What is a business analyst? A business analyst is a person whose job is to analyze business needs and critical problems for the stakeholders and propose practical solutions. Many times this is done with a project proposal. The business analyst is to study the proposal, determining which would be the best course of action to reach the proposed solution. At times this can not be done. The plan and solution may look good on paper. When it comes time to implement the program, people and teams can be divided. 50% of all project proposals fail due to a lack of communication. The business analyst must also be a good people person to make the teams work together for the betterment of the business. The entire project is based on saving money. When a qualified business analyst can not perform his or her duties because of the lack of co-operation, the result is a waste of time and money. The project is doomed for failure. A business analyst must be able to use negotiation skills and motivational techniques for the entire project to succeed short term and long term. A business analyst will listen. Instead of jumping ahead and looking at the goal, he or she will take the time to understand the needs of the company. Asking questions is a key element to success in the world of business analysis. If the business analyst fails to comprehend the true needs of a company, the project can be sidetracked with issues unrelated. Again, the result would be failure. A certified business analyst has been trained to read and recognize omissions in the project proposal. He or she will understand the need for outsourcing certain tasks. Choosing to use in-house personnel or outside resources will be something the professional business analyst can determine by assessing the needs of the company. This may be where a lack of communication or even team failure comes into the equation. A good analyst will explain as the project progresses so each team knows what is happening. The business analyst may be hired to complete a proposed project but he or she must pull the company together as a whole. A good analyst knows company failure can result because of division in the offices or departments. He or she will see to it the company as a whole can see the vision of the business. He or she will explain how each department is integrated with the other. The project proposal may include more than is listed. The proposal may take another route to get the job done. A business analyst familiar with the industry involved will be able to recognize the overlooked or not so obvious issues involved. There are times when services from outside sources may be utilized by the business. The business analyst is trained to understand the importance or lack of need for these sources. He or she can determine the most cost effective way to use the sources. The business analyst may find directing the designated tasks to in-house departments more beneficial to the company. This is part of researching the project proposal. The business analyst is to determine the most cost effective way to reach the goal and still succeed with a bottom line net profit. Difference Between Systems Analyst and Business Analyst Many run into the problem of differentiating between a systems analyst and a business analyst. The differences in some organizations do not exist. In other companies, the comparison is almost an insult. Depending on the business or corporation, there are many differences. The job title is not the only thing with which to compare these two separate roles. The problem occurs when the title is not so conclusive. The business systems analyst or the systems business analyst can actually be one or the other or both. Job description is the only way to tell when this happens. There are differences, though. A systems analyst is capable of looking at a program or utility and see the code. They can go in and pinpoint where changes need to be made. They can incorporate the new data into an existing program for benefiting the company. The systems analyst can collect data and transform it into usable code for a new project or program. They can recognize where problems may lie in the code itself. They can rewrite this code to alleviate the problem. Usually, the systems analyst can consult with other IT members in technical jargon foreign to the business stakeholders. The stakeholders are just grateful the job is being done. The business analyst has a more complicated position. He or she must not only understand the way IT speaks but also how the stakeholders speak. The business analyst is more of a people person. He or she acts as a liaison between management and IT. A business analyst will be able to look at all aspects of the company and discover underlying causes for system failures. He or she may not be able to write the code to fix the issue. The business analyst can at least come up with the concept of what the code is supposed to do. The business analyst can retrieve reports and data from IT and transform it into reports needed to develop a project plan or program. Further development and research may be needed from another department which the business analyst is capable of doing. This is not to say the systems analyst can not do the job. The systems analyst is more black and white when it comes to this. The true business analyst is more creative and more flexible. The business analyst is one who can pull teams together to focus on the outcome of a project. He or she will be good at heading up meetings to present information in an easily understood language. The business analysis will be motivational, a driving force behind the project plan. Both are essential for good business. The systems analyst may need the business analyst to determine what is needed for the code to work effectively. The business analyst needs the systems analyst to make the code work effectively. Working together, these two people can accomplish great things for the company. There are certain companies who have both needs met with one person or a team of people. It is all a matter of choice. Trying to decide between the two may cause more headache than just hiring two people, or one who is qualified, to get the task at hand done. Writing a Vision Statement Writing the vision statement for a project can be the most enjoyable aspect of being a business analyst. He or she may have to curb their enthusiasm during the writing process. The business analyst can become lost in great expectations when writing the vision statement. Writing the vision statement will answer the everyday questions of who, what , when, why, and where. The who is easily defined as the stakeholders and the end user. The stakeholder as the who will be listed as the person or company enabling the project to be completed. It will include pertinent information about the company stand on the technology being developed. In writing a vision statement the "what" is the project program. The vision statement will deliver reasoning behind why the program is being developed. It will include what the program will be able to accomplish, what uses the program will have and who the program will impact. The vision statement may include statements of interest including updates available. The key is to keep the vision statement truthful. Vision statements include when the project or program will be completed or available for use. It will set a goal for release or implementation. The when is the time frame set by the stakeholders and development teams needs assessment. Determining the when of a vision statement can be an overwhelming task. There are always reasons why something can not be done on time. The infamous phrase is "There is never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it again." To set a definitive date in a vision statement is to take a risk. This is something which should also be included. Stakeholders and end users will know the date is tentative. The vision statement will deliver the reason why the program or project is being developed. It will list needs by the stakeholders and the end user. It will answer how the procedure or program will benefit the stakeholders. The vision statement will allow for projected returns on the investment. It will list why the program has to be developed for the betterment of the organization. The vision statement will answer why the project steps are being taken. This is probably one of the key elements in a vision statement. Where the program will be used is another key factor listed in the vision statement. The business analyst will determine where the program will best be utilized. In writing the vision statement the business analyst will reveal where project development will take place. It will also list where any outside resources will be used. Where the end user applies the program is instrumental in how the program is developed. The vision statement is not to be confused with the mission statement of a company. The vision statement is concerning the program project and only the program project. There may be great ideas expressed in the vision statement. The good business analyst will be able to keep the vision statement focused on the needs of the stakeholders. It is up to the business analyst and developers to keep the vision statement real and do-able. This is a mission with a targeted success date. The vision statement will deliver this information so the stakeholders know the scope of the project. The vision statement is the concept behind the mission. What Are Use Case Studies? A use case study is designed to describe a situation in which the program is being utilized by the end user. It will tell a story of sorts describing how the program works and the input of the user. It does not tell how the program was developed. The details of the programming are not included in the use case study. You are trying to express the concept behind the creation. Use case studies are generally one of two types. Type one is the essential use case. This is the type of use case study which is created at the beginning of a project. The idea