My BA Mind-Set

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As a Business Analyst mind-set is very important. How I show up, my attitude, demeanour will affect how successful I am in facilitating the change the business requires.  It has become more recognised that BA’s do more than capture and write Business Requirements. The capturing part requires the BA to listen, question, understand and interpret. In order to achieve this, the BA needs to create positive relationships with the business community.

I have worked in various organisations as a BA, either based in the general business community or sitting within IT and attached to an application.

Regardless of where I am positioned in an organisation I always feel that the end business change is important, but I couldn’t do my job properly if have not cultivated a working relationship with the stakeholders and subject matter experts.

I feel compelled to build positive relationships with them and to get across that they are the experts and I need to leech as much information from them as possible to deliver something of value to the business community.

It wasn’t and still isn’t enough for me, for IT to just deliver a new shiny application, if it didn’t plug the gaps in functionality, meet business need or make the lives easier of end customer whether internal or external.

Delivering unwanted change, can lead to IT belly aching about the business not being adequately trained to understand and make use of the new system or functionality that has been foisted on the business without much consultation and how their precious innovations are collecting dust somewhere…

Personally without the interaction of the stakeholder, SME’s and business community my job as a BA would be near on impossible, in addition to this I love the people element, applications don’t talk back and I love to talk and build relationships!!!

Even in previous positions when I was a BA attached to an application, I was always concerned that the system was fit for purpose, that it wasn’t a bottleneck in the lives of the users, that it added value to their jobs and allowed them to execute their daily tasks easier…

Yes I needed to make sure that the application could perform the necessary functions needed to support a the day to day business needs, but I was  reluctant to present functionality to the business because some developer thought it would make their lives easier…. On the other hand, I was very mindful of the business giving me the solution instead of the challenge or problem

It is up to me to guide the business not just using the tricks in BA tool chest but to employ soft skills, such as active listening, effective questioning, building relationships, establishing trust and having an inquisitive and enquiring mind-set.

I want to deliver change, but change that is a “win-win” for everyone… It fulfils the business case, meets the business needs, and gives IT the opportunity to flex their development muscles by delivering something of absolutely value, not something that the users have to develop a workaround for.

I need to keep the business focused on the what; what is the problem or challenge they are facing, what they currently do, where are the pain points… It’s my role to look at the current experience, the desired state and document this. Then I work with the brainy bots in IT to come up with the HOW the change will be achieved.

In my experience when the business is more concerned with the How instead of the what, it can make requirements elicitation more challenging as there is a need to understand and visualise the end solution.  It’s my job to inform the business on how important capturing what they actually do will help to define and shape the How.

This is always in the back of my mind… I see myself as BA superhero – Wonder Woman, with my trusted lasso of truth, I’ll elicit your actual requirements …

About the Author

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Patricia Campbell is a Senior Business Analyst & a Leadership Coach

with over 11 years experience in the Telco industry

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