Interview Questions for Business Analysts and Systems Analysts

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What do you do when the business and technical manager disagree on a solution technology?

Posted by Chris Adams

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Suppose you are a Business Analyst working with an IT team to develop a solution for a business need. You have gathered the business requirements, and you or a systems analyst have gathered technical requirements. The desired changes enhance a business process that was previously implemented using a solution coded in a particular coding language. The technical manager does not agree with using that language for the enhancements and wants to use a different technology instead. How do you resolve this situation?

In an ideal world, Business Analysts call for solutions to business problems in a manner that is technology-agnostic, meaning that the solution should be independent of the technologies chosen. The reason for this is that IT serves the business, not the other way around—and so the business should have the final say about what the solution looks like without being constrained by technology choices or limitations.

But we don’t live in an ideal world, and the answer is not always so clear cut. There are a number of reasons why a Business Analyst may get involved in selection of technology, including:

  • Enterprise Architecture standards or strategic technology roadmaps may call for a specific technology to be used for the kind of solution being envisioned;
  • the technology may have been used before and would be simpler, easier, or less costly to use again; and/or
  • the business is aware that only a specific technology is fully able to address the business need.

As a result, an IT Business Analyst may get brought into technology selection discussions, especially when the IT department disagrees with what the business is requesting. This gets us back to the original question.

A good interview answer would explore the following five issues as ways of attempting to come to a resolution:

1) Why is the technical manager proposing a different technical solution from what the business is requesting?

2) What is the cost/benefit analysis of using one technology versus the other?

3) Does the technical manager’s proposal truly meet the needs of the business, including meeting every requirement?

4) If the technical manager’s proposal goes against the organization’s Enterprise Architecture or technology roadmaps, what is the justification for going counter to this guidance?

5) Can the technical manager’s approach work seamlessly with other systems already in place?

With these five answers in hand, the Business Analyst is best equipped to negotiate the political waters between the business and IT. A final answer may require gathering together the business and technical stakeholders, as well as executive leadership, to come to an agreement.


Joe Barrios, Career Coach
Your Business Analyst Career, from Resume to Job Offer 



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Do your homework prior to the business analysis interview!

Having an idea of the type of questions you might be asked during a business analyst interview will not only give you confidence but it will also help you to formulate your thoughts and to be better prepared to answer the interview questions you might get during the interview for a business analyst position.  Of course, just memorizing a list of business analyst interview questions will not make you a great business analyst but it might just help you get that next job.



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