behind the essential use case is to show what the program is going to do. There is no technical jargon or reference to programming procedures in the essential use case study. The second type of use case study is the real use case. This use case study will show the hands on of the application. Usually there will be slides showing how the system is operated. This use case study is developed mid-way through the development of the program. Stakeholders can see how the program is instrumental in it's usage. There may be several use case studies written for every scenario the development team can think of. This way the application is put through it paces, so to speak, on paper. Notes can be taken or suggestions made to better the program. Allowing the stakeholders to see the end results of the program without going completely through the development stage can save time and money. The business analyst will ask for suggestions when writing the use case studies. He or she will draw on the knowledge of the IT department. He or she will account for what the end user is asking for as well. The business analyst will draw up scenarios with the stakeholders in mind also. Use case studies are communication tools used to allow end users to express what they feel is necessary in the system. The stakeholders can see how the user interacts with the system and can make suggestions to improve the system. The use case studies communicate to the IT department what the system is being designed for. It shows hands on applications the system will be used in. The user will be able to say the system program is doing what is required. The IT department will be able to say the system program is functioning as required. When the system program is done and in place, everyone will know what to expect. The stakeholders, end users, and IT should be satisfied with the outcome. Use case studies do more than just show scenarios of the application. They can be instrumental in training documentation as well. The stakeholder or end user may want to keep the use case studies for training purposes or to help in developing training manuals. The business analyst who uses great care and painstaking intuition when developing use case studies may be rewarded in more ways than one. What is Agile Analysis? Agile analysis is being spoken of more and more frequently in the world of business analysts. This form of analysis is becoming more and more popular as the next generation of business owners comes into play. It is a more hands on approach to the business analysis. There is more communication. Face to face discussions occur more frequently. E-mails and faxes are becoming few and far between. So what is agile analysis? Agile analysis is the warm concept of business trouble shooting. The business analyst who uses agile analysis is more of a hands on type of person. The stakeholders who demand agile analysis are more informed than the normal upper management. Agile analysis incorporates all stakeholders and participants into one unit each with a given task. Communication channels are always open when it is concerning agile analysis. The qualified business analyst is more dependent on his or her people skills with agile analysis than any other type of productivity. Analysis answers the questions of who, what, why, when, and where. The infamous how much is also in there somewhere. Who is it for? What do they want? Why do they want it? When do they want it? How much is it going to cost? Where will it be used? If you can answer these questions with the data and information you gather then you are well on your way to solving the issues at hand. With agile analysis throw all of this out the window. Agile analysis is personable. The business analyst will want to be in constant communication with the stakeholders. He or she will want to have more personal contact with them versus e-mails and faxes. The stakeholders are key in agile analysis. They will be more of a hands on client. They will want to be in every step of development. In short, with agile analysis the business analyst and development teams will work hand in hand to deliver working software in a quick manner. They will be able to get face to face feedback allowing for changes to be made for the client. A working model structure will target each step or phase. The results will be classified as just in time solutions. As each phase in presented the stakeholders will be able to generate questions of compatibility. They will be able to analyze the progress to determine if it will still work within the guidelines of the scope of the project. Each phase meeting will be a kind of question answer segment for the teams. This will ensure all parties involved know what is happening and what is going to happen. Agile analysis has become more widely used over the past few years. Customers are finding they like the quick approach to the issues. New business analysts are enjoying the close contact with the stakeholders. IT likes being able to produce code that is going to be utilized and not just dumped. The end product is developed as an anticipated program. Agile analysis in some cases can be more cost effective. It is a win win situation. What is a business analyst? A business analyst is a person whose job is to analyze business needs and critical problems for the stakeholders and propose practical solutions. Many times this is done with a project proposal. The business analyst is to study the proposal, determining which would be the best course of action to reach the proposed solution. At times this can not be done. The plan and solution may look good on paper. When it comes time to implement the program, people and teams can be divided. 50% of all project proposals fail due to a lack of communication. The business analyst must also be a good people person to make the teams work together for the betterment of the business. The entire project is based on saving money. When a qualified business analyst can not perform his or her duties because of the lack of co-operation, the result is a waste of time and money. The project is doomed for failure. A business analyst must be able to use negotiation skills and motivational techniques for the entire project to succeed short term and long term. A business analyst will listen. Instead of jumping ahead and looking at the goal, he or she will take the time to understand the needs of the company. Asking questions is a key element to success in the world of business analysis. If the business analyst fails to comprehend the true needs of a company, the project can be sidetracked with issues unrelated. Again, the result would be failure. A certified business analyst has been trained to read and recognize omissions in the project proposal. He or she will understand the need for outsourcing certain tasks. Choosing to use in-house personnel or outside resources will be something the professional business analyst can determine by assessing the needs of the company. This may be where a lack of communication or even team failure comes into the equation. A good analyst will explain as the project progresses so each team knows what is happening. The business analyst may be hired to complete a proposed project but he or she must pull the company together as a whole. A good analyst knows company failure can result because of division in the offices or departments. He or she will see to it the company as a whole can see the vision of the business. He or she will explain how each department is integrated with the other. The project proposal may include more than is listed. The proposal may take another route to get the job done. A business analyst familiar with the industry involved will be able to recognize the overlooked or not so obvious issues involved. There are times when services from outside sources may be utilized by the business. The business analyst is trained to understand the importance or lack of need for these sources. He or she can determine the most cost effective way to use the sources. The business analyst may find directing the designated tasks to in-house departments more beneficial to the company. This is part of researching the project proposal. The business analyst is to determine the most cost effective way to reach the goal and still succeed with a bottom line net profit. Customer Relations and the Business Analyst In today's market the customer should always come first. This has been the bread and butter of many industries throughout the ages. A satisfied customer is one who will keep coming back. The customer is the one who helps the bottom line. This is true in the field of business analysis. It is the customer's needs which the business analyst is fulfilling. The business analyst should help to strengthen customer relations. Time put into this is time well spent. Finding the customer to be unhappy is never a good thing. Ask any good business manager what their number one priority is and they will answer customer relations. Sometimes it does not always show. Many of today's corporations utilize a big part of their budget on improvements in operations. The target is the bottom line. What they fail to realize is this can and will drive customers away. Targeting the needs of the customer is first and foremost in any business. The same holds true with business analysts. When going in to trouble shoot a system, the business analyst becomes a production manager. If he or she does not put the needs of the customer first, the project will undoubtedly fail. Listening to the customer to determine what is needed and desired is the start of a good relationship. When the business analyst fails to listen the entire project could not only start on the wrong foot but end in disaster as well. The business analyst must encourage feedback. He or she must understand just what the customer is wanting, even if they do not know themselves. The customer may know what he or she wants the project to accomplish. They may know how they want something to run. The customer just may not know how to say it. He or she may collect data