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What’s The Point of Peer Review?

When time is tight and the pressure is on, it feels like ‘peer’ review is a luxury we cannot afford, but what’s the cost of this decision?


What Is Peer Review?

Sharing our analysis outputs (whether this is documents, models, presentation slides or feature tickets) with other business analysts before they are shared with any other stakeholders is the essence of peer review. BA peer reviewers should be able to share useful observations and insights about the output, whether or not they have specific business domain knowledge.  If something is not clear to a fellow BA, there is a good chance it will not be understood by customers, suppliers, stakeholders and other recipients.



Why is Peer Review Valuable?

Many business analysts have a tendency towards perfectionism, and the longer we work on something without feedback, the more disappointing it is to receive any feedback, however constructive. It is much harder to accept and incorporate feedback on a polished final draft than an early rough draft. We need to share our work early in the process to be able to influence our own thinking and approach, and prevent us making significant errors or omissions.


Why is Peer Review Valuable?

Peer review is valuable from multiple perspectives.


#1 The producer

The person who created the output. We all bring assumptions to our work, whether this is a single piece of acceptance criteria, complex model or large document. The producer gets the benefits of a fresh perspective and the opportunity to catch errors and drive out assumptions. A peer review should be a way to improve quality without any worry of reputational or relationship risk. It also provides the opportunity for increased consistency across BA products and to learn lessons from other business areas.


#2 The peer reviewer

There is always something to gain from seeing how someone else works, whether they have more or less experience than us, and wherever they sit in the organisational hierarchy. So as well as making a valuable contribution to our colleague’s work we are likely to learn something through peer reviewing.


#3 Stakeholders

Any business, dev team or project stakeholders that will also be asked to review/validate/approve the deliverable will benefit greatly if a peer review has already taken place. Some errors and ambiguities will have been addressed, saving them time and increasing their confidence in the quality of the output.


The Review Triangle

This model reminds us that the highest number of errors should be spotted and rectified by the person creating the output, as part of a specific review phase.






The model emphasises the need for self-review, which is a separate activity to creating the analysis output, and involves:

  • Standards check (adherences to templates, branding and guidelines)
  • Assumptions check (provide key, glossary etc.)
  • Accessibility check (e.g. readability, compatibility with assistive tech, alt text for pictures)
  • Sense check
  • Error check
  • Spelling and grammar check.


Moving from a ‘creating’ to ‘reviewing’ mindset can be achieved by taking a break, and switching to reviewing when we return, or moving to a different device as this often forces us to look at something differently.


Peer Review

Peer review is also about adherence to standards, and is valuable even when the reviewer does not have relevant subject matter knowledge. They should be able to identify and challenge assumptions made, spot logic knots and highlight the use of acronyms and jargon. They can also share insights and observations from their own experience, such as level of detail and formats preferred by different internal audiences.


Stakeholder Review

Stakeholders should not be faced with errors that we could have easily caught through self or peer review. This does not mean we should only share perfect  and complete outputs, but that we give stakeholders the best chance of spotting significant gaps and fundamental errors by removing low level distractions.

Many stakeholders find it difficult to simply ‘ignore’ spelling and other small errors. This level of error can undermine their confidence in our analysis.

Depending on the number of stakeholders and the complexity of the output, it is often better to do a group review exercise (synchronous) rather than a comments based (asynchronous) review. This is for several reasons:

  • Confidence everyone has actually seen what is being reviewed/validated/agreed
  • Prevents multiple stakeholders making the same (or conflicting) observations
  • Changes can be discussed and agreed.



The benefits of peer review, to individual BAs, the internal BA community and to our stakeholders and customers is significant. Attempting to ‘save time’ by avoiding this activity is a false economy. Organisations that aspire to be a truly ‘learning organisation’ encourage and enable effective peer reviews. Where organisations don’t place emphasis on this, BAs can choose to role model this commitment to quality and learning, and lead by example.


Further reading

Delivering Business Analysis: The BA Service Handbook, D Paul & C Lovelock, 2019


Don’t Just Break the Mold, Shatter It: Rebel Recipes for the Business Analyst Maverick

Photo by Nik on Unsplash


Picture this: You’re sailing on the vast ocean of the business world, navigating the wild waves of change. As a business analyst, you’re the captain of your ship, and your map? It’s pre-skilling – the compass that keeps you not just afloat but steering ahead of the storm. Gone are the days of up-skilling after the fact or re-skilling in the wake of a career hurricane. We’re talking about getting your sea legs “before” the tides turn. Ready to dive in? Let’s set sail!


