One of the traits of the professional business analyst or systems analyst is continuous improvement. This needs to take place in three key areas: technical know-how, business knowledge, and soft skills.
(Adrian's note: This is an excerpt from a newsletter I created for my systems analysis team.)
To be an average analyst is fairly simple...
.... all you have to do is go to all the meetings, complete all the mandatory training courses, and listen to feedback from your manager.
IF you want to be a GREAT analyst - if you want to trully be succesfull THEN that's not enough.
To truly succeed, you need an internal drive to continuously improve your skills and knowledge.
Systems Analysis, like any other profession, requires specialized skills and knowledge...
... and to be effective you need to develop in three key areas:
- technical skills,
- busines domain knowledge, and
- those very subjective soft skills.
Technical Skills are the foundation of your career. You surely would not trust a doctor who tells you that he's seen somebody else doing that surgery...
...but I brush against this scenario all the time when I interview systems analysts. When asked about his claimed expertise with "class diagrams", one such candidate told me that he once worked on a project where "they" used class diagrams. Who's they?
Technical knowhow are those skills which are very specific to your profession. In our case it's use case modeling, object oriented analysis, Data Flow Diagrams, problem solving patterns, etc.
For starters, study and keep understand the methodology and best practices used in your place of employment. Then venture out on your own and learn a new skill. Pick up a book on use cases - read an article on sequence diagrams - take a UML course.
Business Domain Knowledge, also known as vertical market knowledge, empowers you to easily grasp the requirements and to quickly spot problems within a given solution. A technically correct diagram is useless if the business information represented is wrong.
Mortgage Banking is our domain, specifically mortgage loan origination... This is a highly complex and challenging industry.
Up to the challenge?
Soft Skills are what distinguishes a good analyst from an effective analyst...
...you may have the best solution, but if you can't communicate it - the solution is worthless.
...you may have a great idea, but if you can't convince your manager to adopt it - it's useless.
...you may manage skilled analysts, but if you can't inspire them - your team will fall apart.
Soft skills are critical to Your success!
So... learn to negotiate... improve your communication skills... be quick to listen and slow to speak... increase your sphere of influence... inspire!