Author: Mark Delarika

6 Personal Traits That a Professional Business Analyst Should Have

Business analysts are facilitators, communicators, agents of change and negotiators.

They have to understand the needs and purposes of a business in order to consider technology solutions.

They need degrees and certifications, skills, experience and domain knowledge but they also need critically important soft skills to be most successful and become CEOs in the future. Here are some of the personal skills they need.

1. Good communication skills

Business analysts must have communication skills as they have to communicate with a variety of stakeholders. They need to understand why what they’re doing has value and then articulate that to stakeholders. This includes convincing people to work on activities that may not be their top priority.

For example, a business analyst might have to persuade a Sales Director to help define performance metrics for the upgrade of a CRM database.

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Various forms of communication, such as workshops, meetings and other informal methods may be necessary to bring every stakeholder on board.

2. Active listening skills

Business analysts use active listening skills to make sure that all stakeholders are heard. They understand the importance of making eye contact with speakers and always attempt to identify exactly how they feel about what they are saying.

Observing words and body language is important for them to get to the bottom of what is being said. To do this, they must know how to dial out any internal or external distractions.

Business analysts can keep an open mind and acknowledge different opinions as well as know when to move the subject along. They are able to take all input into account without being too ruffled by disagreements. There will always be disagreeing stakeholders and part of their skill is in being able to handle this.

Holding excessively lengthy sessions is not necessary for them and they understand that these often lead to a lack of interest and attention. They prefer web conferences over traveling to different offices and hold meeting. This saves times and shows that you believe in working fast and don’t mind being tech-savvy.

They and honor confidentiality agreements and are generally seen as being above listening to any office gossip. This enables them to establish trusting relationships where they follow through on commitments.

3. Problem-solving skills

Many business analysts say that what they love most about their work is solving problems. Problem-solving can combine analytical thinking and creative thinking. It involves resolving cases of conflicting information, incomplete information, missing information etc.

Solutions aren’t always simple when problems occur within a company. Analysts often have to examine multiple scenarios and operations to find a solution. Understanding the problem usually involves exploring the overt symptoms, in the form of the effects on costs, sales, and performance metrics.

Examining every aspect of the situation provides context and a greater understanding of the big picture. All parties need to have input and give feedback. They have to answer many questions posed by the business analyst such as “why do you need this?”, “what does this mean?”, and “what happens next?”

Finding a solution involves some kind of change within the organization. For example, putting the change into practice could involve augmenting technology or improving a process. The ideal scenario when solving a problem is not only to solve the current problem but to ensure that it never occurs again.


4. Analytic skills

Analytic skills are necessary to be able to interpret business needs and translate them into practical, operational requirements.

Business analysts have to analyze information from a variety of sources, such as documentation, surveys, existing systems and requirement gathering sessions. EssayHave is a reliable custom writing service that’s available to write papers, such as research papers, if necessary.

Business analysts are passionate about analyzing data and usually have a variety of different ways to analyze it. They want to see what they can do with it and how they can tease different facets of meaning from it.

Everyday interpretations of data can easily fall into patterns that can hide shades of meaning. Critical thinking and valuable analysis are not necessarily straightforward. Good analysts will resist trying to come up with a neat solution to solve the problem before extensively analyzing data. Of course, analysis paralysis can also occur and they have to understand when to stop analyzing.

5. Multi-disciplinary skills

Many business analysts have expertise and experience in IT and their domain. However, it also helps to have experience in performing tasks in unrelated fields across various industries.

Those with such experience are more easily able to elicit information, interact with stakeholders and identify opportunities. They know more about the world, business trends, tech updates and have a deeper knowledge of the processes of business.

They can leverage this knowledge to apply information and techniques to their current project. Their wide range of knowledge affords them with innovative ways to deliver value. They tend to be more versatile and to avoid the thinking that certain tools, techniques and work products are suitable for every situation.

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6. Decision-facilitation skills

In consulting with managers and offering advice to developers, business analysts need to exercise sound judgment. After they have received input from all the stakeholders and assessed a situation, they need to facilitate the making of certain decisions.

The goal is not just to bring about change but to bring about the right change. Business analysts need to help others to make the right decisions so that the right needs are met. If a decision isn’t made, nothing happens.

Good business analysis involves defining all the decisions that need to be made, who will make the decisions and the information the decision-maker will use to make the decision. When multiple people need to make a decision, they are not always on the same page. Getting buy-in from all decision-makers takes some skill.

Concluding thoughts

Finding the best business analysts can take some time and effort. The above traits can help to identify individuals who have the potential to be great, even if they don’t have the experience yet or are in different roles.

Individuals who have a unique blend of the right hard and soft skills are usually most successful as business analysts. They know the importance of communicating and listening properly and are adept at managing and analyzing large amounts of detailed information. They know how to present and articulate value to stakeholders enabling them to make the right decisions.

