Interview Questions for Business Analysts and Systems Analysts


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INTERVIEW QUESTION:

What does it mean to be a strong meeting facilitator?

Posted by Chris Adams

Article Rating // 998 Views // 0 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: Business Analysis, Systems Analysis, Roles and Responsibilities, General, Project Management, Elicitation (BABOK KA)

ANSWER

I've been a Business Analyst (in some form) for a while.  But it's only been recently that the word "facilitation" has popped up for me. I'm sure the term has been around for much longer, in the business and software development space, but I had to look it up.

When looking for Business Analyst roles, many job descriptions are now looking for people who, you guessed it, have excellent facilitation skills.  So, in hopes of sparing you any surprises in an interview, I thought I'd give you my words of wisdom on the subject.  

Fortunately, you've been practicing facilitation, like I have, without realizing it.  So it won't be too hard to catch on…

One skill business analysts tend to excel at is scheduling meetings with stakeholders and SMEs to gather requirements. We put together an agenda for everyone to know what to expect during that session.  We recognize that everyone's time is valuable, so we keep track of the time, realizing when topics go long and help move people along when a discussion gets heated (or aid with techniques that help people stay calm and come to a collective agreement).  We also help guide the dialogue among the stakeholders by recapping specific requirements, processes, and rules discussed to date and how to formulate decisions on what is needed, what can wait, and what is not as valuable as previously believed.  

We also have excellent listening skills. We're great at active listening.  It's a necessary skill since we are gathering a group of stakeholders who need help to solve a problem they have. 

A problem THEY have, not us.

So we need to listen to what they have to say and continue to press until we completely understand. We must go into meetings with a clear head.  We must fight the urge to put "words" into their mouths.  We need to stay neutral.  We shouldn't even consider a solution, no matter how much it's wanted, because we need to understand all the facts.  That is what will guide the project, the stakeholders' needs, to the ultimate solution.

Lastly, we understand that we don't end at "listening".  We ensure that before we end the meeting, we set the tone for the next one.  We summarize some of the critical parts discussed and list out all the action items.  Then we add when they are due or when the group needs a follow-up.  After the meeting, we send out emails or post the next steps in a shared space.  Seeing the tasks in black and white helps all team members know what each one is responsible for and when it is due.

So when you're applying for a job or an interviewer asks about facilitation, you've got this! You've already been practicing it - and excelling at it!  Way to go.

--
Angela Spring
Business Systems Analyst
LinkedIn Profile

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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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