Why Fit In When You Can Stand Out?

In the high-speed freeway of today’s business, being market fit isn’t just about keeping pace – it’s about setting the pace. As a business analyst, you’re not just in the driver’s seat; you’re also the navigator, the pit crew, and the spark plug all in one. Your adaptability isn’t just a cool party trick; it’s your bread and butter.

Pre-skilling is like having a crystal ball. It’s about harnessing your inner oracle to forecast the skills of tomorrow and training in them today. You don’t just react to change; you dance with it, two steps ahead, making waves rather than riding them.


 Talent and Skill Development: The Game’s Changing, Are You?

If you think of your career as a video game, pre-skilling is the cheat code that helps you level up “before” the boss fight. The digital domain is like a game that updates overnight – new rules, new players, new goals. Traditional skill development is playing catch-up, but pre-skilling? It’s got you downloading the updates before they even hit the main server.


 Pre-skilling: Not Just Another Buzzword

You see, pre-skilling isn’t a band-aid; it’s a blueprint. It’s not learning to fix a leak; it’s engineering a ship that rides the waves like a pro. It’s the difference between retrofitting your armor mid-battle and showing up with an indestructible suit.




 Sailing the Pre-skilling Seas: How to Do It Right

So, you’re convinced pre-skilling is the way to go. But how do you sail these uncharted waters? Here’s your treasure map:

 1. Potential Over Past Glory

Forget what you were; what you “can be” is the real gold. Cultivate a mindset that treasures soft skills – the ability to learn, adapt, and bounce back like a superhero.

 2. Feedback is Your North Star

Steer by the stars of feedback and career guidance. Have real talks with the crew – managers, mentors, peers – to chart a course that aligns with the future, not just the now.

 3. Broaden the Horizon

Your skill set is an ocean – vast and deep. Don’t swim in the kiddie pool. Dive into new knowledge areas, and you’ll find yourself swimming with the dolphins instead of the goldfish.

 4. Captain Skills

In the AI-cohabited world, leadership is your sword. Sharpen it. Guide your crew with vision, inspire them with your cause, and lead them through the foggy seas of change.

 5. All Hands on Deck for Diversity

Steer clear of the Sirens of sameness. Champion cognitive diversity and inclusive leadership. Different minds on deck make for a robust and innovative ship.

 6. Spyglass on Trends

Keep your spyglass fixed on industry winds and currents. Trend analysis isn’t just fancy talk; it’s how you predict the next big wave and ride it like a pro.

 7. Market Maps for Skills

Use market analysis to spot uncharted islands of opportunity. Customize your skill set to be the first to plant your flag and claim the land.

 8. Bridging Skill Gaps

Perform a gap analysis like you’re checking for leaks. Find where you’re lacking and patch it up before it’s time to face the kraken.

 9. Strategic Pre-skilling

Combine all these tools, and you’ve got yourself a pre-skilling compass that points true north. Use it to not just stay on course but to discover new worlds.


 Conclusion: Charting Your Course to Market Fitness

So, what’s the final word for our intrepid business analysts navigating the shifting sands of the corporate landscape?

The key takeaway is that the art of pre-skilling is not just a strategy; it’s a dynamic, forward-thinking mindset. It’s about embracing the power of foresight and the excitement of what’s yet to come. In a world that’s racing towards an unknown future, pre-skilling is your secret superpower. It’s the equivalent of giving your career a jetpack, where others might settle for a safety net.

Remember, the sea of business is as merciless as it is magnificent. The winds of change are relentless, and the tides of technology wait for no one. By embracing pre-skilling, you become the captain of your destiny, navigating through the gales with grace and gusto.

To thrive as a market-fit business analyst, you must treat change like it’s your best friend. Why? Because it is! Change is the one constant you can rely on to bring you new opportunities, insights, and paths to personal and professional growth. When you pre-skill, you’re not just keeping pace; you’re setting the pace, transforming from a player to a game-changer in your industry.

