Soft Skills

Jun 28, 2020
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When I began training to be a BA, I never dreamt that I would need to be a salesperson too, in fact, I'm glad I hadn't realized that as it may have deterred me from, what is for me, the most suitable and fulfilling career that I could have wished for.

The answer is simply this: the ability to sell. The better you are at selling, the more senior you are likely to become, and this is true across the whole business, it doesn’t just apply to Business Analysts.

Apr 29, 2020
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 “Clean Language” is a conversation technique developed by a psychotherapist, David Grove. It is a method of asking neutral questions to avoid influencing patient responses. Besides psychotherapy, clean language can be used in various fields for interviewing and facilitating meetings with stakeholders. This is particularly true for business analysis. The context of this article is interviewing and facilitating meeting with a focus on using clean language to ensure that stakeholder requirements are captured without the influence of the business analyst. In this article, you will note that I have cited several sidebar comments to help the reader connect the dots with various business analysis aspects.
Jan 26, 2020
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Step one is get knowledge, step two: redesign for effectiveness then, lastly, step three, pull in IT. It is to start from a base of knowing what IT can do to support a more effective design, the costs of development drop to tens of thousands and everything developed gets used – an amazing feat in IT development. And the benefits delivered by the IT system are significant: Real-time visibility of the work, accurate information about demand and activity times, costs and materials employed.
Jan 12, 2020
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Learning about mental models and how to apply them to their work is one of the best investments for business analysts interested in achieving the level of deep thinking that leads to better outcomes for their projects and organizations.  There is incredible power in using inversion at the outset of a project to imagine ourselves in a future where the solution has not only been delivered, but is in the hands of end-users to get their job done. Rather than simply going through the typical project phases in forward motion, we can then look backward and gain additional perspective into what might go wrong so that preventive steps can be taken to avoid those bad outcomes.

Dec 22, 2019
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In Part 1 of this series John Seddon argued that Agile, as practiced, is bereft of knowledge, hence its ubiquitous failure. Here he argues that ‘get knowledge’ is the starting-place for effective change.

Part 2: Knowledge: the prerequisite for profound change

It may seem heretical to suggest that we make change without knowledge, but, as Deming pointed out, experience is not equivalent to knowledge; you can spend 20 years in an organisation without knowing how to change it for the better. Leaders, clients and stakeholders describe requirements or problems to solve on the basis of their current world view, governed by information from their current control systems, but what if their world view is flawed? What if there are bigger and different problems to solve?

Nov 03, 2019
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Learning about mental models and how to apply them to their work is one of the best investments for business analysts interested in achieving the level of deep thinking that leads to better outcomes for their projects and organizations. The first article in this series described what mental models are and talked about the first mental model covered, second order thinking. In this second installment we discuss another mental model that that can help business analysts become better problem solvers: integrative thinking.
Sep 08, 2019
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Learning about mental models and how to apply them to their work is one of the best investments for business analysts interested in achieving the level of deep thinking that leads to better outcomes for their projects and organizations.
Sep 02, 2019
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For the business, it means they not only need to understand the problem the customers are trying to solve - they need to understand that problem in a context and design a full end-to-end experience of solving it. Some people call this process “human-centered design”, some - just using common sense when designing stuff. 
Jul 21, 2019
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The fact that software projects and tasks are reported to be “90 percent done” for a long time has become something of an industry joke. (A related joke states that the first half of a software project consumes the first 90 percent of the resources, and the second half consumes the other 90 percent of the resources.) This well-intentioned but misleading status tracking makes it difficult to judge when a body of work will truly be completed so you can ship the next product release to your customers. Here are several typical causes of “90 percent done” syndrome and a few possible cures.

Jun 09, 2019
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The ability to build and exude self-confidence can contribute to success in many areas of our lives from personal to professional. Unfortunately, many business analysts who are beginners or experienced but new to an organization are not provided with the tools and recourses to be confident in their ability to add value to their organization. As a BA, self-confidence facilitates the ability to build relationships, gain respect, and influence others. Below are some of the most effective tactics that I have taken throughout my career to bolster my confidence as a business analyst. Once I became confident in myself, I started noticing that other people’s confidence in my abilities increased as well. Hopefully, these tips will help you recognize your true potential and the value you bring as a business analyst.
May 27, 2019
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Culture clashes frequently arise when teams are working on requirements. There are those who recognize the many risks associated with trying to develop software based on minimal or telepathically communicated requirements. Then there are those who think requirements are unnecessary. It can be tough to gain business-side cooperation on projects like legacy-system replacement if users see this as unrelated to their own business problems and not worth their time. Understanding why people resist participating in requirements development is the first step to being able to address it.

Dec 16, 2018
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Sometimes I find it difficult to explore new pieces of work in a structured way. When given a new challenge / piece of work it’s easy to jump straight into a solution. However as BAs we first need to understand the problem area better.
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Surely facilitation is an important part of a business analyst’s job, but it is far from the only part. Analysis in itself should always form the core of a business analyst’s responsibilities.  We are called ‘analysts’ for a reason! Facilitating information gathering and translating it to ‘requirements’ doesn’t make you an ‘analyst’. Go above and beyond, and add value by ‘reasoning backwards’ and ‘reasoning analytically’.

 

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As a business analyst, one of the most valuable skills you can acquire is the ability to build relationships. This in itself may have more of an impact on your long-term BA career than your business knowledge and technical skills. Because BAs are often key participants in so many different projects and initiatives, it can be difficult to nurture all of the relationships established throughout your organization. The relationship that I will be focusing on, however, is the relationship with the developer(s). Solid business analyst-developer relationships are often easier to facilitate in agile environments; therefore, it is essential to put more effort into managing this relationship in an environment that uses a waterfall or traditional methodology. Below are some tactics we as BAs can use to make developers’ lives easier and enhance the business analyst-developer relationship.
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The relationship between a business analyst and the stakeholders is one of the fundamentals to the journey of delivery. If the relationship is dysfunctional, the process of delivering the solution will be negatively impacted... Each one of us is blessed with a different personality that makes us unique. In the case of business analysts, personality plays an important role, thus making it a key to survival. Business analysts are adaptive survivors. It is imperative that every impacted stakeholder is engaged and collaborating. It's fundamental to a robust requirements analysis process. Having mentioned the need to bond with your stakeholders, let’s see what skills are needed to be a successful business analyst.

 

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Think you're a Business Analyst (BA) not a Salesperson? Think again...
Jun 28, 2020
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When I began training to be a BA, I never dreamt that I would need to be a salesperson too, in fact, I'm glad I hadn't realized that as it may...





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