7 Business Analyst Skills You Need in the Workplace
As a Business Analyst, you will need to have a range of fundamental skills to be able to adapt to the changing workplace environment. These core skills are so fundamental that they will ultimately determine your success in the field. Although the list below is not exhaustive, it nonetheless provides you with a useful checklist of the kind of skills you will need.
1. Ability to Clearly Outline Your Objectives
Objectives are important in interpreting the direction of any organization. You need to fully comprehend what you have been hired to do, and why. You should never proceed if you are not clear what is required of you, and even more important, why your contribution is important to the organization. Don’t shy away from asking questions if you feel your brief is not clear enough.
2. Excellent Verbal Communication Skills
As a BA, you will have to be a good communicator. You will be called upon to conduct work meetings, to ask intelligent questions, and to keenly listen to others and understand what they say and mean. Try to understand the context and the motivation behind what is being said, and what’s not being said. While some meetings will be conducted in a face-to-face setting, others will take place in virtual environments, e.g., conference calls or webinars.
Your ability to effectively communicate across platforms, both offline and online, is crucial. Email communication is, for instance, a vital part of a BA career. However, face-to-face meetings are usually more helpful as they provide you with an opportunity to read non-verbal communication such as body language, hesitation, and tonal inflection. This are important cues that might help steer a meeting towards a more productive direction.
3. Problem-Solving Skills
As a BA, you will be called upon to handle complex projects that involve working with a team. Invariably, problems will occur. In fact, your job description is largely about problem-solving. You need to be in a position to understand the problem and then suggest potential solutions. Your role will also include helping your team to understand the problem and guide them towards possible solutions. Some of the challenges you will be expected to solve will be straightforward; others will be a bit complicated.
4. Critical Thinking Skills
Your ability to solve problems will greatly depend on how well you can evaluate a range of potential solutions and lead your team towards settling on the most ideal. This will involve keenly listening to stakeholders, critically analyzing their needs, and asking probing questions to reveal the underlying need. You will therefore require strong evaluation and critical thinking skills to be a successful BA. If you need to work on your critical thinking skills, this is a great area to develop in a business analysis course.
5. Relationship-Building Skills
This is one of the most important soft skill that a new BA must have. Your ability to establish strong bonds and relationships with stakeholders will be key to your success. The stakeholders will be as diverse as you can possibly imagine. Your ability to connect with them and build trust will greatly help you achieve your objectives.
6. Time Management
A Business Analyst position requires a strict time manager. This ensures that all tasks are completed on time, and on budget. While your ability to multi-task will be put to good use, you will also need to be good at prioritizing tasks and activities based on their level of importance. Once you identify these tasks, stay with them until they are done.
7. Writing and Documentation
As a BA, writing reports and generating all manner of documents will be part of your daily grind. Your documents should be clear and concise, and easily understood by stakeholders. Always remember that you are not writing to yourself, but to communicate progress to diverse stakeholders.
Need help developing these skills? Consider taking a business analyst course.