imperative to the project program. It is the business analyst's job to determine if the data is even relevant. He or she is the liaison in this relationship. He or she must have good customer relations skills. The business analyst must speak the customer's language. Putting the customer relationship first can be a daunting task at times. The bottom line is critical to success on any project. There are times the business analyst will be caught up in keeping cost down and compromise the relationship he or she has with the customer. The customer will be much happier if you go a little over budget and keep him or her happier in other areas of the project. Sometimes it is easier to prepare reports and allocate spending to IT to accomplish a task than it is to spend time or money developing a plan for customer satisfaction. The price any company could pay for this is a high one. The business analyst is no different. Customer satisfaction means keeping them informed of progress. Speak in a language they understand. Consult with them when a roadblock is met or when a progress point is passed. Either way, keeping a constant rapport with the customer ensures a satisfied client. This can lead to repeat business. This helps the business to grow. Business Analyst Job Description The job description of a business analyst is rather extensive. He or she must first determine the needs for a company by using many tools. The business analyst may conduct interviews with management and other department leaders. He or she must analyze documentation, facts and figures. The analyst should incorporate a site survey to determine applications being used and what may be needed for superior quality performance. He or she will consider business applications currently being used which may or may not be working. The business analyst will do a business analysis and a work flow analysis to assess difficulties in reaching goals and to determine a better strategy. A qualified business analyst will be able to ascertain the true needs to be met by the project. He or she will be able to transfer information from management into needed data. Statistics from other sources will be assessed and turned into usable information. The business analyst will be able to compile a report in an easily understood projected vision to be implemented. The job description of a business analyst does not always but should include excellent communication skills. He or she needs to be able to address a diverse group of inside and outside personnel. He or she should be able to motivate the departments to challenge themselves and reach their goals. The business analyst will be required to relay information from the IT team or department to the clients in easily understood terms for both groups. The business analyst should have past experience to draw from when processing data and information. He or she will possess knowledge used in case studies and transfer it into usable information. Prior situations should be able to be compared to avoid counterproductive actions. The business analyst will be able to draw from known resources when outsourcing or external interactions are needed. He or she will be able to incorporate joint venture relations into the project scope when it is necessary. Determining this critical point is instrumental in the job of a business analyst. Acting as a liaison between clients and development departments, the business analyst shall distinguish requests from needs. He or she will assess the proposed project plan to ensure all needs are met. The verifiable solution shall be one which guarantees success. A statement of purpose will be proposed by the business analyst to ensure the end results are satisfactory to all involved. There will be a project goal integrating all data collected. Documentation will be provided by the business analyst to determine which aspects of the project will be handled by outside sources. These sources shall be listed with critical attention being paid to the specific task of each organization. The business analyst will have a good understanding of what is expected. There are many aspects of the project proposal. He or she will involve themselves with each unit to instill continence and still maintain productive action. The professional analyst will be able to focus on each department independently and maintain a broad vision of the project scope. These are the duties of a business analyst. Techniques Available to the Business Analyst The business analyst will utilize many tools when scoping out a project proposal. He or she may use basic, intermediate, or advanced techniques. Each company project proposal will be different. Similarities may occur allowing the business analyst to use past experience to implement a business plan. Different businesses will demand varied techniques to implement a project proposal. If there is a company newsletter detailing IT production, this will help a business analyst with his or her research. Data collection can come from many sources. The news letter may give an insight into what the company is struggling with or trying to accomplish. A blog or website can also provide this information. Financial statements will allow the business analyst to examine past successes and failures of the company. Statistics can be gathered which will inform the analyst of strategies used in the past. This will help in calculating risk assessment. The financial software available on today's market will allow the business analyst to establish where financial results can be improved. The business analyst has the ability to utilize a feedback survey to determine specific needs of the company. Simple questionnaires can pinpoint management strategies and performance as well as give an employee and outside sourcing analysis. Added to information already gathered, the business analyst can compile a project program for acquiring higher profit margins and reaching set goals. The certified analyst will take into consideration the cost of a project. At times the company can be spending money where it is not necessary. This is also true with project programs. A good business analyst will determine necessary needs and strive to keep project program costs within a set guideline. The best technique a business analyst can use is creativity. Let them think outside the box. Allow the freedom of expression to flow freely. The business analyst is a creative do-er. Let them do what comes naturally. A true business analyst will create a project program as though it were a work of art. This is the parental instinct coming out. The technique is to develop the "baby" and nurture it into something workable. As with any great thing, an artist will look at all aspects to determine what will make a good model and a good subject. Using both as a focal point, a masterpiece is created. Success will usually follow. There will be nay sayers. These are the ones who need to see the big picture and not each individual step. There will inevitably be fault with one or two points. The savvy business analyst will see the faults do not become cliff hangers. The issues will be dealt with in a timely manner. Only good things can happen from that point. Allowing the creative techniques to be used has put many a business at the forefront of their industry. A good business analyst is always looking for something which will work to make a difference. When he or she recognizes a problem, the creative side sees what has or has not worked in the past and figures out a way to overcome the issue. As a motivational person, the business analyst will encourage creative thinking in the departments. Embracing new ideas and trends have produced record setting years for companies which use to struggle. The intelligent business analyst will know different can be dynamic. 8 Questions every Business Analyst Should Ask It does not matter what project you are going to undertake. It is not important what industry you are going to be assessing. What is important is you know what you are going to do. You must as questions. You must find what it is the client wants. Presented is a list of obvious questions every good business analyst should know the answer to when starting a project. 1. What problem is this business having that you hope to solve by developing this project? It should be obvious as to why you would ask that question. If you do not understand what the problem is then you can not help to solve it. Also, when reading the project program it may not be clear as to what the client actually wants. The scope may only tell you what they would like to see happen. It could and often times is not focused on what the true issues are. 2. What is the business doing at present to alleviate or solve the issue? What has been tried in the past? You must understand what the client is doing in order to understand what must be done. You do not want to develop a project plan overview only to have someone tell you it has been tried. Listen to the customer. Find out what they have done. Ask questions while you are listening. On your toes brainstorming so to speak. Listen to what has not worked. 3. What inside resources will this project be utilizing? What outside resources will be necessary? You will want to determine where your help and team players are coming from. You may be familiar with most of the IT, but if the client wants to outsource it is a different game. You may have to make a list of external interactions. Define the company's strengths and weaknesses. This can be most advantageous. 4. Have you determined a vision for the project? The business analyst will compare this scope with the one he or she will develop to ensure consistencies and a parallel outlook. In other words make sure you are on the same path. This is sometimes easier said than done. Communication is the key to success with this question. 5. What risks to you foresee and are you willing to take them? A conservative client may not be inclined to take large risks. Getting them to be specific can help when generating the project program. You may also be able to overcome some of their fears or doubts by explaining the risk factor more thoroughly. 