What Qualities a Business Analyst should possess.

A good Business Analyst is creative, a people person. Someone wanting a more hands on approach to business and problem solving. The good Business Analyst will look for opportunities to grow and learn. He or she will listen attentively to what others are saying. The good Business Analyst is like a walking encyclopedia about the company he or she works within. They will know people from every department. What makes a good business analyst is the ability to listen to what is being said and hear what is not. The good business analyst can read into the meaning of stakeholders words. He or she can understand the needs being expressed when the stakeholders do not always know what they are. The good Business Analyst will be able to determine if the requests from stakeholders or end users are viable. In some cases they are not and it is up to the business analyst to inform what can be done versus what is wanted. A good Business Analyst is a visionary, a creative thinker, and innovative. He or she is fun to work with and carries a positive attitude. To summarize, a good Business Analyst must possess following qualities. 1) Quality of a Business Analyst may include some degree in technology. 2) Another quality a Business Analyst should have is the ability to be comfortable in the board room as well as in front of the drawing board. 3) Another best attribute for the Business Analyst is being able to supply options. He or she will know what is available and from whom. 4) Being open minded is a good quality for the Business Analyst. 5) A Business Analyst should be able to analyze the attributes of another individual. He or she can show that person where their expertise can help a

although it is not always a must and depends highly on the complexity of the project. The business analyst may find directing the designated tasks to in-house departments more beneficial to the company. • Interpersonal and communication skills (both written and verbal): The Business Analyst should be a great communicator and diligent team member. The business analyst is trained to understand the importance or lack of need for these sources. A skilled business analyst does not need to have a deep technical knowledge but should have some general knowledge of network. 6) A Business Analyst should possess a quality that allows him to look into the future to see where business and technology are going.project. Learn more about the roles and responsibilities of a Business Analyst. The Business Analyst is to determine the most cost effective way to reach the goal and still succeed with a bottom line net profit. database concepts. operating systems. He or she can determine the most cost effective way to use the sources. There are times when services from outside sources may be utilized by the business. This is part of researching the project proposal. Knowledge. • IT knowledge: The Business Analyst should understand what the company information systems can and cannot do. • Data collecting skills: The Business Analyst should know what data do the company currently have and need to be carried over into the new systems or . and the System Development Life Cycle and project methodology. Because she or he has to liaise with various business units to gather requirements and resolve different business issues. hardware capabilities. Skills and Abilities of the Business Analyst • Business knowledge: The Business Analyst should have some background knowledge of the subject to make the requirements gathering efficient.

inputs. . To summarize. analyze and evaluate data and to be able to make appropriate and well-reasoned recommendations and decisions to support the Business stakeholders and the Project team. and costs. qualities and skills of a Business Analyst are: A good Business Analyst will be one of the best assets a company or organization can invest in. The Business Analyst should also be able to analyse the feasibility of requirements in terms of efforts. time.analysis around what can be achieved with a new system by projecting previous figures of a successful project on the business. Finding a Business Analyst with these qualities is like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. analyze and map processes. Identify and resolve issues • Ability to understand and document business processes: The Business Analyst should be able to recognize. • Analytical and problem solving skills: The Business Analyst needs to have the ability to assemble. model and improve business process and anticipate future state.

• Provide realistic estimates and updates of the work necessary to complete all relevant deliverables. Solutions often include a systems development component. organizational and operational requirements. but are driven solely by the requirements of the business. analyzes. The Business Analyst discloses. • Work closely with developers in translating business requirements into high level design specifications. Solutions are not predetermined by the Business Analyst. vendors. explain and clarify specifications for customers and project team members. • Produce. The Business Analyst can have a significant impact on development costs and help the business minimize project delays.Roles and Responsibilities of a Business Analyst A Business Analyst is responsible for identifying the business needs of their clients and stakeholders (the directors. stakeholders and the solution team. and customers) to help determine solutions to business problems. They typically have a high degree of industry experience and are a key facilitator within an organization. Responsibilities: • Define and document business and user requirements after thorough fact-finding with customers and analysis of business workflows and system requirements. the business analyst is responsible for gathering and documenting business requirements and translating them into functional system design specifications that can be successfully executed by IT development teams. but may also consist of process improvement or organizational change. and complete all tasks within targeted timeframes. validates and documents business. The Business Analysts study the overall business and information needs of an organization in order to develop appropriate solution strategies. As the key liaison between business and information technology departments. acting as a bridge between the client. employees. .

