Interview Questions for Business Analysts and Systems Analysts

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How would you build a Business Process Model?

Posted by Chris Adams

Article Rating // 31825 Views // 0 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: Business Analysis, Systems Analysis, Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN), Elicitation (BABOK KA), Enterprise Analysis (BABOK KA)



Building a Business Process Model is a complex task that requires a number of successful steps to complete.

1) Determine scope

First, you need to figure out the actual scope of the work you are doing. Since business processes often interact with other processes in a complex fashion, it’s important to draw a line between the process that is in scope and the associated processes that are out of scope.  

Another important item to determine is whether you are documenting the process that exists (“current state,”) documenting an anticipated future change to the process (“target state,”) or both.  You may also be building an entirely new process from scratch.

2) Gather background information

The first step is to fully understand the process that you will be documenting as a Business Process Model. You may read available documentation and Standard Operating Procedures. You may also speak to people who are involved with the process on a day-to-day basis. The goal is to gain a high level understanding of what the process is about.

3) Conduct interviews

Now that you have a high level understanding of the process, it’s time to dig into the details. This often requires interviews with the subject matter experts most familiar with the new or existing process you will be modeling. As you facilitate these interviews you must be able to aggressively question every step of the process. Make sure you fully understand every decision point, activity, manual or automated step, data source, message, and event.

As you do this you must define the “happy path” of the process, which is the default path when there are no exceptions, problems, or conditions. This “happy path” must be clearly expressed in your model. Once you fully understand the “happy path” you can delve into the necessary exceptions.

4) Begin Modeling

At this point you can start your Business Process Model. Ideally you should use Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) 2.0, which is the current standard.

How you model depends on your organization’s capabilities. Many places use Visio, which is perfectly adequate. If Visio is not available, then a tool such as PowerPoint can be used although this makes modeling more difficult as it is not a dedicated platform for that purpose. A step up from Visio would be a dedicated Business Process Management suite, which has features such as a model repository and in some cases the ability to generate software code automatically.

5) Validate and iterate

Once you have built your initial model, it is time to validate and iterate it. Go back to your original stakeholders and subject matter experts that you interviewed. Walk them through every step of the process model. They are likely to find errors, and that is normal. Take their feedback and improve the model in response. Then go back to them again, and repeat this until the model is perfect. You then get your business sponsor to sign off on the model.

Your model is done until the time comes to expand or modify it.


Joe Barrios, Career Coach
Your Business Analyst career, from resume to job offer



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Do your homework prior to the business analysis interview!

Having an idea of the type of questions you might be asked during a business analyst interview will not only give you confidence but it will also help you to formulate your thoughts and to be better prepared to answer the interview questions you might get during the interview for a business analyst position.  Of course, just memorizing a list of business analyst interview questions will not make you a great business analyst but it might just help you get that next job.



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