6. Are you under any type of time constraint? There has to be a set time frame for the outcome. A goal can be reached for any project if time is not a factor. Most clients have time constraints which affect every avenue of business. You will want to know what these are and plan accordingly. 7. What is the projected cost of the program? An aggressive business analyst may be blunt and honest by wording the question like this. What is the projected budget and can it be deviated from? There are times certain steps must be taken which can cause a project to run over budget. Other plans of action may not need implemented because management was not fully aware of certain assets available. It is best to know exactly what is going into this project for the project program to succeed. 8. Who is the end user? What support will they have? You will need to know this in order for the program to even fulfill it's purpose. Marketing data must also be collected to incorporate what the end user is asking for. The goal is to reach the objective with everyone satisfied. A business analyst can not do this without talking and listening to everyone involved. What does a business analyst do The qualified business analyst wears many hats. He or she is a negotiator, a skilled listener, a motivational speaker, and a team leader. His or her title may include that of systems analyst, requirements analyst, or project manager. The business analyst may or may not have a degree in business analysis. He or she may not be able to write code. However, the business analyst is educated in the process necessary to produce the code. He or she may even come from an IT department. But what is it they do? The business analyst is someone capable of troubleshooting.. He or she will be able examine data and other information gathered to determine losses experienced by the company. The business analyst will be able to compare previous facts and figures to current numbers to deduce or predict where failure may occur. He or she will be able to examine information gathered by stakeholders to assess risks of certain project programs. The business analyst is an objective listener. He or she will be able to speak to stakeholders and hear the needs determined by the management. The business analyst will be able to ask questions which could lead to certain discoveries once overlooked. The qualified business analyst gain knowledge of a situation by listening to team leaders and end users. He or she will hear the underlying message of what is being developed versus what is needed. The business analyst is a negotiator. He or she will be able to involve themselves with departments and teams to allow the teams to work together. The business analyst will realize conflicts among departments. He or she will work side by side with each team to negotiate a compromise so the project is not jeopardized. The business analyst will motivate the teams to recognize their strength and weakness and allow them to excel and overcome. He or she will develop a rapport with department heads and stakeholders to rally the teams into completing the tasks at hand. The business analyst may be asked to centralize services for more efficient work environments. He or she may be asked to reduce duplication processes occurring between departments. The qualified business analyst may be asked to develop relations with external sources when necessary to deliver services needed for project completion. The duties of the business analyst are never ending. He or she is a useful asset to the company. The business analyst is a visionary. He or she usually thinks outside the box. Always in the know about latest technological advances, the business analyst will know when a program is capable of being utilized by the company. He or she will know how to determine a need when the situation arises. This way the business is not left behind and can keep up with corporate peers. Sometimes the business analyst is forgotten amongst the bustle of corporate strategy. However the business analyst will be the always be the innovative link between each and every department and stage of development in the project program. What is IT IT stands for Information Technology. It is simple pronounce I T, the two separate letters. In most organizations it is the computer department. The place where all the geeks gather to hunch over clicking keyboards to get the computer to do some wonderful new trick. That is what people imagine. In fact the IT departments are one of the key elements in today's technology. Without IT departments, there would be many items we commonly take for granted no longer available to us. IT departments are responsible for every banking system in the world today. It was the IT departments who first made it possible for online banking. It was the IT department who came up with computer software designed to allow the use of debit and credit cards. Lending institutions and finance companies who depend on amortization calculators would have to go back to figuring by hand with out the use of the programs developed by IT departments. In short, if a computer generated the program for the device or system you are using, it was an IT department somewhere who designed it. Thus was born the business analyst. The business analyst may or may not have been from the IT department. He or she may not be able to write code. They do know the intricacies behind it. They are the ones able to speak with others to determine what the IT department should be doing. The system works something like this. The stakeholder, someone in business or with a business interest, has an idea he or she thinks may sell or make the business more money. The idea may only generate an easier way of doing things. Faster production means less man hours. Less man hours means less payroll. Less payroll means more money for the company to spend somewhere else. The problem came when the stakeholder tried to explain what he or she wanted from the IT department. The IT department caught on to the general concept and designed an application for the program. The stakeholder found he could not use the code. Enter the business analyst. The business analyst will listen to the stakeholder. He or she will evaluate the situation to determine if the needs of the stakeholder are viable. The business analyst can determine if other items are necessary for the stakeholder and the end user to be happy. When it is determined exactly what the stakeholder needs, the business analyst will speak with the IT department. The IT department will be off and running. The IT department in many companies have developed amazing things. You just never know what an IT department has done for you until you stop and think about it. Processors run on code. Tiny processors are used for many things we use in everyday life. Cell phones and cordless phones are two things everyone uses. Bluetooth technology was developed by a team of IT specialists. The computers in the vehicle you drive are running code an IT department somewhere developed. When someone mentions the IT department, it should be done with respect. Almost any electronic device or system run with a computer code would not be functioning if it were not for the IT department. Qualities of a Business Analyst Analysts used to be the ones who had a technology degree but were able to back it up with some basic business knowledge. Now the times are changing. Business analysts are business people who specialize in technology. They can work both spectrum's of the field. Qualities of a business analyst may include some degree in technology. They know that the business is to lead the way in technology, not the other way around. Just because it is a cool new thing does not make it a practical application for today's market. It may not fit the bill next month or even next week. Another quality a business analyst has is the ability to be comfortable in the board room as well as in front of the drawing board. He or she will know how to address a meeting of the stakeholders, while still going back to IT and mapping it out for the department. A great quality for any business analyst is what some call bi-lingual speech. Being able to discuss issues in a clear concise language everyone can understand. The business analyst is going to be a research person. He or she will always be doing something to gain more knowledge. Whether it is for the company or for their own personal gratification the business analyst will know knowledge is the key to success. One of the best attributes for the business analyst is being able to supply options. He or she will know what is available and from whom. The business analyst is not a bobble headed yes man. He or she will state the facts and tell the stakeholders or department leaders if the idea is solid or not. He or she will let people know when a problem exists with a concept or idea. The business analyst will be able to tell why the problem occurs. Being open minded is a good quality for the business analyst. He or she can impart an impartial viewpoint to theories and opinions. The business analyst will be able to choose vendors from an objective point of view. Qualities bestowed on a business analyst include knowing the attributes of another individual. He or she can show that person where their expertise can help a project. The business analyst will not surround him self or her self with people who do nothing. He or she will find the people who can do the job. This may mean the large team stakeholders are expecting may only be a handful of qualified individuals. The qualities of a business analyst will allow him or her to look into the future to see where business and technology are going. He or she will be collecting information all along the way to help with the next step or phase which is coming. He or she will be able to map market trends. The business analyst will be able to see economic bubbles before they occur and take steps to avoid disaster. A good business analyst will be one of the best assets a company or organization can invest in. Finding a business analyst with these qualities is like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. The business analyst will tell you where to invest it.
