The trade of BA seems to be still a somewhat ‘grey’ field. In the company I work for few know what the role of BA consists…including some of the BAs.
I won’t copy/paste definitions from BABOK and Wikipedia here. There are loads of (very good) definitions out there. But this is all theoretical, so, in practice, what is Business Analysis all about?
Well, it depends of the context, really. In an IT company which business consists mainly in providing third-party IT support, the role of the BA is mainly to write documents and make sure all changes are according to UEDs. There isn’t a proper SDLC to be followed. In such a company (especially if small) the BA role is likely to include testing (writing test scripts and perform the testing itself).
When within the context of a new IT project to be developed, the role of the BA is to understand what the purpose of the final product is; understand all the constraints; know who the end-users are (and profile them). In sum, to elicit and document functional, user, business, etc. requirements.
So far, nothing of what has been written is new and seems pretty straightforward. So, what’s the difficulty?
Business Analysis is most of all, about psycology! One has obviously to have the required technical skills to perform an effective analysis and document it appropriately, but, that is worth very little if not accompanied by a strong and well established set of the so called ‘soft skills’, which basically mean, to know the human nature and to know how to deal with it in order to achieve the desired outcome.
So, for example, a new Business Analyst starts her new job (without much previous experience…you know where I’m coming from) and, as part of her duties, interacts with developers, project managers and the usual folk. She is interacting with people who have been doing this for years, therefore maturity and expertise are expected. Not geniuses, not ‘know-it-alls’, just mature people who know they’re bit about the job. Wrong!
Childish behaviours are somewhat common. Egos over reason! So, were did one end up? In the mad house?
Perhaps, but perhaps this is just the ‘real world’ and, if one is to persevere and truly blossom in one’s career as a BA, one’s better to know how to deal with all situations in a positive way.
Therefore, back to what I wrote before, it is all mostly about psychology.
The developer decides to make the changes he things are right instead of the ones documented and signed-off by the client? Try to understand the reason behind such attitude and explain why this is not acceptable (they’re not paying for it, company’s reputation, poor professionalism, etc).
I am no good person to give lessons on psychology, but I am a diligent student. Most of all, I believe one cannot take one’s ego to the workplace. Remain distant from emotional situations, argument with logic and push only when needed, not just to make a point that will lead to anything useful in the end.
Use of politeness, analytical and argumentative mind should always be present.
And last, but not least, wear a sincere smile many times and make people feel comfortable around you because, in the end, we’re here to make people happy, aren’t we? Including ourselves!