The Busy BA Reading List, August 11th 2014 edition

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Too busy to crawl the web for interesting Business Analysis content? Not interested by social networks noise? Twice a month, the Busy BA Reading List brings you the best Business Analysis articles and websites I came across while surfing the Internet.

Hey there! It’s vacation time over here, which means more time to read interesting stuff (and less to write new blog posts). It seems like communication skills are a nice trend this summer within the business analysis community, because all posts of this edition (and even my latest posts!) are about it. So let’s not waste time and start the reading list.

From Eric the Business Analyst

Only one blog post was published since the last edition of the Busy BA Reading List, so I added the 2 most popular posts since the blog launch in May to keep you entertained:

Business Analysis: because it depends (every time)

Many of my students prefer black & white situations in class; it makes learning new concepts easier. However, black & white situations in Business Analysis are far from common, and through the semester, I try to show them why, and how to deal with this ambiguity. Usually, after a few classes, everyone laughs when I answer their questions starting with “it depends” because I almost always answer this way 🙂

Therefore, I was glad to read this interesting Harvard Business Review post which shows with real life situations how the answer to every business question is “it depends”. Through their research, three professors explain how they came to the conclusion that for a similar business question, the best answer will not be the same from one business to another. This illustrates very well what I explain to my students in class, and is probably one of the most interesting thing about being a Business Analyst; there’s no single answer to a business problem, and you have to find a new best answer every time.

Challenges of Business Analysis…

In a recent post, Reinaldo Bravo identifies important challenges when you work as a BA:

  1. Setting up expectations about the Business Analyst role, and educate your stakeholders about business analysis steps;
  2. Stay highly professional when interacting with people, which is even more important since you will always work in teams as a BA;
  3. Over communicate to your stakeholders, from simple progression status to delivering bad news at the right moment.

Being attentive to these challenges and acting proactively will help you provide an excellent business analysis service to your stakeholders.

…and how to deal with them…

In case you struggle to deal with these challenges, the most recent post from Angela Wicks at BATimes.com will give you different strategies to put in place to be an efficient Business Analyst:

  1. Engage your stakeholders, in order for them to really own their requirements and understand the solution that will be implemented;
  2. Research new BA techniques, so that you are more prepared to face new situations as they arise;
  3. Experiment those new techniques, because it’s the only way to become an expert at it;
  4. Plan your BA activities, and communicate this plan to manage expectations about business analysis activities (the BABoK will help you with this!);
  5. Use visual supports, as often as you can (a point on which I also agree!);
  6. Develop your underlying competencies (problem solving, facilitation, etc.), because being a BA is more than just applying BA tools and techniques;
  7. Consider the politics in your BA activities, in order to get any support you could need from management, and more important, navigate though these considerations.

…until you’re a senior BA!

Communication is a key skill for any BA, and improving your communication skills will clearly help you get over all these Business Analysis challenges. Teresa Bennett explains how communication skills will help you to become a senior BA, by focusing on a deep knowledge of your stakeholders communication methods, and by adapting all your communications (from your business analysis plan to the requirements) to your stakeholders preferences.

With Reinaldo, Angela, Teresa and I talking about the importance of communication for business analysis, I hope you’re now convinced that being a Business Analyst is not that much about IT after all!

Do you like what you’re reading?

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Did you come across other interesting business analysis content recently? Share it with us in the comments below!

Image credits: hbrinkman @ freeimages.com

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By Eric Provost

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Eric Provost

Making sense out of chaos as a BA & UX specialist

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