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New Post 10/30/2008 11:35 AM
User is offline Priyanka_BA
8 posts
10th Level Poster


Essential skills to excel as a Business Analyst 

Hi Everyone,

I have around 4 years of experience as system analyst/business analyst and have been in IT industry since my first job. But recently only I came to know of this community and I am thrilled to join this community and learn from all the experienced professionals here.

I was just wondering that what it takes to be a good Business Analyst. What are the most critical and essential skills required to perform the role of a Business Analyst and also what is the career path for a Business Analyst. What vision should I have to carve that route for myself.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks

 
New Post 10/31/2008 6:25 AM
User is offline Tony Markos
493 posts
5th Level Poster


Re: Essential skills to excel as a Business Analyst 

Hi:

Essential BA skills:  Being able to come up with a comprehensive, integrated understanding of system essential (i.e., technology independent) functionality and - especially - an understanding of the essential interrelationships (i.e., data flows) between these functions.  Some say this is 98% of the required work.

With this understanding, all the other essential BA tasks, such as scoping a system and coming up with an understanding of essential data relationships are relatively easy.  Without such an understanding, you wind up wasting  alot of time flying by the seat of your pants  trying to solve unkown, or, at best, hazily defined problems.

Few BA's are aware of the above.  I would say your vision for yourself is to focus on obtaining the above mentioned essential skills, and then using that skill to grow into progressivly larger-scale integration efforts.  

Tony

 
New Post 10/31/2008 3:48 PM
User is offline Priyanka_BA
8 posts
10th Level Poster


Re: Essential skills to excel as a Business Analyst 

Hi Tony,

Thanks for answering my question.

When we talk about the functionalities and the data relationship(data flow) so can we document both in one diagram? Or is it like mandatory to have data flow diagram for data relationships and use case diagram for application actions. 

For example, if we take online ordering system there could be 2 approaches.

This flow covers only the very high level process and is showing that what step will be followed after the other

1) Browse the catalog--->Place Order---->Enter Billing Address----->ENter credit card details------->Confirm Payment------->Recieve Confirmation-------->Recieve the Order.

2) Open the website---->if member then login with user id and password(Might be possible scenario with some websites)----> the system validates the user id and password---->Browse the catalog------->Select items and quantity------->Enter Name, Address,Phone no.,email----->Enter Billing address if diff than shippindg address------->Enter payment method details----->Confirm Payment------->Get Confirmation-------->Get the Shipment.

Please guide me that which one is right/wrong and how to document the data flow?

Thanks

Priyanka

 
New Post 11/3/2008 5:52 AM
User is offline Tony Markos
493 posts
5th Level Poster


Re: Essential skills to excel as a Business Analyst 

Hi:

Important Clarification:  The essential interrelationships between functions are data flows.    However, data flows are not data relationships.    Data flows are shown on a data flow diagram.  Data relationships are shown on an entity relationship diagram.

Use Cases are basically "poor man's" data flow diagrams:  They show functionality without the data flows.   A data flow diagramer will tell you that  functions without data flows is, especially for larger scale projects, pretty meaningless, as we do not know if  we have identified all the functions unless we follow the flow of data.  That is we need a mechanism to make the "holes" in our understanding of required functions glaringly obvious and only data flows can serve as this mechaism.

Both of your senarios are lists of functions to be accomplished.  The only difference is that case 2.) lists an "If" conditional case, which is typically documented, along with other details of functionality, in things like a flow chart that is a child to data flow diagram function.

FYI:  Priyanka, functions are functions - irregardless of the mechanism used to accomplish them.  It don't matter if the application does a function, a person does the function, or a trained animal does the function.  All the functions listed on both your cases can be documented on a data flow diagram.

Tony

 
New Post 11/3/2008 9:09 AM
User is offline Priyanka_BA
8 posts
10th Level Poster


Re: Essential skills to excel as a Business Analyst 

Tony,

Thanks for your feedback.

I understand that data flow is the passing of the information between two entities in order to accomplish a business function. So, if a person needs to complete a order he needs to provide his complete billing address and shipping address. Am I right or the data flows is the message which two systems pass for interactions like in service oriented architecture. This causes lot of confusion while building the flow diagrams.

Also, I think that a functional diagram is not complete without the data flows because like what you said data flows helps us to understand that we have indentified all the functions. specially in very complex systems.

Can you please provide some functional diagrams or data flow diagrams with small scenarios if possible.

Thanks for your help.

Priyanka

 
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