How to be an awesome business analyst
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We spend decades performing the role of a business analyst and each one of us wants to be awesome BAs - there's no doubt about it. But how do we become an awesome BA? In this blog, we will discuss a step-by-step approach to how one can become an awesome BA.
Before we begin, let’s understand, who an awesome BA is.
An awesome BA is:
- One who is extremely competent.
- One who has the ability to make a great impact on his/her organization and clients.
- One who has very happy and satisfied stakeholders.
- One who maintains a balance between professional and personal goals.
So, is there a way to become an awesome BA in about a year's time?
Let's take a look at the key elements needed to be an awesome BA.
The 5 key elements that are needed to become awesome BA are-
- BA process knowledge.
- Behavioral skills.
- Technology skills for.
- Domain knowledge
Let's start with the process and create an action plan to achieve this goal.
The Action Plan
The action plan is a simple four-step process.
- Do an assessment – We must know where do we stand today.
- Plan for the future.
- Execute the plan.
- Reassess where we are and where we still lack which we need to improve.
How can we assess our current competencies?
With our platform, SuXeed.net, one can take a free comprehensive competency assessment. SuXeed also provides a free personalized competency assessment report. Pay more attention to areas where your assessment score is below 60.
BABoK is a great resource for improving BA Process Competency. Adaptive’s BABoK V3 Study Guide is a summarized version of BABoK and is quite handy.
There are more than 100 BA templates as part of SuXeed which can be used in the day-to-day BA work.
BABoK is a bit weak on Behavioral Resources. The digital library of Adaptive's Suxeed e-learning platform provides many good books which can be very useful to a BA.
There are many free and trial tools in Suxeed which you can use once you register. Some of these tools will give you a lot of legs up in your work. One of the tools we strongly recommend is BizAgi BPM Process Modeler. It is free and produces fantastic business process modeling.
Another such tool is Pencil, which is a prototyping tool for business analysts.
You also get access to Lucid Chart which is a diagramming and visualization tool.
There are also some very good paid tools like Jira, Balsamiq, Visio, etc. If you are an Adaptive training member you get access to these tools without an additional cost.
As business analysts on the technology side, we need to always stay ahead on the curve. A lot of things have changed over the last decade. Social media has come into being and has become very powerful. Mobility has become the norm of the day. Analytics has made huge inroads, AI is making a big impact on companies and of course, IoT is going to make a huge difference to many sectors.
The top 10 things that would impact businesses are-
- Internet of things
- Artificial Intelligence
- Serverless computing
- 3D printing
Talking about artificial intelligence, it is very interesting to note that AI is not something that is only applicable to large companies. In a company of Adaptive’s size, which is a fairly lean organization, we have used AI features such as translation, speech to text, text to speech, etc., to create content. In fact, you can attempt Suxeed in many languages. Suxeed supports multiple languages like Spanish, French, German, etc., and all this is possible through the implementation of AI technology.
This is free and not something we purchased and I trust many of you can benefit from this particular technology.
There are also many domain resources that I would recommend. The IIBA digital library continues to be a great resource, but another document that we always recommend is APQC PCF. This is again freely downloadable.
In a nutshell, the APQC PCF describes what every organization does. This is called the cross-industry framework. There are industry-specific frameworks as well, like banking, education, aviation, petroleum, etc. There are many other variants of APQC PCF available. The good part about the APQC PCF is that it not only gives you high-level tasks it also goes down to the fourth level of detail.
As Business Analysts, many times, we automate some of these tasks for our stakeholders and clients.
The open-source application security guide is also a great framework, especially for building critical applications.
Last but not least, we should get recognized for our competence and there's no better place for it than IIBA. IIBA now has a good number of certifications available as compared to two years back when there were only two. Now there are six certifications to choose from. ECBA for entry-level BAs, ECBA+ for somebody who wants to practice along with ECBA, CCBA for mid-level BAs, CBAP for senior BAs. There are two new certifications, AAC for agile analysis and CBDA which is for data analyst stream.
So, depending on what is your career goal, what are your customers looking for, or what your organization is looking for, take a look and pick the certification which you find applies to you.
You can come back and reassess yourself at any point in time with us. We keep updating the assessment framework at least once in a year to keep it up-to-date and current. You can check if you are on the right track or if you are in need of any improvement in any area.