Career as a Business Systems Analyst

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Employers are looking for critical thinking and an ability to adapt, invent, and reinvent; collaborate, create, and innovate; and an ability to leverage complexity to compete. Standout companies are using projects as the hotbed of creativity – so that means BAs and PMs have to step up their game. According to the 2011 CHAOS Report from The Standish Group, only 37% of projects delivered on time, on budget, with required features and functions.

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Your meeting is underway and while you’re attentively listening to the business SME explain the detailed process for transferring a policy from one agency to another, you find yourself feverishly jotting down notes as the nuggets of information being thrown out are too juicy not to capture. Then it hits you: you have no idea what the business SME is talking about!
 

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In many organizations, culture and conventional wisdom make it difficult for the BA to break out of mostly tactical roles within projects. However, in many ways, the future competitiveness of your organization (and consequently of your future employment) depends on it! So don’t blink or you will miss out on the best BA opportunity of your career.

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Welcome to the new series of articles on the BA as the 21st Century Creative Leader. It was a perfect storm. As we entered the second decade of the 21st century, we found ourselves struggling to adapt. ... It is no coincidence that the business analysis profession is taking hold to address many of the 21st century business challenges.
 

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I’m pleased to continue to uphold: the unveiling of this year’s top 10 business analysis trends. This year business analysts (BAs) will need not only the balanced portfolio of technical and business skills they have been perfecting, but also a more comprehensive perspective in order to meet the challenging business environment of 2012.

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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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