By investing in pre-skilling, you’re not just enhancing your resume; you’re forging a professional identity that’s as resilient as it is versatile. This identity becomes your brand, signaling to employers and colleagues alike that you’re not only equipped to handle the challenges of today but also the revolutions of tomorrow.

The Art of Communication

Gone are the days when being a brilliant business analyst meant you could hide in a dark room crunching numbers and never utter a single word to another human being. In the realm of business analysis, interpersonal skills have grown to be as crucial as a hot cup of coffee on Monday mornings, and the spotlight is shining brightly on communication prowess.

In today’s dynamic and information-driven business world, effective communication plays a pivotal role in driving success and achieving desired outcomes. For a business analyst, possessing strong communication skills is not merely an option — it is a necessity. As the liaison between stakeholders, technical teams, and project managers, business analysts play a crucial role in ensuring the success of a project.


Why Communication Skills Matter for Business Analysts

Effective communication is the foundation of successful business analysis. It enables business analysts to articulate complex ideas and concepts concisely and clearly. By communicating effectively, business analysts can ensure that requirements are accurately captured and understood by all stakeholders, minimizing the risk of misinterpretation, and avoiding costly project delays or failures.

Effective communication helps business analysts build trust and credibility with stakeholders. By clearly articulating ideas, presenting data-driven insights, and actively engaging stakeholders in the decision-making process, business analysts can instil confidence and foster a collaborative and conducive working environment for open dialogue.

Moreover, business analysts often serve as mediators between different stakeholders who may have conflicting priorities or perspectives. In these situations, effective communication becomes even more critical as it helps productive discussions and find mutually beneficial solutions. By creating an inclusive and collaborative environment, business analysts can promote teamwork, consensus building, and efficient decision-making, thereby contributing to the success of projects and initiatives.

Business analysts must also be skilled in active listening, empathy, and building rapport and fostering strong relationships with stakeholders. This helps them gain a deeper understanding of the stakeholders’ perspectives, and uncover implicit needs and concerns, which in turn, allows them to tailor their communication and recommendations that address the underlying issues and drive positive change within the organization.


The Spectrum of Communication Skills

Communication skills encompass various dimensions, including verbal communication, written communication, non-verbal communication, and emotional intelligence. Each of these dimensions plays a critical role in the day-to-day activities of a business analyst.


Verbal Communication Skills

Verbal communication involves speaking and listening. These skills are essential for conducting interviews, facilitating meetings, and delivering presentations. Proficient verbal communication allows business analysts to articulate ideas clearly, ask relevant questions, and actively listen to gather valuable insights and ensure a complete understanding of the stakeholders’ perspectives.

When it comes to verbal communication, it is not just about the words spoken but also the tone, pace, and clarity of speech. The way information is conveyed can greatly impact how it is received by stakeholders. Effective verbal communication also involves the ability to adapt to different audiences and situations. A skilled business analyst can tailor the language and approach based on the stakeholders they are communicating with, ensuring that the message is understood and well-received.


Written Communication Skills

Written communication is equally important for business analysts. Business analysts with exceptional written communication skills possess the ability to organize their thoughts in a logical and coherent manner. It involves creating detailed documents, such as requirement specifications, business process flows, project reports and communicating project updates. Additionally, attention to detail is crucial to ensure that there are no errors or ambiguities in the documentation.

Strong written communication skills enable business analysts to convey complex information accurately and concisely and ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page.

Moreover, effective written communication involves the ability to adapt the style and tone of the message to the intended audience. Different stakeholders may have varying levels of technical expertise or familiarity with the subject matter. By tailoring the communication to suit the needs of each stakeholder, business analysts can ensure that the information is accessible and meaningful to all.


Non-Verbal Communication Skills

Non-verbal communication includes body language, facial expressions, and gestures. While often overlooked, non-verbal communication can convey important messages and influence how stakeholders perceive information.

When engaging in non-verbal communication, business analysts must be mindful of their own body language the non-verbal cues. Maintaining eye contact, using appropriate facial expressions, and having an open and relaxed body posture can all contribute to effective non-verbal communication.

These skills are particularly important when conducting interviews or facilitating workshops as being aware of non-verbal cues enables business analysts to detect subtle signs of agreement or disagreement. For example, a nod of agreement or a smile can signal understanding and support. On the other hand, crossed arms or a furrowed brow may indicate scepticism or disagreement. By aligning the non-verbal cues with the verbal messages, business analysts can adjust the communication approach, accordingly, fostering a more collaborative and productive environment.

