Career as a Business Systems Analyst

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We have always been fascinated by the exceptional business analysts who can create order out of total chaos. The ones who can ask those great questions, who can figure out what’s important and what’s less so, who can synthesize lots of information, put it all into their magic hat and come out with requirements that make sense to all the stakeholders.

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Worldwide, there are between five hundred thousand and one million people working as Business Analysts...  So why are all types of businesses, from charities to investment banks, hiring so many of them?...  What do they actually do?...

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One day I found that my husband posted an interesting status on Facebook and it made me think of how these two simple questions can produce different results based on the situations. My husband’s quote is as follows: "We can ask the question "Why?" or think of how to make it happen and say "Why not?"

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Congratulations! You've just won your first large client and you are being chosen to play the role of the Lead Implementation Consultant for the engagement. You are being chosen because you are, at your core, an excellent BA and have a very high level of expertise about the product or solution that has just been sold.

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As agile methods become widespread in organizations, it’s not surprising to see the idea of the business analyst as a dispensable role taking root among IT project teams. After all, in agile approaches, tasks typically performed by a business analyst, such as requirements elicitation, analysis and documentation, are replaced by a conversation between customer and developers.

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We BA's are occasionally asked, "What do you do?" I try to make a joke out of this innocent question by replying, "Well, what would YOU do with English and writing degrees? I'm a Business Analyst of course." People don’t laugh.

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In an increasingly competitive marketplace, the practice of resume writing is not what it used to be. Resumes must be more clean, concise, and convincing than they were in recent years. Today’s business analysts need every edge they can get.

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While my co-workers know me as a manager of Business and Systems Analysis, others know me as a Triathlete (A triathlon is multi-sport event involving the completion of three continuous and sequential endurance events; most commonly swimming, bicycling, and running).  It was while reading a recent article about Triathlon that I began to draw a strong parallel between achieving career goals as a business analyst and achieving goals as a triathlete. 

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Once while teaching a business analysis elicitation course, a student in the class asked me, “Have you ever had a wasted interview with a stakeholder?” The question took me back, a surprise; a question I had not been asked before.

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In an ideal world, all software projects would have an interaction designer or user experience (UX) specialist working with the team to ensure that the product is designed in a way that truly satisfies the needs of end-users. In a software project with separate business analyst and interaction designer roles, the work of these professional is complementary

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On February 12, I wrote and passed the CBAP exam on the first try. I had completed my application way back in September but hadn’t been able to find an exam sitting date that I felt would give me enough time to study. I finally decided in December that I would never find the perfect time so I set the date for early February and told myself I’d find a way to make it happen.

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There are as many types of business analyst personalities as there are organizations and projects. The million-dollar questions is, how can a manager match an analyst’s unique skills to the projects that can really benefit from them, helping to ensure a project’s success? How can a manager build stronger, perhaps more suitable skills in his analysts?

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Abraham Maslow once said “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” This article provides the project manager (PM) / business analyst (BA) a framework for categorizing business problems as a baseline for selecting a solution development life cycle (SDLC).

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“The overall purpose of Business Analysis is to build a bridge between business and IT”. This is a good enough definition for a position as hard to define as Business Analysis.

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Taking a long lens approach to looking at 2011 is an apt metaphor that should serve as a reminder to BAs of the perspective they need to take to in terms of both their professional development and their role in the organization. There’s no better time to take stock and strategize on how to best prepare for the opportunities and the challenges you’ll experience ahead.

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