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Does Your Personality Define Your Business Analyst Approach?

We all have personality; it is what comprises us as individuals and human beings to present ourselves in our personal and professional lives. Whether our personas experience duality separated by self-promoted boundaries, or the personalities of work and life are balanced as one big personality. But when you reach down into this core sense of self, a philosophical question came to mind when originating this piece: does our personalities define our business analyst approach? It is notwithstanding that I have little to no current, existing or previous knowledge in the realm of psychology, but it is worth chewing on the thought for a minute to examine it from a philosophical perspective. This core question begets more questions:

– If personality does affect the BA approach…then how?
– Is it the way we approach traditional standards or is it the manner of how we execute?
– How do we relate to our stakeholders to elicit requirements, validate them, overcome objections, and comprise the entire business analysis plan?

The unseen correlation between two independent variables became almost dependent immediately upon further self-analysis: personality does define our business analysis approach, right? Generally, speaking, I argue the point that it does. Genuinely think about how you interact with your stakeholders, how you go about performing your day-to-day, and even long-term, duties as a business analyst. Are those not influenced in which your persona, professional, personal, or combined, is presented when doing so?

 

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For example, an extroverted personality with a deep mindfulness to detail would take the time to build the relationship with their stakeholders and those working on a project with them, but in significant detail to ensure nothing is missed. While this can be both beneficial and negative, this is an oversimplified example, of course and does not encapsulate every personality type; and yet it sufficiently illustrates the point made. Think of yourself and how you collaborate with stakeholders: what type of persona are you showing up as?

Applying that personality, however you summarize, influences the approach you have to business analysis. Do you go “by the book” and like to stick to the facts and in a Waterfall methodology? Or do you prefer to have projects take on fluidity and a more Agile perspective? It all boils down to personality…and you, as a business analyst, take the reins to own it. Neither personality nor approach is perfect but understanding this about us as professional individuals working with myriad backgrounds in our line of work, will only tap into our potential.

We may never know the extent of that potential, as there may not be enough time nor resources to perform the adequate studies over multiple fields related to understanding this eccentric analysis. But we can penultimately, begin to understand that in which we personify ourselves as human beings, personifies how we operates in the field of business analysis, and beyond.

Do You Consider “Opportunity Cost” In Your Analysis?

I’m a fan of live music, and I particularly enjoy music festivals. If you’ve never been to a music festival, you’re missing out. They usually involve multiple days of listening to music, dancing and having fun. There’s often multiple stages so one challenge is deciding which bands to listen to.

I was reminded of this fact last summer when I bumped into a friend of mine (who is also a BA) at a music festival. It turned out that we’d both created (and printed) spreadsheets showing who was playing when at what time. My spreadsheet even used color coding with green being bands we planned to see, and yellow being ‘backups’ (in case the first choice was too full, or there was some other reason we couldn’t get there).  Well, everyone loves a spreadsheet, don’t they?

 

Comparison and Opportunity Cost

Spreadsheets aside, this illustrates a point that is important in projects and product development initiatives too. Typically every action or decision has an opportunity cost associated with it. Taking one course of action means that it isn’t possible to pursue others (as time and budget is focused on the course of action that’s been chosen).

At a music festival, the opportunity cost is fairly easy to calculate. If I see Band A on the main stage at 8pm, I can’t see Band B on another stage at the same time.  I also can’t go to the bar (probably for the best), nor can I grab an overpriced hotdog. The act of deciding on an action means that other options are no longer open to me.

 

The same is true when it comes to deciding which projects to progress, which features to focus on, or which requirements to prioritize.  When writing an options paper, it’s usual to consider the impact of ‘doing nothing’, but in some cases it may be worth extending the thinking even further and considering what else could be done with the time and money.

When prioritizing requirements, there are always trade-offs. It’s desirable to deliver the features first that will enable the most benefit to be realized. This is certainly true, and this is something that I’m sure we all aspire to… but in reality aren’t things often a bit more complicated than that? There’s often resource contention (multiple development and testing teams, often with limited resources), organizational level challenges (code freezes, budget changes) and a whole load of other opportunities and threats outside of the immediate orbit of the project.