Finding a Business Analyst There are times when a business starts to lose money and no-one is sure where the problem is located. Going over facts and figures only points to the bottom line. The bottom line continues to shrink. People start to get desperate. Strategies are planned and implemented to no avail. Tried and true measures are no longer working. It is time to call on the experts. The business analyst needs to be brought in. The problem is finding one who knows the company. Finding a good business analyst is not as hard as everyone thinks. They are not the enemy. They are not some eerie creature sneaking around, lurking behind every corner. A good business analyst is a creative thinker. He or she is a motivational, aggressive team player. The business analyst can gather data and other pertinent information from management and other sources to determine what is the key problem. A qualified business analyst may already exist in your organization. A member of the IT department could be the one who develops a project program designed to save the company money. This is some one capable of setting up a development team to think outside the box. You are looking for someone creative. You want someone who is not afraid of a vision. Someone with good communication skills is a must. Most projects fall short due to the lack of communication. It is actually a benefit to choose someone in-house. He or she already knows the company. The business analyst will know the strong attributes as well as weaknesses of the company. Choosing someone from inside the organization means he or she will know the people involved. Camaraderie may already exist. This can make the gathering of information easier. The more easy it is to collect needed data and information, the more quickly a project scope can be developed. The best business analyst will be able to speak the language of which ever department he or she needs to interact with. He or she will not get caught sidetracked with mundane tasks and mute points. The business analyst will know what information is needed and get it. They will keep the big picture in mind. They will motivate others to stay on task. A good business analyst will allow someone the freedom of creativity. Obviously what was being done did not work. A new approach is needed and the qualified business analyst will see this. Someone who can develop a repoire with the departments to meet expectations is the perfect candidate for business analyst. This person will act as a liaison between management and development teams. He or she should be able to speak with authority while still maintaining a level of respect. The perfect business analyst will be able to foresee problems which may arise between teams and squelch them before they start. A liaison between involved departments, a leader during meetings, a project developer, and a numbers cruncher are all beneficial attributes of a good business analyst. Find someone capable of doing all these things and you have found a great asset. Is a Degree Necessary to be a Business Analyst The lack of proper education can be a major drawback for someone breaking into the business world. Many people study business management and other business related courses. There are many diplomas issued each year to hopeful business prospects. When it comes to being a business analyst all the rules change. Although a degree can be helpful, it is not necessary. Experience is the key to success when it comes to a business analyst. Many great business analysts did not even go to college. If they did it was not in the field of business but technology. A business analyst can earn a degree. There are certification classes one can take to hold the title of certified business analyst. Most have learned from experience not from books. A good business analyst is one who has prior experience in the business world with trouble shooting. They will be able to assess a business proposal or project and determine needs from data gathered. A book or white paper may not tell a business analyst what needs assessments to to prepare. Only experience can do that in certain businesses. To better understand what degree a business analyst must have consider it only takes 8 weeks to become a certified business analyst. 2 months of study can explain what the job description is and how to implement it. When you put it in those terms, it may be a little unnerving to some. Those 8 weeks are crammed with information straight from a text book. The real world is slightly different. A good business analyst is going to understand the concept of code. He or she is going to know there is something amiss when they start researching the problems reported by management. There may be simple solutions which only require added code to justify the means. Other projects many require extensive analysis to determine where the problem lies and how to correct it. Someone with business savvy can figure it out. The problem lies in implementing the plan of action. The reputable business analyst will be able to speak with management and other stakeholders to hear what problems and solutions have been ascertained. These issues may or may not be the root source of the conflict. The business analyst can determine this. He or she can weed through what management thinks is necessary information to glean the truth. He or she will be able to drop in on IT and see what their take on the problem is. The business analyst will also speak to other low end users who know more about the application of the program. This is where other departments fail in providing what works and what does not compute with real life scenarios. Does someone need a degree or license to understand the issues of business? No. Does it help to have an understanding? Yes. It certainly looks good on a resume to list degrees and certifications. Past experience and a portfolio of solved issues will go farther than any framed paper. Why use a business analyst There are some business people who are not sure why they would need a business analyst. This can be a hard decision to make. The easiest way to determine whether or not a business could benefit from a business analyst is to decide what the business wants to accomplish. If there is a problem that can not be pinpointed the use of a business analyst could be beneficial. Not all business analysts have to be called in from the outside. There may be a qualified individual in the organization which can meet the qualifications of a business analyst. It may be someone in the IT department. It may be someone who is familiar with the workings of all the departments. A quick search of qualified applicants can determine this issue. The business analyst can help with formulating a plan of action which allows the stakeholders to pinpoint where a problem exists. Narrowing down the problem can be handled by the business analyst through research and data. Once the problem has been uncovered, the business analyst will be able to determine which is the best course of action. A project report can be written outlining the steps needed to reach a pre-determined solution. The good business analyst will be able to act as a liaison between departments. He or she will be able to speak with each department. At times the department teams may falter or second guess themselves. The business analyst will be able to motivate the teams. He or she will be able to point out the strengths each individual has. This will allow the teams to aggressively approach each task at hand. The qualified business analyst will be able to express the needs of the stakeholder and the end user in such a way for the IT department and others involved can understand. There are times when stakeholders and the development team are on the same page but each is interpreting something different. The qualified business analyst will be able to set the wheels in motions which allow both stakeholders and development teams to understand what is needed. Unless the business analyst asks questions and listens carefully, the entire scope of the project can be placed in jeopardy. It is up to the business analyst to weigh all the facts and do the research necessary for everyone to understand what is being requested. Once the teams know what is required of them the business analyst can keep each team informed of the others performance and completion of set tasks. In the long run the business analyst can be an asset to the company for many years. He or she can build a rapport with each team and department within the company for future project programs being developed. As new technology becomes available the business analyst will be able to inform stakeholders what may need to be done to implement it into the workings of the company. Outside sources will be more easily obtained with someone familiar with the project programs and what is necessary to accomplish the task. The experience of a business analyst will show when it comes time to lead a meeting to explain what is happening. The vision of a company can be designed by the qualified business analyst. Being Flexible as a Business Analyst Sometimes the business analyst can be so caught up in a project he or she forgets tried and true methods do not always work. The analysis team is trying to get done what the customer has scoped out and sets up a plan of action. The plan of action requires certain fundamentals. There are times when these rudimentary ideas just do not work for the client. The client can not understand why these steps may be so important. This is when the business analyst needs to step back and ask the same questions as the client. It is all in communication. The professional business analyst must understand success of the project is not only about requirements documentations it is about how those requirements are handled. The