My Project Management Expert

Business Analyst Skills - Top 10

So what business analyst skills should you look for when selecting BA's to work on your project? Well having worked with numerous BA's both good and frankly awful, the following is the top 10 skillset I would look for any business analyst working on my project.

1.0 Intelligence

Now you might think this goes without saying, but by this I don't mean expertise in UML or Use Cases. What I look for are brains and common sense. Brains because any good BA needs to be able to quickly learn and understand new concepts and technologies. Common sense because a BA must be able to instinctively know when something is not a good dea and be able to use their common sense to devise a suitable alternative. After all, often the best solutions are the easiest and most obvious one's which no-one ever thinks of.

2.0 Communication

Both project manager's and business analysts needs to be great communicators. A project manager to be effective at managing project teams; a BA to determine what exactly is being required.

This is easier said than done. After all have you ever been in a situation where you thought you had clearly communicated some important information and yet after the meeting, most of the attendees have a different recollection of what was said. That is why having a BA who excels at project communications is absolutely vital.

3.0 An Eye for Detail

This is where many flounder in the business analyst skills department. As the saying goes, "the devil is in the detail" and this definitely relates to project management requirements as well. Too many Business Analyst's spend their time determining the high level information, but then either can't be bothered or don't have enough knowledge to translate this into the details of the business requirements documentation. This is where it all usually goes horribly wrong, for the simple reason that your technical teams will work off the details, not the big picture.

Further this trait is particularly important when you have a really mind numbingly boring area.You need a BA who will keep at it until they have clearly nailed down every requirement needed no matter how complex and boring the subject matter might be.

4.0 Problem Solver

Successful project management is all about problem solving, which is why you need to have a BA who excels in this area. Better still you want one who is proactive and will come to you with solutions. All too many BA's think their work is done by simply communicating the problems. I always prefer BA.s who communicate the various potential solutions as well.

5.0 Negotiator / Facilitator

Gathering requirements is all about compromise. Often the business will demand things which cannot be delivered in the timeframes required. A bad Business Analyst will simply document these and then leave it up to you to have the battle with the project sponsors. A good BA meanwhile will find a way which enables everyone to look good whilst ensuring it can be delivered.

Please click here for Business Analyst Skills Points 6-10.

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