Furthermore, cultural awareness is an important aspect of non-verbal communication. Different cultures may have different norms and interpretations of non-verbal cues. Business analysts must be sensitive to these cultural differences and adapt their non-verbal communication accordingly to avoid misunderstandings or misinterpretations.


Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is a critical aspect of communication for business analysts. Understanding and managing emotions, both their own and those of others, allows business analysts to navigate conflicts, handle difficult conversations, and build strong relationships. Emotional intelligence helps business analysts adapt their communication style to different stakeholders, fostering a positive and collaborative work environment.




Mastering Communication Skills as a Business Analyst

While some individuals may possess natural communication abilities, it is a skill that can be continually developed and refined with dedication, deliberate practice, and continuous improvement. Here are some strategies to develop and strengthen the communication abilities as a business analyst:


Active Listening Techniques

Active listening goes beyond merely hearing what someone says. It involves fully engaging with the speaker, understanding the message and intentions, and providing appropriate feedback. Practice active listening by providing undivided attention to the speaker, maintaining eye contact, and demonstrating empathy. By practicing active listening techniques, business analysts can ensure an accurate and complete understanding of stakeholders’ needs and requirements.


Practice Empathy

Develop your emotional intelligence by actively practicing empathy. Empathizing with stakeholders and understanding their challenges can significantly enhance communication. Understand other’s perspectives and emotions by putting yourself in their shoes, business analysts can anticipate concerns, build stronger connections and offer tailored solutions.


Polishing Written Communication

Business analysts often produce detailed reports, requirements documents, and emails. Improving writing skills is crucial to convey ideas clearly and professionally. Avoid jargon and fancy words; use plain language to ensure everyone can comprehend the content.


Enhancing Presentation Skills

To deliver impactful presentations, business analysts should focus on structuring the content, maintaining a confident and engaging presence, and utilizing visual aids to support their message. Practice presenting in front of a mirror before presenting it to a larger audience. This technique will help to adapt the communication style to suit the needs and preferences of different stakeholders. Simplify complex technical concepts for non-technical audiences or emphasise key benefits and outcomes for executive-level stakeholders. Tailor the presentations, to resonate the message with the audience and to convey the desired information effectively.

Develop data visualization and storytelling skills to effectively communicate complex ideas and facilitate decision-making.


Utilize Technology

Leveraging communication tools and technology can greatly enhance effectiveness as a business analyst. Get familiar with collaboration platforms, project management software, and communication tools to streamline communication processes and ensure efficient information sharing.


Engage in Cross-Functional Collaboration

Collaborate with professionals from various disciplines to gain exposure to different communication styles and approaches. This experience will help to adapt the communication strategies to diverse audiences.


Be Flexible! Seek Feedback, Learn and Adapt

Interaction with stakeholders from diverse backgrounds and cultures is business as usual for a business analyst. Adapting the communication style to suit different individuals and situations is crucial for effective collaboration. Understand and respect cultural differences, adjust the language and approach, and actively seek feedback from colleagues, stakeholders, and mentors to identify areas for improvement and understand how your communication style is perceived. Flexibility in communication ensures that you can connect with stakeholders on their terms, fostering a more inclusive and productive working environment.


The Growing Importance of Interpersonal Skills in Business Analysis

In the evolving world of business analysis, effective communication skills are indispensable for the success of business analysts. By honing the ability to listen actively, articulate clearly, and adapt to different stakeholders, business analysts can be established as an indispensable asset to any organization. As the business landscape continues to evolve, those who master the art of communication will navigate challenges with finesse and lead projects towards triumph. Effective communication is not just about conveying information — it’s about building relationships, understanding needs, and fostering collaboration.

The ability to communicate effectively is the key to unlocking new opportunities and driving positive change in the dynamic world of business analysis.

Remember, even in the world of business analysis, laughter is the best medicine — just make sure you’re laughing with your stakeholders, not at them.


Happy communicating 🙂

Best of BATimes: How to Prevent the Negative Impacts of Poor Requirements

There is an abundance of stories of failed projects. Research has shown the reasons for IT project failure in the USA, indicated that project success rates were only 34%, with the rest of projects being either “challenged” in some way or failing outright.

