The Community Blog for Business Analysts

Adrian M.
Adrian M.

BA: If You Want to Succeed, You've Got to Read!

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 truly be successful  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,
  • business 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 know-how 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, user stories, 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 agile stories - 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... may have the best solution, but if you can't communicate it - the solution is worthless. may have a great idea, but if you can't convince your manager to adopt it - it's useless. 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! 

What do you think?


This entry was published on Nov 16, 2014 / Adrian M.. Posted in Career as a Business Systems Analyst. Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
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Andy B posted on Monday, December 8, 2014 8:03 AM
pretty much right on. I know at times I get accused of being too technical, coming from a developer background. But be amazed how it ALWAYS seems to com into play, knowing systems, knowing databases, knowing UI develop. This is the of technology, so how can you be too technical?
Andy B
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