business analyst is the acting liaison between the client and IT. The documentation may be required for the IT team to do their job. Certain explanations may be necessary for everyone to understand what is needed. Yet the client may not understand the documentation or have no need for it to begin with. Communication skills are what is required. The business analyst may get further and move faster with just a simple meeting to explain the methods and procedures being used. The client can ask questions and the business analyst can explain. The case studies and other documentation would not in any way assure the client of progress. There are those who need to hear it because to them it may look good on paper, but how is it supposed to work? A good business analyst can explain the intricacies of what is taking place. The client can sign off. The work can continue. The goal is being met. This is where the business analyst must be flexible. Just because he or she has done this a thousand times with other clients does not mean this client is like the other thousand. The job of the business analyst is to determine what the client wants. Paperwork may be a burden to the client. The business analyst should comprehend how information is delivered. He or she must be flexible enough to deliver what the customer is requesting. The business analyst must ensure the client is comfortable with how information is delivered. Not the other way around. There will be times the business analyst must learn to be flexible when it comes to dealing with information. Not everyone can do the job of a business analyst. This is why he or she was hired in the first place. However, there may be no documentation for certain things the analyst is normally made privy to. The business analyst must be flexible in knowing how to work around this barrier. He or she must know how to gather the information needed to perform the task. Flexibility comes in handy at this point. The business analyst may have to do what he or she can at present and wait for statistics to be gathered. Instead of getting a concise written report from the team, the analyst may have to interview each member to gather what he or she needs. The key is to work within the boundaries of the client. Do what the client feels comfortable with. The business analyst may not be as comfortable. Being flexible in any situation will do away with this unease. The task at hand can be accomplished. Business Analyst for the Small Business Small business owners may not think they need a business analyst. Small businesses are sometimes caught up in trying to survive and overlook a key element in their success. The business analyst can actually come in and determine what the small business owner can do to expand his or her business. The small business owner can benefit just as much from a business analyst as a large corporation. There may be times when the business analyst sees the big picture when the small business owner can only see the bottom line. The new small business may not feel the added expense of a business analyst is worth justifying. In fact this is just the case. The small business can benefit from the business analyst in many ways. The business analyst may be able to offer an unforeseen income generating avenue. Advertising techniques the small business is using may be proving fruitless. The business analyst may be able to implement bluetooth advertising. The small business could target specific clients instead of a general population with his or her advertising dollar. The business analyst may be able to suggest point of sale income not thought of by the small business owner. Other elements the business analyst could suggest would be repackaging in different sizes, where appropriate. Offering complimenting sales items may have not occurred to the small business owner. The business analyst is there to show a different perspective. The business analyst will be able to assess the small business and determine what business decisions should be made. He or she can instruct the small business owner of new programs available. The business analyst will be able to offer advice as to new technology the small business owner is not taking advantage of. The small business is able to be aided in several ways by the business analyst. The business analyst is a visionary. He or she can show the small business how to implement innovative business techniques. These techniques may have never been before thought of by the small business owner. The business analyst can view the broad scope of things to determine a need by the customer. The small business owner may have no idea these areas of opportunity exist. It is up to the business analyst to show the small business what will work and what will not work for the business. Building profits and customer relations are the two key components that make up what the small business is focused upon. A good business analyst will be able to integrate these key elements into a plan of action for the small business. The business analyst can act as the liaison between the small business and the customer to determine if the needs of the customer are being met. A report can then be generated to determine how the small business can use this information. The small business and it's customers can benefit from the knowledge a business analyst brings to the table. The added expense of a business analyst can significantly raise the profits of a small business. It is worth researching whether a business analyst will be able to use his or her skills when it comes to a small business. The Job Market for a Business Analyst Business analyst is not a new term in the business world. It has become extremely popular over the past few years. With businesses expanding world wide more emphasis has been put on the IT teams and departments to monitor and or expand with corporate peers. This has brought about changes in how business operates. A need for business analysis and systems analysts was born. Stakeholders wanted to know the money being spent was worth the expenditure. They needed someone to come in and tell them where to invest within the company to raise profits. The business analyst job was created. The job of the business analyst was simple at first. He or she was nothing more than a monitor. Observe what was going on and try to improve on it. Look for problems and find a way to fix them. The position became complex when stakeholders started demanding things from IT and no-one knew what to do. The business analyst became the go between. Acting as the liaison for stakeholders and IT, the business analyst became the one who got things done. He or she acted as the motivator. He or she was the mover and shaker of the company. Today a business analyst can have several different names. Systems analyst and project manager are just an example. The job of business analyst can be held from inside the company or with an outside research and consulting firm. Certain business analysts are independent business owners choosing to offer their experience to a broad range of clientele. It is basically how the business analyst wishes to work which determines the job market for him or her. There are those people who wish to ensure job stability within a corporation. They will feel more secure knowing they are a part of a dynamic organization they can grow with. The skill level will grow with the demands of the job. Emphasis will be placed on what the boss wants at any given time. Other people breaking into the job market may wish to join with a group of individuals already working with several clients to fulfill the needs of stakeholders. A research and development firm may be just what is needed for this individual. He or she will want to learn with their peers, work with a trained team, and accomplish things as a team player. They will be able to grow and expand by learning from the years of experience the firm has to offer. The business analyst who thinks outside the box may be truly happy on his or her own. He or she may want to develop their own kind of strategy for the job market. This kind of person may choose to open his or her own consulting firm. He or she may be very good at working alone while still motivating the teams and departments to get the job done. His or her success depends on the negotiating skills and other people skills one is born with. Some independent business analysts are very successful. The job market is open to many who seek this type of position research should be done prior to just accepting any offer that comes. Questions should be asked. Is this the type of company I will be happy with? Is there room for advancement? Will I gain experience while working here? Will I be able to express myself freely when I foresee a problem with a project? What are they looking for in a business analyst? Do I truly fit the description? Determining what the business analyst is looking for before he or she even starts career chasing will save quite a few headaches down the road. Business Analyst in Web Design Web design can be confusing to anyone. The programming needed seems to be a never ending cycle of code, application, and algorithms. Trying to determine what numbers plug into which schematic might be a bit confusing to anyone with out technical training. The business analyst can assist with the web design of a large company right down to the mom and pop corner store. Web design has become a need which must be addressed by almost every industry. There are so many people today who rely on information technology to research everything from apples to zoological studies and everything in between. The business analyst can assist with implementing the strategy necessary for a profitable web design. Acting as the liaison between the stakeholder and the IT (Information Technology) department, the business analyst can speak to both. He or she is knowledgeable with technology which can benefit the stakeholders. The business analyst can also explain to the IT department what is needed for the stakeholders to be happy. This is