Soft Skills

Apr 03, 2022
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The BABOK talks of the underlying competencies for a Business Analyst at length. At the core of all those competencies is the ability to build relationships. In other words, it is the foundation. The aptitudes are not noticed unless you have a relationship with the stakeholders. Demonstrating these capabilities helps enhance your relationships even further. So, I will even say relationship building is a prefix and a suffix to competencies. Everything revolves around your ability to build relationships.

Feb 13, 2022
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Knowledge isn’t like other commodities. If I have three dollars and give you one of them, now I have only two dollars. Money is zero-sum in the sense that I must lose some of it for you to gain something in this transaction. In contrast, if I give you some of my knowledge, I still possess all the knowledge myself. I can share it with other people, as can you. Everyone touched by this expanding circle of knowledge benefits.  Everyone has something to teach—and to learn. You don’t need to be the world’s expert on some topic to be helpful. You just need some useful block of knowledge and the willingness to share it. In the world of technology, if you’re one week ahead of the next person in some area, you’re a wizard. Someone else will doubtless be ahead of you in other areas, so take advantage of their trailblazing. People in a healthy learning culture share what they know and also acknowledge that someone else might know a better way.

Jan 02, 2022
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A crisis always highlights the need for specific managerial and leadership Behaviors (Behavioral School of Leadership). These behaviors of course are triggered by specific personal characteristics of the leader (Leadership Trait Paradigm), by the specific conditions (Leadership Contingency Theory) and by the willingness and devote of individual in continues practicing these behaviors any possible occasion. Although it is my intention to approach the leadership from a behavioral point of view, a synthesizing and integrating logic is more than necessary to have a holistic view that can lead to insightful conclusions.

Oct 24, 2021
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The concept of resilience is closely connected with the concept of self-leadership as exercising and improving yourself towards being able to lead yourself can help you being able to return.  In the face of a crisis some people ride out uncertainty instead of being overpowered by it. Are there special personal characteristics of these persons? Are they gifted from their birth having supreme quality of genes? Maybe but what they do is exercising certain behaviors. Behaviors that not only triggered by their personal characteristics and their personality but from their willingness and commitment in those behaviors

Sep 26, 2021
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Is your requirements approach friendly to vocabulary, policies and messages? I mean directly. Wouldn’t it be of great help to your organization in achieving its goals if they were? In our experience, policy sources almost always need interpretation and disambiguation to achieve an effective practicable form. As this column discusses, the rule message ‘Reserved for Green Car’ provides an excellent case in point.

Sep 12, 2021
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I was teaching a business analysis course recently and noted that few students had used a Fishbone Diagram along with the Five Whys for root cause analysis. This motivated me to write an article on root cause analysis using the combo method along with a short example.

Aug 29, 2021
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As a business analyst you will have to communicate internally and externally. Many channels and type of communication may be used. Except ensuring that all the parts have understood correctly the message as you have it in your mind, you need also to perceive what you are saying as important, correct and insightful. You need your communication effort to have impact and many times to trigger specific actions.

Aug 08, 2021
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I realized that this is something that we business analysts need to constantly show the value add of a business analyst to the project sponsor / client.  Business analyst as a role exists to solve business problems, create a positive change, design and describe solutions that deliver value and enhance the return on investment.  Following are 10 definite ways Business Analysts add value to their organizations.      

Jun 13, 2021
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Culture determines how people behave. If you want to change behaviour, you have to look to changing the culture. This is the story of how we changed the culture of a team of business analysts.

We inherited this team; they worked in an organisation where the culture was pretty poor. People were uninterested in their work. They resented the time they spent at work; they cheated on timecards; they simply did not do any work whenever they thought they could get away with it. Naturally enough, performance and productivity were abysmal.

May 09, 2021
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In all my years as a Consultant Business Analyst, having reached a level of proficiency, I have realised that being a business analyst is seldom about the hard skills. In fact, it is more about the soft skills and BAs who operate at that level are more impressive and effective in their job. Hard skills like documentation, requirements elicitation, process maps etc. are easily taught and acquired but the soft skills are developed with experience and the right attitude towards this role. Over time I feel the perception of the value of BAs has diluted and I blame those who have been superficial about performing this role. Those who think their role is just about the tangible artefacts like the business requirements document, process maps, business case, etc. Those who think they are here to deliver a project and nothing else. Those who think the BA’s job is to take orders and execute. But the fact is that the role of a BA is a lot more subtle than one thinks. There is a much broader aspect to this role, which is often forgotten, and we get caught in deliverables and artefacts.

Let’s look at some aspects of this role, which are common knowledge and broaden our perspective of that. When the mindset of the Business Analyst changes to the bigger picture and to the more delicate facets to this role, you perform much better as a business analyst and are a more reliable and thus a desirable professional for companies.

Feb 28, 2021
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Someone recently asked me “What does a typical day for a Business Analyst look like?” and my response was that if you do find someone who can articulately answer that question, they are probably a very good Business Analyst to start with. No two days look the same in this profession. A person in this role must have many facets to their personality in order for them to be a confident and a strong Business Analyst. I really like the business analysis profession because there are multiple dimensions to the various roles we may be asked to fulfil.

Being a Business Analyst has largely shaped my career and it has also played a big part in shaping my personality. What’s it about this role that has the potential to make a professional grow into a strong and a confident character? The purpose of this article is to talk about these aspects and show how a Business Analyst can use these aspects to their advantage to not only become the best Business Analyst that they can be but also to be a strong and confident personality that will help them at any turn of life; professional or personal.

Jan 03, 2021
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Is there a hidden pitfall in your business analysis efforts? Could unconscious bias be reducing your effectiveness as a business analyst?  Consider a meeting when someone from a different cultural background is quiet throughout the meeting.  We can easily favor more talkative participants and overlook the individual’s contributions in the process. 

Dec 27, 2020
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Software applications, cars, kiosks, and many other products must communicate important information to users. These feedback messages most commonly contain information about errors; warnings or alerts; and task progress, completion, or confirmation . Feedback from a product is most effective when it exhibits these seven characteristics...

Nov 23, 2020
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Study after study in behavioral science show that certain approaches are more effective than others when we’re trying to convince others to see things our way.  Leaders in many industries, including the public sector, have learned the wisdom of using the latest evidence of what influences behavior and applying those insights to solve practical issues.  As a result, behavioral insights have now been successfully used to convince people to reduce their energy consumption, contribute a larger amount to their retirement fund, eat healthier food, and more.

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Sometimes it’s the simple things that make a profound difference. Sometimes they can be so blindingly obvious that we cannot see them. And the biggest impediment to progress can be between our own ears.

In this article I will describe ‘attentive listening’. We will cover how to do it, why it works and when to do it. At all times we will bear in mind the Agile manifesto commitment to maximizing the amount of work not done – not done by us, by the teams we work with and by the stakeholder!

Listening is a cornerstone skill of business analysis. If an analyst is to be of any value then they must be alert to clues in the environment. What thoughts, frustrations and opportunities are there? Understanding what is said, is an absolutely fundamental part of any analysis in order to produce useful insight or alignment.

So, you listen already? Sure you do, yet what are you listening to? The whole of what the speaker has to say? Are you giving them a chance to finish their thoughts?

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