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Successful Business Analysts: How They Avoid the Five Most Common BA Mistakes
Avoiding Mistake #1
As early as possible, BAs must clearly dene their role andresponsibilities by working with their sponsor and asking the ollowing key questions:
What is my role in this eort?
• Whatismylevelofresponsibility?• Whatotherresourceswillbeavailabletome?• Whatwillbethereportingrelationships?• Whatisthe“endgoalinmind”?• Whatspecicdeliverablesareexpected?• WhatotherrelatedtasksshouldIbeawareof
(other than those I will be managing as BA)?
• Whatarethetimingexpectations?• Whatproject-relatedrisksareknownatthispoint?
Solving these problems as they arise on a case-by-case basisdoes not move us orward. This is one o the key issues thatcan be addressed by SOA and Web services in particular.
Mistake #2 – Rushing Through DetailedRequirements Development
A key task or many BAs is documenting business, user and/or system level requirements. Requirements documentationcan be a signicant undertaking, and otentimes BAs simply begin by scheduling interviews, negating the importance o documenting a requirements development plan. Many BAsalso make the mistake o developing a change managementprocess only ater the document is completed.
Avoiding Mistake #2
Particularly or signicant requirements documentationeorts, the successul BA takes time to develop a clear plan
and (2) includes the ollowing activities:
Develop specic, well-organized interview guides and tem-plates to capture stakeholder eedback.
Conducting stakeholder analysis
Consider all potential stakeholders beore beginning require-ments gathering. All stakeholders are not equal, so take sometime to analyze/prioritize them based on relevant criteria (e.g.,infuence level within the organization, amount o impact thesolution will have on them, availability or interviews, etc.).
Implementing a change management process
Unortunately it’s quite common that, beore the ink is dry on the requirements document, changes will be requested.During requirements planning, the BA should decide: whenthe document will be baselined
, how changes will behandled, who will authorize the changes, what the decisioncriteria will be and so orth.
Mistake #3 – Failing to Balance Task and Relationships
the organization and as such need to be very structured,methodical, and task-ocused. Many BAs become so ocusedon the task that they orget about the critical relationshipcomponent. As an intermediary among various unctionalorganizations with competing interests and priorities, thebusiness analyst’s success is largely contingent on their ability to build and sustain strong, amiable relationships throughoutthe enterprise. Too oten BAs hit the “inormation ceiling.” Inother words, they no longer receive the inormation they needbecause they don’t have the trust or respect o critical stake-holders who best understand the organization’s problems,opportunities and processes.
Avoiding Mistake #3
The most successul business analysts constantly nurturetheir relationship-building skills. As much businessanalysis work is done in a team environment, eectivebusiness analysts consciously incorporate relationshipbuilding activities into regular interactions. Requirementsgathering can be particularly challenging without an envi-ronment o trust, camaraderie and respect. Wise BAs know that they can garner more inormation rom a casual lunch with a riendly colleague than acilitating a three-hourinterview with colleagues who are earul, distrustul, or
-ence where his team had reached an impasse. In response,the BA took them out bowling, which immediately helped
strong relationships assist in confict resolution, teamproductivity and stakeholder management. Consider thesetips when managing a business analysis task:
or internal core team members. Also, don’t orgetremote teams—consider using the Intranet as a way o including them.