his or her job. The business analyst will be able to listen to the stakeholders to determine the needs of the business. He or she may ask pertinent questions as to the web design in question. He or she will make suggestions to the stakeholder to explain new or existing technology that may be utilized. The stakeholder may not be familiar with options available to the company. Acting as the spokesman for all departments, the business analyst will be able to take ideas offered by the stakeholders and transform them into usable information for the IT department. He or she will be able to come up with a workable solution for each key point needed by the stakeholder. The business analyst will also be able to formulate a definitive plan of action or a project program to lay out the ground work necessary for the web design to actually perform according to plan. There may be information the business analyst must gather from the end user to determine if the needs assessment performed by the stakeholders is viable. In some cases it is not usable information or may be off the target scope. The end user will know better what will make the web design complete. The options available for the end user may be overlooked by the stakeholders. The business analyst will be able to ascertain from surveys and site inspections what is needed to satisfy all parties involved. Web design will be a team effort developed by many departments. It is up to the business analyst to choose these teams so the best of the best is available. He or she will be able to motivate the individual teams to act as a unit for the betterment of the project. The departments will work alone and together to complete the project in a timely manner. Using a business analyst to develop a project program for web design is a smart business decision. He or she may have code experience which will help in analyzing the problems which may come up. The business analyst will be able to decipher the facts and figures to better explain to the IT department what is useless code and what is viable. The shrew business stakeholders will benefit from hiring a business analyst when the idea of web design presents it's self. Defining a Project Scope The project scope is the core of an individual project. Without a project scope the project will just float. Proper needs assessments and other intricate details will be overlooked. Each project is designed to resolve issues the stakeholders are experiencing in their company. These well meaning individuals will dump data and information charts, lists and figures presumptuously on the desk expecting it to all make sense. The "here's the problem, fix it" attitude can be frustrating. There are numerous feature requirements which must be met. It is unclear as to what to prioritize where. Cost estimates may not be accurate. Delivery dates are tentative. It is enough to make someone through up their hands in desperation and say "I QUIT!". The trained business analyst will just grin and dive in. He or she will know what is needed is a project scope. The project scope is the outline of the project. The project scope is considered the itinerary of an individual project program. The project scope is the step by step guide to determine who, what, why, when, and where. It will be able to define to the stakeholders what they want to have done. It will be able to list who will be doing which job. The project scope will list why each step is critical to success of the project. It will also address the time frame as to when the project should be completed. The project scope will detail for the stakeholders outside resources being utilized for completion of individual tasks. Each development team will be able to view the project scope and see what is required of them. The project scope will also detail needs assessment and cost estimates. Each project scope will be able to address technical constraints the stakeholders may or may not be aware of. Within the project scope a detailed report of end user requests will also be added. This will allow the stakeholders to understand why certain aspects of the project program are different than anticipated. The project scope is an itinerary listing short term and long term expectations. Short term goals will be listed allowing the stakeholders to check each milestone. The project scope will also include a prioritized listing of essential requirements or features needed for short term and long term success of the project program. One of the most critical reports in the project scope is the vision statement. The vision statement will define in clear and concise wording the project scope. The vision statement will allow the stakeholders to understand the problem and the solution needed. The vision statement will state the user needs in clear terms. The program features will be outlined in the vision statement. The project scope is the "do to" list of the program. A sort of brainstorming, or in some cases, model storming which allows all parties involved to be able to follow along. Each department along with the stakeholders will be able to refer to the project scope throughout the completion of the project. Without the project scope the project has no start or end point. The project will most likely fail. What Makes a Good Business Analyst There are several key points one needs to understand before deciding whether or not to become a business analyst. You may be qualified to do the job you were hired to do. Yet is it the job you wanted to do? Some analysts find themselves locked in a cubical writing reports all day, only to find the report was not used or even read. They realize they are in a dead end job going no-where fast. This is not the usual dream one has when becoming a business analyst. 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. The good business analyst may be a part of the IT team or department. He or she may even be able to produce usable code for practical remedies to small tasks. He or she will understand technology and the jargon that leaves the common layperson confused. 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. The good business analyst will have information available about the latest technology. He or she will know the formulas or programs used by corporate peers. The good business analyst will be able to recognize trends and differentiate between them and fads. They will understand the end user market. The good business analyst will understand people. He or she will be a motivational person who can gear people into wanting to complete a project. The good business analyst will be able to point out someone's strengths and help to build on those. He or she will recognize when a person is having a conflict and try to help resolve the issue. He or she may even be able to create teamwork within separate departments to meet a goal or deadline. The good business analyst commands respect because he or she gives respect. You will not find the good business analyst spreading rumors or gossiping. He or she will squelch the first signs of trouble and stand up for what he or she believes in. There is no room for garbage in the office. The good business analyst is a visionary, a creative thinker, and innovative. He or she is fun to work with and carries a positive attitude. Very few people do not like the good business analyst. Importance of a Business Analyst Each year technology advances at break neck speeds. These advances are utilized by businesses all across the globe. Multi-million dollar corporations are caught in a "keeping up with the Jones" race to develop new products or better ways of serving the consumer. At times, the bottom line starts to fall. When the trend starts to become a normal thing, there is a problem. This is when a company may need to step back and regroup. Even then, trying the same old thing just does not produce the desired results. A business analyst can come in and trouble shoot the issues. A certified business analyst is trained to recognize problems and come up with solutions. He or she can listen to what the management is saying and turn it into facts and figures which can be incorporated into a project program. Listening is one of the best attributes a business analyst can have. When the professional business analyst listens, he or she will hear what is being said. They will also hear what is being implied. The management may know what the problem is, just not how to fix it in a timely manner. Listening to all parties involved will give the analyst a broader scope of the problem. This may mean meeting with IT and other employees. Listening to lower level teams may lead to discoveries no-one knew existed. The business analyst is removed from the situation, an outsider looking in. This does not mean the analyst has to be an outsider. He or she can be in the organization already. It is just that they can look at the project objectively and determine what is a waste of time and what is not. A different perspective is always a fresh start to any program. It is important to not follow in the same path. It did not work the first time, why would it work this time? It is important to bring in someone who has a creative side. Someone with good people skills can manage a group of people to motivate them into action. A good business analyst will do this very thing. Acting as a liaison between different teams and departments, the business analyst can keep each unit informed of what is happening. He or she can delegate duties while explaining what must be done and why. He or she may allow freedom of expression and allow someone to generate fantastic ideas which may have been tossed aside in the past. It can become frustrating to implement a plan of action only to discover when it is put into affect, it is no longer a viable solution. The business analyst will not allow this to happen. He or she is looking at the end goal and keeping up with changes which may affect the outcome. The perfect business analyst is abreast of what is needed and what is wanted. He or she can use this information to develop a