BusinessPeopleThe Business Analyst As Therapist was an eye-catching article that offered some wonderful insights.  The author, Steve Blais, discusses the BA as a therapist as well as a translator and referee to name a few.  When functioning in different worlds (between the business and Information Technology), it is no surprise there is the need for skills “soft” skills to get to the root of the problem or need.  Many blogs, white papers, articles and BA job descriptions include such skills as good communication and problem solving as required for a reason – they can mean the difference between success and the perception of success.

After reading the article, I conducted a very informal survey of business users at different levels – directors, managers and staff – for their perspective of the business analyst role.  I asked one question two different ways:

  • What is your expectation of a business analyst?
  • What words/nouns/adjectives would you use to describe your expectations?

For the users who chose to respond, the expectations were very similar:

  • Provide guidance or feedback on system questions and, if necessary, a solution to the problem
  • Be instructive, proactive and inquisitive since the BA may not understand the business user’s role and responsibilities
  • Be clear, reasonable and conscientious (“too many devils in the details” as one user stated)
  • Be honest and open which increases [stakeholder] engagement, adding more value.

Although the users’ responses are within the commonly defined business analyst expectations, it was interesting to see their responses and their recognition of the BA role.  As stated in the BABOK, underlying competences are not unique to business analysis.  Although varying tools and techniques are essential for successful and adaptable business analysts, the ability to build relationships has an impact on their effectiveness.  At least I have the comfort of knowing my hours of non-work conversations were not in vain!

– Toni Walker, BA Challenger and Guest Blogger

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