domain knowledge or certifications.• Review and provide feedback on test cases and documentation. experience. The neat thing about these traits is that you can structure interview questions and scenarios to actually try and bring these traits to the surface. and even overall organizational performance.. of these traits in individuals whom I and many others have recognized as great Business Analysts. I would highly recommend looking into setting up scenarios during your hiring process that will help you establish whether these traits are inherent in the individual or not. These traits are not meant to determine whether a person is a competent Business Analyst. if you work with enough Business Analysts over time you learn what sort of characteristics make a BA successful. if not all. They are engaging . a lot of environmental ambiguity. there are inherent traits that will more often than not help a person succeed in accomplishing business analysis tasks. Regardless of the Business Analyst’s skills. I’ve put some suggestions on how to search for these traits during interviews below. Over the years I’ve come to recognize most. 1. etc. initiatives. Competency in business analysis tasks is something that typically is tied to the ability for an individual to perform BA tasks at a certain level of complexity and autonomy. • Provide process improvement suggestions. That said I find these traits can partially predict a person’s inherent ability to rapidly improve their competency in business analysis through on-the-job and classroom training and experience. experience. If you look for these traits while you’re interviewing you will definitely have a leg up in determining if the candidate will be able to work well as a BA in your organization. 6 Traits Of A Great Business Analyst (And How To Interview For Them) Whether or not you have ever been a Business Analyst yourself. These traits are valuable because they help one thrive in a role that often comes with no authority (but lots of responsibility). and yet is one that plays a key role in the success or failure of projects. While you will still want to assess the BA based on their skills. Usually Business Analysts improve their competency over time with experience and ongoing professional learning. can have constantly shifting demands and priorities.

Business Analysts often learn how to cajole. Having an engaging Business Analyst can bring everyone to the table and help groups focus on achieving meaningful results in a short amount of time. validating and presenting requirements turns out to be completely useless as soon as the sponsor sees the report and says . coerce. 2. They aren’t easily ruffled by conflict Business Analysts are often faced with unruly or disagreeing stakeholders. you’ll want to be involved (or at the very least be willing to be involved more than you otherwise would). Listen to how they deliver their responses. If you feel like you want to hear more from the candidate regardless of the project being discussed.Business Analysts need to do something that is inherently tricky. unrealistic timelines and potential or actual shifts in scope. Ask them a similar question for what looks to be an interesting or exciting project. but the process is a whole lot easier if the Business Analyst is engaging. Rarely does a BA have the project with stakeholders who can commit their full time to requirement elicitation and validation. or have an unlimited amount of time to follow the schedules and priorities of their stakeholders and have requirements gathered when it suits them. You can also ask them about how they’ve dealt with situations where stakeholders were not committing sufficient time/effort to accomplishing tasks and how they overcame it. beg and otherwise convince stakeholders to help them accomplish their tasks. then there’s a good chance that the BA knows how to be engaging regardless of the environment. even if you’re the Director of Sales and they need you to help define performance metrics for the CRM database upgrade. If the first thing out of their mouth was “I talked to the Project Manager” then you probably have someone who does not believe they can inherently engage stakeholders. Sometimes all their hard work that has been put into gathering. A great Business Analyst makes you want to work with them. Instead. How to interview for this trait: Look for the most boring looking project or accomplishment on the candidate’s resume and ask them to describe to them how they were able to perform <insert relevant competency you wish to assess>. convince people to commit their time and effort to working on activities that often aren’t their top priority. A Business Analyst that can communicate the value of a project with passion and dedication will inherently pull people in without needing to list off the million reasons you need to be involved.