 

Sometimes It Makes Sense To Do The Second Best Thing

There might be cases when it actually makes sense to do the second most beneficial thing. Imagine there’s a high priority set of requirements. Everyone agrees those will yield the most benefit. However, the technical experts that need to work on them are also needed to work on some essential maintenance. Although systems maintenance and the art of ‘keeping the lights on’ is never as glamorous as delivering new features, it’s still super important.

Within the project, the logical decision is to go for the highest priority requirements. But, there’s an opportunity cost for the organization. If that action is taken, the maintenance is delayed. That might be a very bad idea, depending on the nature of the maintenance.

The key point here is that progressing the second best thing for the project might actually be the best thing for the organization overall.

 

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Know Which Decision Options Are “Perishable”

Some options available to us “perish” if they aren’t taken. If you’re at an airport and delay deciding whether to get on the plane for too long, your option to board that plane will eventually disappear (as it’ll have taken off without you). The same is true at a music festival, if Band A clashes with Band B, then you have a straight choice to make. Choosing Band A means you don’t see Band B at that festival.

These are different from prioritization decisions where you can do both things sequentially. Delaying requirement A so the team can do some urgent maintenance probably doesn’t mean that requirement A will never be delivered… it’ll just be delayed. There will be an impact on the timing of benefits realization, but it’s not a binary “yes or no” decision. It’s important these types of prioritization decisions are separated from those where there really is one chance, and one chance only.

 

BAs as Facilitators of Decision Making

All of this leads to an interesting conclusion: An important and often overlooked element of the BA role is to facilitate decision making.  Whether that’s over prioritization of projects, feature requests, requirements or something else, we are on hand to analyze the different perspectives and ensure an informed decision is made.

Ensuring that we do this consciously, taking into account multiple factors (while keeping ‘opportunity cost’ in mind) is crucial. It’s one of the many areas where BAs add value!

Business Analysis Amalgamation with Product Management

In today’s fast-paced business environment, organizations constantly seek ways to improve their processes, products, and services. Business Analysis and Product Management are two key areas essential to achieving these goals. Traditionally, these functions have been viewed as separate disciplines, with Business Analysts focusing on identifying and analyzing business requirements, while Product Managers focus on the development and management of products and services.

However, there has been a growing trend towards amalgamating these two functions to create a more integrated approach in recent years. By combining Business Analysis with Product Management, companies can benefit from a more holistic understanding of customer needs, more effective use of data, and improved collaboration and communication between teams.

An Overview of Business Analysis and Product Management:

Business Analysis is the process of identifying, analyzing, and documenting business requirements, processes, and workflows. The role of a Business Analyst is to help organizations improve their processes and systems by identifying areas of improvement, gathering and analyzing data, and making recommendations for change. Business Analysts often work closely with stakeholders and other teams within an organization, including IT and project management.

Product Management, on the other hand, is focused on developing and managing products or services. The role of a Product Manager is to identify market opportunities, define product requirements, and work with cross-functional teams to bring products to market. Product Managers must have a deep understanding of customer needs and market trends and/ or the ability to manage budgets, timelines, and resources.

 Benefits of Amalgamating Business Analysis and Product Management:

While Business Analysis and Product Management are distinct roles, there are many benefits to amalgamating the two functions. Here are a few of the key advantages.

  • Better understanding of customer needs:

One of the key benefits of amalgamating Business Analysis and Product Management is the ability to better understand customer needs. By working together, these two functions can create a more complete picture of customer requirements, preferences, and pain points. This can lead to better product design, more effective marketing, and higher customer satisfaction.

  • Alignment towards Business Goals:

Amalgamating Business Analysis and Product Management also improve team collaboration and communication. These two functions can ensure that everyone is aligned on business goals, product requirements, and timelines. This can lead to better project outcomes and faster time to market.

 

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  • More practical use of data:

Another benefit of combining Business Analysis and Product Management is effectively using data. Business Analysts are skilled at collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data, while Product Managers deeply understand market trends and customer needs. These two functions can leverage data to improve product design, pricing, and marketing decisions by working together.

  • Faster problem-solving:

Amalgamating Business Analysis and Product Management also lead to faster problem-solving. By having a team of experts who can analyze data, identify issues, and recommend solutions, organizations can respond more quickly to changing market conditions or customer needs. This can help companies stay ahead of the competition and achieve their business objectives more effectively.

  • Better outcomes over outputs:

Finally, combining Business Analysis and Product Management can improve project outcomes. By working together, these two functions can ensure that products are designed to meet customer needs and that projects are delivered on time and within budget. This can lead to improved customer satisfaction, increased revenue, and a stronger competitive position in the market.