The losses can be very significant. For example, British food retailer Sainsbury had to write off its $526 million investment in an automated supply-chain management system. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration spent $2.6 billion unsuccessfully trying to upgrade its air traffic control system in the 1990s. Ford Motor Company abandoned its purchasing system in 2004, after spending $400 million. In the 8 years since, things probably haven’t changed much.

From the project management perspective, technology projects fail when they do not meet the following criteria for success:

  1. Project delivered on time
  2. Project completed on or under budget
  3. The delivered solution works as required by business stakeholders.


A number of factors are involved in any particular project failure. The most often quoted factors are listed below:

  1. Lack of stakeholder involvement
  2. Unrealistic time scales
  3. Poor requirements
  4. Scope creep
  5. Uncontrolled changes
  6. Insufficient testing.


The quality of requirements can have a lot of impact on the outcome of the project. One high profile project which was significantly affected by the requirements management process was the Chrysler Comprehensive Compensation System which was supposed to handle paychecks for Chrysler’s 87,000 employees but was shut down after several years of development.

The impact is magnified as the BA moves from high-level requirements towards functional and non-functional requirements. The cost of rework of functional requirements is the highest because these requirements define the technical specification and design of the solution.

Here is a visual summary of the impacts:

korbanIMG01 April30

Project Impacts

Projects are undertaken by the business to satisfy a strategic goal. Poor requirements have the following effects on projects (and subsequently impact the strategic goals of the business):

  • Scope creep negatively affecting budget and completion time
  • Low utilization of resources and higher overheads
  • Inadequate business process design (due to insufficient details about activities)
  • Poor design and ergonomics of the user interface, resulting in lower productivity
  • Inadequate software specification, resulting in lower developer productivity
  • Poor specification amplifies the negative effect of poor requirements when it comes to software testing, leading to higher costs and lower quality of the solution
  • Time-consuming and costly code rework
  • Difficulties in solution integration.

Business/Organization Impacts

More generally, the business as a whole is affected in many different ways by poor requirements through the projects that the business undertakes. Here is the short list of negatively affected areas that I have witnessed:

  • Lost opportunities for the business
  • Lost advantage relative to competitors
  • Breaches of regulatory compliance
  • Poor stakeholder engagement and loss of trust
  • Reduced business process efficiency due to poor solution design
  • Negative user experience due to cumbersome UI design
  • Lack of cohesive IT landscape due to poor integration
  • Negative impact on the bottom line, generally speaking.


How to Prevent Poor Requirements

In my experience, there are two ingredients in any given project which help me deliver quality requirements. One ingredient is what I know about the business and the project. The other one is the techniques I use to ensure that I deliver great results.

It probably sounds quite vague at this point, so let’s dive into the specifics.




Knowledge Needed for Quality Requirements

The foundation for creating the future solution is a good level of understanding of the current state. Regardless of the methodology you are following, you have to start here. What do you need to know?

  1. Know the Context in which the Business Operates

    The business operates in two contexts. One is the external context where market forces define how the business operates and maintains its sustainability. This includes regulatory requirements, competitors and partners.

    The second context is internal. It is actually more complex as it includes organizational structure, business processes, governance around the processes (business rules), people involved in the processes, internal politics, organizational culture and overall pace of changes within the business you work for.

  2. Understand the Business Problem or Opportunity

    This is the actual driver for the project. Without knowing the real business need you won’t be able to find the solution that solves that problem.

  3. Identify Gaps to be Bridged

    Once the business problem and stakeholder concerns are clear, you can draft the future state. When the future state has been confirmed with stakeholders, perform gap analysis. Your focus here is on what should be done within the project scope to resolve the identified problem. It is also good to think about extra value the business can get as a result of the project.

Extra value can be delivered when you have a clear understanding of changes going on in the organization, and how the project you are engaged in fits into the change landscape.


Techniques for Better Requirements

The techniques I’ve settled on in my practice enable me to use stakeholders’ time efficiently and get a clear picture of the current state. Let me share them with you.