They are multi-disciplined A lot of Business Analysts have expertise and experience in IT and their domain. Have the interviewer continue to insist on their point as the candidate tries to explain their reasoning or position. “I don’t think you should ever contact the sponsor directly.” it’s quite another to actually see someone’s reaction when faced with a situation.“but I thought we were supposed to build X. While I don’t think this technique is suitable for every interview process. and even though they can often be held accountable for things beyond their scope they take as much as possible in stride. That’s what I really need. one of the interviewers can pretend to become rather rigid and start making assertions that the Business Analyst did not do the correct thing (e. Don’t get into any unprofessional conversations such as name calling. then that’s a bad sign. They realize that most of their environment is out of their control. Like Project Managers. Business Analysts have to be able to handle constantly changing goals. If they take it in stride and are able to accept the interviewer’s opinion. interact with stakeholders and identify opportunities if they’ve worked in many . then this is a very good indicator. and fighting with the new requirements management tool and it’s a surprise there aren’t more Business Analysts with frayed nerves. After a candidate has responded to a behaviour-based question. they need to realize that it’s all part of the process and that inevitably there will be delays or issues that will impact deliverables and timelines. If there’s a hint of a defensive response. Business Analysts should expect everyone to have an opinion different from them and know when to move the subject along and acknowledge the person’s point of view. I think it can yield insightful responses in many circumstances. evaluate the relevancy of 200 business rules in the current software. Top that off with trying to get stakeholders to return your calls and e-mails. I find that Business Analysts are able to more easily relate to capture information. priorities and whims of many stakeholders. you should always go through the Project Manager”).g. While they shouldn’t be simply trying to accommodate everyone without question. 3. but be stubborn. I’ve found that great Business Analysts cannot be easily perturbed. While this could be considered multi-disciplined I am looking for individuals who have experience in performing tasks in completely unrelated fields across multiple industries. regardless of what the charter says”. How to interview for this trait: It is one thing to say “tell me a time when….

or ensuring that all the bases are covered when reviewing a potential solution. a degree in Sociology but a Master’s or Doctorate in Math) also demonstrates a multi-disciplined mindset and experience. Chemistry. where. “What did you learn with your <degree/diploma/etc. Often Business Analysts won’t get the real information they need the first time around. Great Business Analysts realize that they are merely a conduit of information and are always asking as many stakeholders as needed to help elicit. who” when they’re communicating with stakeholders and analyzing solutions. so ask the candidate to discuss a time when they’ve applied knowledge from a job in one field and used it in another field (even if it’s what they learned flipping burgers before heading into investment banking). Great Business Analysts can leverage their knowledge of several disciplines to take techniques and information and apply it to their current project or duties. 4.industries. Business Analysts with an academic background that crosses several disciplines (for example. when.> that would help you be able to ensure that you have a complete set of requirements?”). If the candidate has always been in the same field but has an education in a field that is more or less unrelated to business analysis (Arts. ask them how they feel that education can help them in a specific BA situation (e. Real Estate. identifying the core need. Whether it’s determining the root cause of a problem. I find Business Analysts who have been in several industries to be more versatile and less susceptible to believing that certain analysis tools. A Business Analyst should always be thinking “What. techniques or work products are what are needed for any and every situation. A great Business Analyst realizes that all their activities and methods need to be adapted to the specific environment and situation at hand. how. etc. . validate and implement requirements. Multi-disciplined Business Analysts can often find innovative ways to deliver value to their projects and organizations with their wide range of knowledge. They are inquisitive I’ve never met a great Business Analyst that didn’t ask more questions than they answered over the course of a project. great Business Analysts realize that while they’ll probably never have a complete set of information they can ask timely and relevant questions to get as much information as possible so effective decisions can be made.g. How to interview for this trait: Few people stay in the same field for their entire career. why.). refine. either as a BA or in an operational role.