8 Productivity Hacks For Business Analysts

People fail to be productive daily, partly because they feel overwhelmed and partly because of the grandest enemy all professionals share – procrastination.

So, if you are a business analyst struggling to get your productive mode on, you are not the only one.

Basically, there are two ways to go about it. You can get caught in the productivity grinder or learn how to become more productive.

Naturally, you’ll choose the latter. Every professional wants to succeed in their business. Thankfully, we have the list of hacks to help you do this.

1. Use Lists and More Lists

A to-do list, a memory list, a tasks list, a breaks list, and even a workout schedule list. To be as productive as you can, free up the memory by writing down things. Lists are the best way to externalize the memory.

One of the biggest enemies of business analysts is the memory. Having a job that demands to remember dozens of things on daily basis is exhausting, and you can only manage to do it all for a limited time. Writing things down and organizing them in clear-to-follow lists will aid you in focusing on what needs to be done when it needs to be done.

This won’t take away the tasks you have, but it will certainly help you remember them all, prioritize them, and take a detached and critical look at the problems at hand.

2. Give Nature a Shot

A study by the University of Michigan shows that you can actually improve the productivity by no less than 20% if you just take a walk in the park. Why? Because a few minutes off that busy work schedule can do wonders for improving your memory and help you remain focused on what’s important.

Now the other question arises: why nature? Why not take a break at the coffee shop around the corner or have a walk in a busy, urban environment?

What we can all agree with is, nature has a great, calming effect on our minds. A peaceful break surrounded by nature and nothing that relates to your work and obligations is exactly what your mind needs to remain productive.

3. Daydream

Don’t go daydreaming about the next vacation or your bed at home. When we say daydreaming, we mean let your mind wander. And by this, we mean let your mind do whatever it wants to do.

Your schedules and lists come very handily here. Leave out short periods during the busy day to daydream. Get into a calming stage when you reach that default mode. This should help you solve problems and think of connections you probably wouldn’t consider otherwise.

4. Focus on the Big Things

Every business analyst must deal with small and big problems. However, being as great as you are, your job shouldn’t focus around the small problems. Learn to delegate these and focus on the big ones instead. The problems that can most impact the organization are your first and only priority, so give your maximum to solving those before you go solving anything else.

The idea of getting the small things done first to get fired up for the big ones or reduce the list of tasks is very wrong. It makes no sense to finish small things when the bigger ones are left unsolved.


5. Make Use of Presentations

Presentations are very useful for business analysts. As soon as you start a project, begin with a layout of the analysis presentation.

It might seem counter-intuitive at the beginning, but it is a very productive habit. Such a habit will cut down the turnaround time of the project in half.

How do you do this?

You do this by creating a presentation, a document, or a simple writing on a white piece of paper. The form doesn’t really matter. The thing that matters is to note down and layout the outcomes that may occur from the very beginning, both the good and the bad.

Once you are done doing this, you can start looking at each of the factors to see what you can and should change. Use reasoning and mathematical equations and simply, create a sure starting point before you take the action.

6. Define the Data Requirements

This step comes naturally after the previous one. Once you have the analysis laid out in a comprehensive manner, you will have the data requirements right there in front of you. When you do, you need to:

  • Structure the data requirements
    Design the analysis tables instead of making a list of variables. Make a past campaigns table, a customer demographic table, a table for transactions made in the last year, policy changes for bank credits table, etc.
  • Collect as much data as you can
    Even if you are unsure about the variables you need, collect them upfront just to be on the safe site. Including some additional variables now is much better and easier than doing so later in your analysis.

7. Make a Reproducible Analysis

No, this is not as simple as it might sound. Any of the work you do might turn out to be less than reproducible, which can turn out to be a big problem afterward. If you are a beginner, perform your copy-paste steps in Excel. If you are advanced in your business, use a command line interface, but with care.

Similarly, a business analyst must be very careful when he works with notebooks. Don’t go changing previous steps if it uses some of the data set that hasn’t been computed yet. Notebooks are an excellent resource, but only if you maintain their flow.

8. Split Your Work and Take Regular Breaks

Everyone works better when rested. We mentioned taking a nature walk, but naturally, you won’t be able to do this all the time. To keep your productivity levels high, you need to do what every other person in the world needs to do – work in chunks and schedule breaks along the way.

Whenever you feel like you are overwhelmed with your work, take a short break. Get a coffee, take a walk, eat some chocolate – whatever makes you relaxed. Then you can back to that big project you are working on and stop when it is time to take another break.


These eight productivity hacks for business analysts are very effective when it comes to boosting the productivity. But, in the end, it all comes down to what works for you. Test them out to see and use the ones you find best for you to keep your analyst juices flowing.