  1. Do Your Homework: Before engaging stakeholders in requirements gathering activities, I read all available documentation on business processes, business applications in use, regulatory requirements (if any), internal communication about changes in the organization, as well as other projects that may have dependencies with the project I am in.I also explore information relevant to the industry as a whole to identify possible good practices that I can re-use.I call this exercise my “homework”. The benefits of the homework exercise are that I know the “language” I will use when talking with stakeholders. I also know what to articulate to confirm information that is unclear. I feel confident about my part in the project and I know that I can help the business.
  2. Power Up Communication with Visuals: There is nothing better than diagrams to explore the current state and get an idea about the desired future state. The time savings due to using visuals can be enormous. How much time do you spend to define the future state? If you don’t use diagrams at present, you could probably save a significant portion of that time. Outline organizational boundaries, processes and data they use, add used applications, process and technology interfaces where required, and finally add roles involved in the processes. Now you have a snapshot of the current state.
  3. Use Templates to Support Your Work: Any business analysis task has to be organized to save your valuable time. Templates are of great help here as they let you re-use the common parts of documentation, and customize as necessary. They also serve as a kind of checklist of required documentation, and ensure that you don’t miss anything. My favourite template is the Current State Analysis. It includes analysis findings, identified business need, visualized current state (including the external context) and recommendations on what the solution may look like in terms of capabilities.
  4. Avoid Common Pitfalls: Requirements become poor and vague when they mix project related tasks, statements about the future state, applied rules and solution design. A good way to avoid these common project pitfalls is to plan business analysis, and to document the planned activities and deliverables in the Business Analysis Plan. It’s an integral part of the project plan. However, the Business Analysis Plan does not deal with project tasks.A hierarchical approach has to be taken to the future solution. Firstly, list the required solution capabilities. They can include both changes to business processes and technology services supporting these processes.Secondly, translate these capabilities into a business process design and business requirements for supporting technology services. You always need to tweak a business process if you change software used to support the process.Thirdly, add relevant business rules to justify future business logic.Next, validate the business process design and specified business requirements with the stakeholders.Finally, transform the validated requirements into functional requirements. These will guide the development and implementation of the solution. Don’t forget to describe business data (along with data types) to be used within the solution.

Adding prototypes of the user interface will make the functional requirements more precise and also help establish new terminology to be used in the solution.

These steps are executed in an iterative fashion so they align well with modern “fast” methodologies such as Agile and Scrum.



Poor requirements may lead to project failure. Functionality that is poorly specified, implementing something that isn’t needed, poor processes, lost development time, missed project deadlines, poor quality of documentation – the list of impacts can go on and on.

I believe that we as business analysts can do our job well and contribute to business success. Sometimes we don’t have enough time to stop and consider why our requirements are poor.
In the article above I listed the key ways to improve requirements. I’ve tested these approaches in many projects and they always produce positive results.

I hope they will help you, too!



Published on: Apr 30, 2013

Embracing AI in Business Analysis: A Guide for BAs

Artificial Intelligence in business analysis is fast becoming the next big evolution of the BA practice. It acts as a superpower to enhance decision-making, automate repetitive tasks, free up time for strategic work.

BAs add value to organizations that AI cannot replace, like problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration. But with increasing competition in companies, BAs can use an assistant like artificial intelligence to do more with less. This article covers the growing influence of AI in business analysis and how you can thrive as a business analyst in the age of generative AI.


AI in Business Analysis: A Growing Field

Business analytics powered by AI can detect patterns, anomalies, and deviations and raises them for review by business analysts.

Business analysts are embracing AI/ML tools to make more informed decisions and improve their competitive advantage. Tools like Tableau, Power BI, and others increasingly have a significant AI component

BA coaches have also begun thinking and producing content on how to use AI tools like ChatGPT for business analysis.

The growth of AI tools has also led to an increasing push for human oversight over AI. For instance, the European Commission has proposed a regulation the stipulates how high-risk AI systems like facial recognition algorithms should be created with human oversight in the loop.

Developing regulations like these will affect downstream industries like business analysis in due time.


AI-enhanced Business Analysts

The most beneficial way to deal with the rise of AI is to enhance your existing skill set using it. Generative AI tools can also lead to happier and more productive workers.


Here are some ways you can adapt to the changing reality:

Know your Core BA Skills

As recently as May 2023, Forbes recognized six core business analysis skills:

  • Analysis: Parsing large amounts of complex data and recommending solutions.
  • Communication: Active listening and clear delivery of data in verbal and written form.
  • Interpersonal: Working effectively with stakeholders and teams within client organizations.
  • Problem-solving: Creative solving of unique client issues.
  • Time Management: Prioritizing tasks and getting the job done quickly.