The amalgamation of Business Analysis and Product Management can benefit organizations looking to stay ahead in today’s competitive business landscape. By combining these two functions, companies can improve collaboration and communication, better understand customer needs, use data more effectively, and achieve better project outcomes. Whether a small start-up or a large enterprise, an integrated approach to Business Analysis and Product Management can help you achieve your business objectives more effectively.

Top Business Analysis Skills To Learn in 2023 To Thrive in a Volatile Economy

With the economic landscape ever-evolving and uncertainty in the air, it pays to know which business analysis skills are essential for success. In such a business environment, having the right skills can be the difference between success and failure. As 2023 approaches, it’s more important than ever to develop the right business analysis skills that will help you stand out from competitors and thrive in these uncertain times. With new technologies and approaches emerging all the time, developing the right business analysis skills has become more important than ever before. In this article, we’ll explore the top business analysis skills you’ll need to master in order to stay ahead of the pack. Find out how you can get ahead of the curve by acquiring these valuable skills now!

 

 

What is Business Analysis?

The term ‘business analysis’ is used in many different ways, but at its core, business analysis is all about bringing positive change, improving business performance with technology adoption, Process improvement and removal of inefficiencies in the cycle. It also encompasses improvement of revenue, market reputation, user experience, understanding how businesses work and how they can be improved. It’s about finding ways to do things better, faster, or cheaper.

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Business analysts typically have strong analytical and problem-solving skills, and are able to see the ‘big picture’ while paying attention to detail. They need to be good communicators, great facilitators as well as collaborators, able to explain complex concepts in simple terms, asking the right questions and also be good listeners.

As businesses become more complex and the pace of change increases, the need for business analysts will continue to grow. If you’re thinking of a career in business analysis, or are already working as a business analyst, it’s important to stay up-to-date with the right skills, latest methods and tools.

Essential Skills for Business Analysts in 2023

As the world economy becomes increasingly volatile, businesses must be agile and adaptable to survive. Business analysts play a vital role in helping organizations in changing gears, understand and respond to change and adapt to the new business needs. In 2023, the most successful business analysts will be those who have developed the following essential skills:

 

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Data Analytics: With the increasing amount of tech penetration and the huge amount of data available, business analysts are expected to be skilled to interpret, analyze data, see patterns in them and come up with actionable insights from them. To be able to do all this they need to be proficient in data analytics tools and techniques such as data interpretation and visualization. They will need to be able to not only interpret and communicate the results of these analyses to key stakeholders but also present actionable insights for strategic decision making.

 

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Agile methodologies: Agile methodologies have proven to be effective in adapting to change, taking

frequent customer feedback and prioritizing delivery accordingly. And as a result, today more than 70% projects adopt agile methodology and their adoption will continue to grow. Business analysts need to be conversant with the principles of agile analysis and be able to work effectively within agile teams.

 

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Financial Analysis: In a volatile economy, it is important for business analysts to understand financial analysis and be able to assess the financial impact of different business decisions. They will need to be able to evaluate investment opportunities, assess risks involved, and make recommendations based on financial data. They need to have the ability to know which are the initiatives that can help in quicker turn around for revenue and which changes can bring cost control thus making a better cash flow situation for the organization.

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Strategic Thinking: Business analyst as a role requires higher level of thinking as well as attention to details to see the opportunities of improvement. Hence, they will need to be able to think strategically about the long-term goals of the organization and be able to develop plans to achieve those goals. They will need to be able to evaluate the potential impact of various business options and make recommendations based on data and best practices.

 

Adaptability: The ability to adapt to changes in their environment is a critical skill for success in a volatile economy. Business analysts will need to be able to quickly respond to changing conditions, be flexible to acquire skills to perform well in their approach to solving problems.

 

Cross-functional Collaboration: Business analysts are the change makers bringing positive changes to the organization thereby making the organization’s process faster and better. To achieve these objectives, they will need to be able to work effectively with teams from different departments, hierarchy, backgrounds, and be able to translate technical concepts and requirements into language that is accessible to a wide range of stakeholders.

