Ten Simple Ways to sharpen Your Business analysis Skills
Use Business Analysis skills at Home:
I don’t mean you do job of business, at home or compare your personal problems with business cases, but follow the techniques while facilitating any personal issues. Problem or decision making that may be big or small but try to analyze in a systematic way. For example you are planning to buy a house or find it for rent. We normally prioritize certain aspects like the place, budget, comfort, security etc. for sure. The same facilities in our BA language are called as “Requirements”, is it not? We may think of all our requirements orally, but we all know that when we put it on a piece of paper, it is easier for us to re-consider all pros and cons effectively. That’s how make a practice of document everything at home. Now you will discuss with your family members to take their suggestions and or approval. Your father would want to reside in city outskirts, your mother prefers to reside near temple but your wife prefers living with city life. I am sure you will use all your facilitation as well as your communication skills by convincing your wife with budget reasons, persuade your parents by showing comfort or commute reasons and come to an amicable solution. The same negotiation skills are technically called as “win-win”, “accommodate” or “win-lose”. All I mean to say is the more we practice any technique imbibes more in us and help us prove expertize, hence home should not be an exception.
Get a Mentor and/or be a Trainer:
I am sure we all have understood the importance of a trainer by now and I know whom name you would first refer post your BA workshop at COETL. There are many books that are available in the market which would help us gain conceptual knowledge, but only a mentor can enlighten our skills with his expertize experience. Mentor helps us not only understanding the concepts and required skills, but also shares their practical experiences which would help us in our real time to face with. Also to act as a mentor we should possess certain qualities such as gaining expertize knowledge on the subject, good presentation skills etc. would surely help in our professional life.
Participate in Social Media:
Groups on LinkedIn that deal with business analysis are great for posing questions (and reading what has been written about your particular topic). Some of our favorites include “BA Forum,” “IIBA,” our local General Atlanta chapter of the International Institute of Business Analysis, and of course, “B2T Training”! Follow business analysis hashtags on Twitter (hashtags categorize topics and begin with the pound sign: #). One of our favorites is #baot (“business analysis on Twitter”). You can see what people are reading, what BA topics and challenges are current, and where trends are going.
Network with BA professionals:
Another great way to keep your skills sharp is to network with other BAs at a convention, a party, or even a local chapter meeting of the IIBA. Networking with peers has greater benefits. You can get the benefit of getting employment or growth opportunities, find out the news about the field, and get updates of new trends. We can also exchange the domain knowledge with each other.
Attend Trainings & Workshops:
BA role is not one time learning activity. We should continuously improve our skills to lead the game. Attending workshops helps us to learn new techniques and polish our skills in a better way. It also helps you understand the techniques other BAs (even temporary ones) in your world are learning. Normally senior BAs have been doing work for 10 to 15 years at one company and are very comfortable with their standard approaches. Training keeps them from being complacent and helps them implement fresh ideas.
Present Business analysis topics:
Presentation requires lot of research and on the topic and variety of models to be prepared. You need to anticipate questions from audience and prepare yourself with possible solutions, for which a presenter need to gather lot of information from various sources. This enhances knowledge source to the presenter. Communication is core to a BA. With every presentation, you become more comfortable speaking in front of people, which is an important skill for a BA to have. These Presentation sessions indirectly helps us improving our network as audiences following the presentation, you may exchange business cards or contact information with people in the audience.
Optimize peer reviews:
If you have a chance to peer review, help out the other BA by asking probing questions to get her to think about her document rather than simply giving her the answer. Questions help the BA by making her think about the issue rather than just capturing your response to it. Sometimes you get so close to a document or a subject that you can’t see past a certain point or you make internal assumptions that others don’t follow. The easiest way to get past your internal assumptions is to have someone who is unfamiliar with the material read through it. Ideally, try to find someone who performs the same job you do, because she’ll know what to look for within your document (such as the proper way to structure project objectives) and give you constructive feedback.
Work on different Domains and applications:
Rotate to different domains and applications give an exposure to understand how different systems interact or how a business rule is shared (and implemented) in different areas of the business. It can also show how data interacts among multiple systems and determine duplicate data sources. The more systems and business processes you support within your company, the more you can see impacts or help one business area leverage a process or action from another business area.
Have tea breaks with Project Stakeholders:
It is one of the best platform to interact with business partners and improve relationships. Informal meetings like tea or lunch breaks improve relationships, creates room to share views and exchange the ideas with possible solutions. The offline discussions majorly with no professional barriers so that there is a room to transparent discussions. These meetings helps us to know more about the business because you understand what the partners have to accomplish and see how certain applications or processes hinder or help them. The more you work with them and the more you understand about their business problems and hindrances, the greater chance you can start offering helpful suggestions.
Read Books and articles:
A business analyst needs lot more skills beyond BA skills, as he should possess various set of skills such as Technology, Leadership, communication and project management, hence should continuously improve his skills and upgrade himself with the current environment. Reading lot of books and online articles which provides you relevant skills which would help a lot in upgrading ourselves. Whether you read on paper or an e-reader, reading is a great way to discover different approaches to solving a problem, Remember, as a BA, you interface with a lot of different people who speak a lot of different languages. Acquainting with foreign languages is an added value to your profile. Think of opportunity in European countries without regional language like German. As a BA need to interact with business and IT teams, he should possess regional language skills as well as an added advantage.
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