processes of a business must be visually displayed for easy understanding. It may be a requirement, depending on the job. But it’s also important to grow these skills because some people respond better to visual information than audio.