Entry Level Business Analyst
Many organizations use the title “Business Analyst” to describe someone who can perform multiple roles on a project team (a kind of emerging player with requirements analysis skills, project management, software development, and execution).
When is a business analyst required?
The business analyst is a role that is most often required when it is necessary to act as a liaison between a group of stakeholders (any person or group of people affected by a business initiative in an organization) in order to carry out an analysis that allows you to reduce complex issues to a more manageable level of simplicity.
When a project is working with a large number of stakeholders, it is very likely that they will conflict and there is often confusion regarding the requirements since each stakeholder has a different perspective of the problems they face in the organization and different priorities regarding the solution. Today, more and more business owners are hiring business analysts, at least an entry level business analyst.
A major challenge
Many organizations do not have a clearly articulated strategy or make decisions that directly contradict the objectives set by the organization. Different operational groups often have their own strategies. Even when executives think they have a clear strategy and all agree on it, that strategy may, intentionally or unintentionally, be kept secret from employees and so even when there are a general understanding and agreement of the strategy, the employees can legitimately disagree on the tactics used to achieve it.
The most important function: understand the real need of the organization
Complex problems force us to break down the problem to understand the organization and how its different components, groups, and processes interact. In fact, this is one of the key meanings of the term “analysis”. We analyze the business in order to understand and help others understand how the organization is structured, how the work is done, and what systems and functionality are required to support this work.
From a strategic point of view, this is the first essential role of the business analyst: to give clarity to business decisions and to help participants understand the role they play in relation to the objectives of the organization. The business analyst must be prepared to act as a facilitator to help stakeholders overcome this challenge.
When acting as a facilitator, a business analyst focuses primarily on helping people understand and articulate their own goals, objectives, and solutions. A good facilitator uses her experience as a tool to help ask probing questions designed to uncover potential problems, however ultimately the responsibility for finding the correct answer rests with the business stakeholders.
Effective facilitation is hard work; you have to be efficient and in ensuring that conflicts arise and are resolved productively, that all stakeholders have the opportunity to express their opinion and that decisions are made in the best interest of the organization and not just based on the opinion of the most influential person or person with the greatest knowledge of the domain.
Ultimately, however, the facilitator role is a support role and business analysts seeking to increase their authority and influence must learn to act as consultants as well. We do not carry out analyzes solely to understand the organization, we carry out analyzes in such a way that we can use the information collected to decipher what changes the organization requires in order for the organization to achieve the goals and objectives that have been established and deliver value to its stakeholders.
You need, as a business analyst, to listen in order to understand what the real needs of the organization are because if you come to propose something that does not meet those needs, you will be failing in the performance of the business analyst role. Another relevant function of the business analyst: managing requirements, specifying with quality, and with a sufficient level of detail.
Now, from a tactical point of view, the business analyst must be able to have adequate control and administration of the requirements as well as the necessary skills to accurately describe the work that is required to be executed so that those who continue in the process (typically the development team, in a software project) have all the information necessary to build the solution components with an adequate level of quality.
For this, the business analyst must have the necessary skills and knowledge to be able to specify the requirements with a sufficient level of detail, required according to the target audience to which it is directed. That is, the level of specification of the requirement is not the same for the development team as for the process team or for the group of stakeholders. Depending on who this specification is addressed to, the business analyst should model the requirements in such a way that the recipient is able to understand the information provided and be able to reach consensus and approval of what is going to be built.
The role of a business analyst is not a new role, it has been there for years, however, the required skills have changed over time and now it is necessary to acquire or develop new skills that allow you to face the challenges demanded by the current environment.