AI can do parts of these tasks for you, but none fully. For instance, an AI-based requirements management tool can help you analyze and write requirements based on raw data, but only with your approval.  But it fails at active listening, stakeholder engagement, or creative problem solving.

Without human oversight, AI can be ineffective or even counterproductive. Business analysts can excel through expert management of AI tools and ensure that AIs output aligns with the goals of the organization.

Another core skill that AIs cannot compete is an up-to-date understanding of the industry. BAs with domain knowledge can spot problems and suggest fixes before a project reaches the development team. They have the knowledge and connections to understand market conditions and protocols beyond what is available on AI databases.

Strategies for developing industry domain expertise include:

  • Researching the history, current situation, and prospects of the industry.
  • Learning market-specific protocols. For example, ASPICE is a key automotive regulation.
  • Competitive analysis.
  • Asking questions to other domain experts.

Enhance Your Data Management and Analysis Skills

According to Peter Sondergaard, the SVP and Global Head of Research at Gartner, “Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine.” Analytical skills help BAs generate high quality outcomes that meet business needs.

In practical terms, you need to have a combination of the following data analytics skills to position you as a high-value and competitive BA candidate:

  • Data Literacy: Familiarity with data language, types, sources, and analytical tools.
  • Data Collection: Knowing how to collect unbiased and reliable data through various methods.
  • Statistical Analysis: Knowing statistical terms and techniques like hypothesis testing, linear regression, and p-values to extract insights.
  • Data Visualization: Presenting data honestly to communicate insights.

Learn to Work with AI Tools

A recent survey by Gartner showed that 70 percent of U.S. workers want to use AI to reduce some common tiresome and repetitive tasks.


The top task that workers hoped AI would automate is data processing. The demands of a business analyst already include many of these tasks and will do so in the future. Here’s how BAs can leverage AI tools for data processing:

  • Integration: Building “master lists” of data, like merging lists while retaining their integrity.
  • Classification: collecting, extracting, and structuring data from documents, photos, audio, video, and other media.
  • Cataloging: Organizing, cleaning, and retrieving data. SQL is already a key skill for data retrieval and OpenRefine helps with basic data cleaning.
  • Quality: Reducing errors, contradictions, or low quality in databases or requirements authoring.
  • Security: Keeping data safe from bad actors.
  • Compliance: Adhering to relevant industry-based or national compliance standards. E.g. ASPICE for automotive.

BAs should also learn how to interact with AI tools. Some tools have button-based interfaces, but others like ChatGPT use prompts. Engineering prompts will itself become a skill not dissimilar to making SQL queries. The right query may be the difference between an important insight and a dead end.

This collaborative approach to AI in business analysis will help increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the entire organization. The MIT Sloan Management Review and Boston Consulting Group’s global executive survey found that companies combining AI and human abilities are best positioned to succeed.

These days, many tools help boost the productivity of BAs. Some staples like Tableau and Power BI have into their legacy offerings. Others have leveraged the to analyze, write, rewrite, and suggest requirements.




Adapt to Changing Roles and Responsibilities

Beyond working with AI tools, BAs will have to adapt and expand their skill sets to market realities. BAs can stay on top of things by:

  • Keeping up with cutting-edge technologies like blockchain, digital trust, and artificial intelligence.
  • Asking better questions about business needs, technology needs, and stakeholder satisfaction.
  • Considering hybrid roles that combine BA skills with related fields like statistics, data analysis, project management, and UX.
  • Enhancing soft skills. BAs who communication, critical thinking, negotiation, and collaboration skills can adapt and thrive in any environment.


The Future of Business Analysis is Bright

The fundamental role of the business analyst will be no less relevant in the near future. Somebody has to perform crucial tasks like business processes evaluation, problem identification, and more. Embracing the paradigm of new AI tools will only increase the productivity of BAs. Combined with their core BA toolkit, domain expertise, fluency in data management, and soft skills, business analysts can thrive and drive the success of their companies in the 2020s and beyond.


Source: AI in Employee Engagement: 7 Applications to Try Yourself | Zavvy [AS1] [AS1] [AS2]