If they don’t ask any follow up questions. it’s really fake work. Ask them if they believe the project is a good one to undertake given your company’s goals (assuming the BA could have found these goals on your website or in provided materials prior to the interview). but they should know how to communicate the value (or lack of value) in recommendations to superiors. I’m not advocating that Business Analysts should be mavericks. 5. Doing so may place them at a slightly higher level of risk (since they may be going against popular or conventional thinking). They think (and action) strategically Business Analysts need to always be asking questions about the value of their work. and a great Business Analyst should know how to measure a project against those goals. but they also do this altruistically for the greater good of the company.” but are people who understand the needs and goals of the organization and can find ways to help them realize their objectives more efficiently. Rarely will the Business Analyst have the authority to act on an opportunity themselves. Great Business Analysts also know how to action on strategic thinking. How to interview for this trait: Give the candidate a scenario for a proposed project. but keep it high level. Great Business Analysts show their companies that they are not simply the “IT guys who don’t just talk tech. Good candidates for any position should review those goals prior to going to a job interview. In addition. The more questions and follow ups they ask that are pertinent and relevant. Great Business Analysts understand why what they’re doing has value and can articulate that to stakeholders. but they are willing to develop compelling arguments for superiors to take action. that’s a major red flag. the more likely they are naturally inquisitive and know how to search for important details and considerations. they are always looking for ways to uncover value for the organization by thinking about the organization’s strategic goals.How to interview for this trait: Tell the candidate a little about the project or operational role they will be performing. . (Note: if they start asking questions like “what’s my vacation pay” and “what are the benefits of the company” before asking for a lot of details about the role. you’re probably looking at the wrong person for your job). This may lead the BA to recommend the merger of two overlapping projects or highlight the opportunity for process re-engineering that will reduce costs. Work that doesn’t relate to the strategic goals of the organization doesn’t just have little value.

After they’ve done describing the project. etc. particularly business leaders and salespeople. How to interview for this trait: The best indicator of this trait is to review work products that were exclusively developed by the candidate.). Ask the candidate to review a sample deliverable and point out potential issues in the content (e.Also ask the candidate if they’ve ever been on a project where they didn’t think the project was that valuable to the company. or even that those needs are sufficiently articulated to be able to adopt solutions. ask them what they did to let others know that the project wasn’t valuable. . lack of traceability. The more issues that the candidate uncovers the better (bonus points if they spot stuff you didn’t even intend to be an issue). etc. particularly when they’re looking to commit to a position that will take up the majority of their waking hours.g. They care about the details Most of the above traits are things you want to see in other roles. This also means that a Business Analyst must be able to scale their message and thought processes. Start off by asking them something about the project (how was it run. One of the things in my mind that sets the Business Analyst role apart from some of these other roles is the need for attention to detail. and are adept at managing large amounts of detailed information. then this makes me question whether they can really action on strategic thinking. this is typically a good activity for a 2nd or 3rd interview. Make sure you give them sufficient time to review the document. etc. Without proper attention to detail the Business Analyst can’t ensure that the actual solutions developed or procured will meet the needs of the customer. A great Business Analyst can give a compelling presentation to executives on the value of a project and then turn around and discuss with a Quality Assurance member why a change to requirement R-1938 impacts test cases T-321 and 329. the work environment. Instead you can get the candidate to play the equivalent of Where’s Waldo. imprecise/ambiguous verbiage in requirements. how did they know it wasn’t valuable. You can’t be an Analyst without being a little bit anal  Great Business Analysts know the importance of having precise and clear details documented and communicated properly.). although this is often difficult to acquire. 6. If they didn’t do anything or very little. Again great Business Analysts want as much information as possible. I would also evaluate how detailed the candidate’s questions are when asking about the job.

larimarconsulting. Below are some qualities and traits of a good Requirements Lead and Business Process Improvement Facilitator that a Business Analyst should develop to be effective. hopefully these traits will help you identify individuals with the potential to be great BAs even if they’re in different roles or don’t have the experience yet.Finding Great Business Analysts Finding great Business Analysts can take time and effort. http://www. requirements validation and business process improvement. • Communicates well • Processes ideas from people • Shows a natural interest • Listens well • Maintains control • Empowers the group • Handles uncertainty • Is quick to connect with the group • Focuses on the business not their own solutions • Communication skills  Negotiating  Group dynamics  Listen/draw conclusions Business Savvy  Running meetings  Systems Analysis & Design  Relates well to people Management skills  Project Management  Manages people’s expectations Reputation Impartial Devoted to the process • • • • • .com Business Analysts are responsible for facilitating requirements analysis. What are some traits of great Business Analysts that you have worked with? Jarett Hailes Larimar Consulting Inc.