flexible plan. Instead of a plan "B", the plan "A" will be structured to allow for change or new needs. The reason it is important to have a business analyst is because businesses need "what if" people. They are the ones who determine if a market changes how to incorporate new ways to target it. The business analyst knows if a new technology is on the market, and how it may help the company. Looking at a "what if" situation, the business analyst can determine what will or will not work. The professional business analyst can put a floundering company back on top. Hiring a Business Analyst There are times when a company must hire a business analyst. When searching from an outside source there are certain things an employer should determine when hiring the perfect business analyst. Some of these suggestions are common sense. Other items listed may be overlooked in the desperation to find a qualified business analyst. The first question one should always ask is "What do you know about our company?". This is a key question in the interview process. You will want someone who is familiar with what your company does. He or she should know what products you manufacture or services you provide. Being familiar with your industry makes it easier for you and the business analyst to understand each other. He or she will know exactly what you are expecting without much training. When hiring a business analyst another question to ask is "How much experience do you have with this type of project?". You will want someone who has been there before. You want to know the business analyst you are hiring will be able to handle the pressure needed to get the job done. Hiring a business analyst means knowing the type of person you are interviewing. This is not an easy task. First impressions may not always be right. You are looking for someone who is creative. He or she will be able to think on their feet. Find out what their main short term goals are. Someone who says they hope to be starting their own consultant group is probably one who is not planning to stay long. You will want to have someone who can start the project and see it through to completion. There are times this may take several years. Another attribute to look for when hiring a business analyst is team player capabilities. Someone who confesses to being a loner may not work well with others. He or she may bring an attitude to the table you just do not want. Watch for indications of self assurance but not self absorption. Hiring a business analyst means finding someone who is friendly and easy going. One who is not shy or submissive. You are not looking for a yes man. You are looking for someone to tell you if a solution will work or if it will fail. When hiring a business analyst ask for worse case and best case scenarios from past experience. Listen carefully to the response. Did they make reference to who was to blame for any failures or shortcomings? Someone who puts the blame on everyone else is someone you do not want in your organization. There is usually enough of that going around for everyone. Someone who is able to stand and say they made a mistake or did not do everything to avoid the failure is an honest person people will trust. This is someone others will respect. It will be easier to introduce a new player into the team if others can trust them. The best thing to do when hiring a business analyst is to first determine what attributes you are looking for. List qualifications second. Third is the experience. This will be a guideline for hiring the perfect business analyst to do the job. The Role of a Business Analyst The role of a business analyst can be very difficult. He or she must wade through the mass of information presented to determine the underlying problems. This information may or may not be correct. The business analyst much research to comprehend the true situation of the business. The information supplied to the business analyst is given from many perspectives. Opinions can influence how one perceives the related issues. At times, the opinions can add unrelated information which only complicates the role of a business analyst. Problems can occur for the analyst when persons with the business know how try to explain what must be done. The role of the business analyst is to understand what is the desired outcome. He or she will listen and put into perspective what is being relayed. The business analyst will be able to determine what is feasible and what just can not be done. The role of a business analyst is that of a problem solver. Understanding both aspects as a user and as one affected by the application will allow the business analyst to perform his or her role. The role of a business analyst is to merge the Information Technology (IT) department with the business departments. He or she will be able to separate the separate the individual teams while still maintaining a uniform team management system. Teaching these two teams how to work to overcome obstacles and strive for completion of a goal is a main directive for the business analyst. He or she will act as a liaison between the two. Performed correctly will result in project completion. Success will be achieved. Management may be impatient when the business analyst begins resolving the project program issues. The role of the business analyst will allow him or her to understand the project scope. He or she will determine what the project objectives are and who is trying to implement them. The business analyst will assess the needs and determine the project goals. He or she will not jump ahead to the solution without utilizing the proper steps. A good business analyst will be skilled in explaining the structure of each step and co-ordinate them with each department. This will reassure management the job is being done in a timely manner. The perfect business analyst is one who was a user. In other words, he or she understands the complications of being with the IT team. The business analyst will be able to explain the project scope from the lay person's perspective. He or she will not get lost or caught up in trying to explain technicalities or formulas. Rather the business analyst will explain each process as a stepping stone to reach the ultimate goal. The lack of communication has resulted in almost 50% of project failures. Informing each department involved, in a way they will understand, can mean greater success. The role of the business analyst is not to jump to the end and start with the solution. This will only result in failure. Assessing the needs to determine what is actually required will allow the business analyst to implement the steps to success. There are times when management will think otherwise. The business analyst should try to make all parties understand what is important and what is not relevant. This ensures all information needed to identify the solution has been presented. In the end, the business analyst will be able to determine if the solution will meet the requirements designed in the project proposal. This will ensure success for the business analyst and the company. Reasons Projects Fail for a Business Analyst Each day businesses call upon a business analyst to determine what must be done in order to accomplish a certain task. Each avenue must be explored and analyzed for a project proposal to be implemented. The project scope determines what the course of action may or may not be. Each person involved must answer to another until management is satisfied all has been done to rectify the situation. Everything stays on task. The project as a whole is coming together. Teams are co-ordinating with each other to apply the objective into the code. It is all going according to plan. At the end, it all falls apart. Nothing is as it seems. The project has failed to accomplish what it set out to do. The business analyst is hung out to dry. Every finger points to him or her. In actuality it is not the fault of the analyst. It was a joint effort from the beginning. When the problem was recognized as such and something needed to be done is when the business analyst came into the scope of things. Management said get it done. IT said it is done. Low end said it just isn't what we need anymore. So what happened? The first thing is failing to disclose all information necessary do make a proper assessment of the situation. A business analyst is not a mushroom. You can not keep them in the dark. They have to know the in's and out's of the company. He or she must be aware of the company vision or end goal. A few facts and figures just will not do the job. Disclosure can close the project tighter than a drum. Acting as the liaison between departments and upper management, the business analyst must gather data from everyone involved in the project. When someone feels they do not want to be a team player this can cause a disruption in the scheme of things. Each team was delegated a task. Upstarts who think they know what is the end result and rush to meet the goal, may find themselves dead wrong. However there are times when up and coming management leaders do the same thing. Instead of looking at the big picture and realizing all the intricate parts are necessary, they view a segment as the solution. This can only lead to failure. Communication is the key to success. If someone does have a better plan, a good business analyst will listen to the idea. He or she may find it a viable solution for one aspect of the entire project. Unless the business analyst is told of the idea it can go unused or worse yet misconstrued as the proper solution. Communication is most commonly the reason projects fail. The business analyst is what holds the project together. He or she is what makes the teams work together as teams. The analyst is the one who takes all the pieces of the puzzle and puts it together so the end result is success. Think of the business analyst as the nails in a house. When you do not use nails to hold it all together you wind up with nothing more than kindling.
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