Author: Nicholas Zipp

Pessimism, a Business Analysts Good Trait

When most people experience a beautiful sunny day, they think to themselves, “Wow, what a great day!” But to me, a pessimist at heart, I think, “What about my garden?

This sun and heat are going to wilt my flowers and give me a sunburn on top of that!” Is pessimism a good trait for an analyst? Is it wise to put someone whose instinct is to jump to the negative or be nitpicky in the BA role? Would not being an optimistic person be a better fit for a company in need of an analyst’s help? It seems to go against what I, and probably many of you, think would be a bad trait to have but I believe I am a great analyst because of it.

Naturally looking on the flip side, I prefer not to say downside or negative, has it benefits. After all, is it not part of being a good Pessimistic BA (PBA) to look for gaps and to see where processes have gone down the wrong path? How many times have you been asked to gather requirements, only get vague answers? It is not only about asking why, who, what, where, and when?

Analyst. That is our title, it is our mission to analyze.

As a PBA you instinctively dive into what is not being said. “Oh, we are needing to install this XYZ software. Should not be a problem.” Well a PBA might say to themselves, “I bet they are running another competing software and probably did not even bother to make sure that this new software is compatible with their current and legacy systems.” So you start asking questions pointed towards these possible issues. They may or may not result in an issue, but the more everyone in the group talks, the more nagging questions come to mind.

There is a term that I have come to use; strategic pessimism. Strategic Pessimistic Business Analyst; sounds good to me. What is this, what is the idea, and how does this apply to the PBA? Imagine or just remember a time when a stakeholder came to you, asking the world, at the highest priority, and with an astounding three day deadline. Been there? I would gues