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Communication Skills: Business analysts are the ones who are required to influence stakeholders and users to come to agreement for the business decisions, and this requires being a great communicator. Effective communication is and will remain a critical skill for business analysts in 2023 and years to come. They will need to be able to clearly and effectively communicate complex ideas and data to stakeholders, and be able to negotiate and manage conflicting interests.

 

In conclusion, the skills that business analysts need to focus on in 2023 will continue to evolve, but the skills outlined above will likely be critical for success in a volatile economy. It’s important for business analysts to stay up-to-date about emerging trends and to continuously grow their skills and knowledge to stay ahead of the curve.

Top Business Analysis Trends To Watch Out For In 2023

It’s tough to predict the future and same goes towards predicting business trends with certainty. But we can always predict areas which are likely to be of prominence with a fair amount of certainty.

As we all know business analysis is a profession growing at a fast pace and will continue to see this trend of growth for at least next 10 years. If you are a proactive business analyst you must keep watch on the trending topics to stay ahead of the curve and be a futuristic leader.

 

Here are our top 6 picks for business analysts to watch out in 2023 –

 

 

  1. Data Analytics:
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Business analysts will continue to use data to have better business insights and drive business decisions. The amount and variety of data have increased tremendously in the last decade. Therefore, it is essential for business analysts to learn about data analysis tools. As data becomes increasingly important, business analysts will need to be proficient in advanced data analytics tools, techniques and be able to interpret and communicate the results to decision makers and stakeholders.

 

  1.  Agile methodologies:
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Over last few decades, more than 70% of companies have adopted Agile methodology for their project implementation, as a BA you just can’t afford to miss out on having a sound understanding of Agile concepts, principles, and culture!

This trend is here to continue and grow in 2023. Business analysts will need to be proficient with agile principles since many projects require them to double up as a scrum master or as a product owner.

 

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  1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning:
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In simple words artificial intelligence and machine learning is the ability of machines to learn and carry out tasks based on the way it is programmed or instructed to do. It can analyze data and come up with decisions based on data and patterns. Many of the tasks carried out by AI and ML today are those where the inputs and the outputs can be well programmed or put out such as chat bots. Traditionally these tasks were handled by humans.

Some of the key benefits of using AI and ML are

  • Improvement in efficiency
  • Predictable performance
  • Improvement in processing speed
  • Reduction in human intervention for business processes
  • Automation in process –
    • finding patterns in process and reporting deviations
    • reporting financial frauds
    • supply chain improvements
    • customer experience analysis and further recommendation
    • Understanding customer behavior and suggesting products and services based on behavior and preferences

 

Business analysts are known to be the change makers and to be an efficient one they need to use technology efficiently to deliver better results and improve efficiency hence AI and ML is going to be their primary tech agents to achieve better business outcomes. Business analysts will need to be hands on with these technologies and their applications to make the most of it. They will need to understand how AI and ML can be used to automate processes, and achieve better business outcomes.

 

  1. Business Transformation:
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Business analysts are the ones who primarily bring in business transformation by using technology effectively and as mentioned above AI and ML play a major part in this.

More and more organizations are embracing digital transformation than the past years, be it banks, financial institutions, service organizations or retail. Business analysts are the drivers playing a critical role in helping companies to identify and implement the changes needed to succeed. This might include business process changes, rethinking and redesigning business models, processes, and systems, and implementing new technologies to drive growth and competitiveness.

 

  1. Cross-functional Collaboration:
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Business analysts often look at the organization’s internal as well as external facing processes with a critic’s eyes of improvement and redesign the processes to implement all those improvement ideas.

This often involves working with many functions, teams within the organization. They often need to use their power to influence to drive these change initiatives or process improvement initiatives.

This also requires coordinating as well working with various process owners and stakeholders to drive the initiatives to success.

 

  1. Cybersecurity:
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With the increasing digital transformations across all sectors including those involving financial as well as highly confidential data, the threat of cyberattacks have gone up drastically.

Business analysts need to take into consideration the confidentiality as well as the risk and vulnerabilities involved in the applications while designing/solutioning the applications.

They need to be well versed with cybersecurity practices to design robust systems and processes.

They will need to be able to work with security experts to ensure that systems and data are protected from potential threats.

 

Overall, the trends in 2023 will continue to emphasize the importance of analytics, data, technology, automation, cyber security and collaboration in driving business success. Business analysts who are able to master the skills needed for these trends and implement them to succeed in a rapidly changing business environment will be well positioned for success.