Interview Questions for Business Analysts and Systems Analysts

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What are the Business Analysis Knowledge Areas?


If you can’t answer this question, it’s obvious you’re not familiar with the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK). This is the globally accepted standard for business analysis and was first published in 2006 by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA). 

This question is an easy way for a hiring manager or an HR professional to screen out candidates who may have under-invested in their career or may lack understanding of the business analysis profession.  From my perspective, as a manager, I want to know that a potential candidate I’m hiring understands the fundamentals of business analysis. I’ll give you a summary, in my own words, of the six business analysis knowledge areas. 

Elicitation & Collaboration 

The term “elicitation” might seem confusing at first, but what it refers to is the process of working with stakeholders to understand their requirements.  It requires soft skills to work with people in different ways to capture the essence of the problems they want to solve.  It’s also important to confirm what you’ve learned with your stakeholders is accurate. 

Requirements Analysis & Design Definition 

I think of the term “requirements” is likely the most frequently used term in business analysis profession. A requirement captures a need of a stakeholder. Those needs are documented to confirm they accurately represent the need and communicate those requirements to the solutions providers. In my opinion, this is the “meat and potatoes” of business analysis. 

In this knowledge area, the focus is on documenting requirements, analyzing and communicating them, and working with solutions providers to narrow down design options to recommend a solution.

Solution Evaluation 

This is where the rubber hits the road. Based on the requirements, the solution is built to some degree.  It could be a prototype or a full-blown solution. Think of this Knowledge Area almost like you're testing the solution. It’s important to validate the solution is delivering the value required to meet the requirements. 

Requirements Life Cycle Management 

This knowledge area is about managing requirements.  From when they’re first documented, to when they’re approved, to the solution development stage, the requirements need to be maintained.  Keeping the requirements updated is important after the initial approval because there may be design limitations, stakeholder changes, or scope adjustments.  Requirements are the key communication tool for the initiative so they need to be kept accurate throughout the life the projects and can extend into the life of the solution as well. 

One aspect of this knowledge area I like the best is traceability. This tracks a high-level requirement to a detailed requirement, through to the solution design elements, and on to testing scenarios and test scripts. It’s the line that connects the dots from the high level to the granular details, ensuring the solution is meeting the needs of the stakeholders. 

Business Analysis Planning & Monitoring 

For the more experienced business analysis professionals, planning and monitoring is part of every project. There are a variety of techniques for planning and estimating work, but I’ve found that experience is essential to be able to do this successfully. 

This knowledge area covers planning and monitoring of a variety of aspects including the business analysis approach, stakeholder engagement, and documentation. 

Strategy Analysis 

I find this area is generally about change management and working with leadership to make informed decisions. It could be defining the scope of an initiative or determining the best way to introduce a change. It’s also about assessing risks so the stakeholders have visibility to challenges and can decide how to deal with them. 

I hope you found this helpful. I encourage you to invest in understanding the BABOK to increase your business analysis understanding and prepare for an interview. If you would like a leg up on your competition, consider earning the Entry Certificate to Business Analysis (ECBA) to prove you understand the business analysis profession. Good luck with your interview! 

Scott Bennett
Manager, Business Analysis
Owner of the Business Analysis Leaders LinkedIn group



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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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