The Community Blog for Business Analysts

Laura Brandenburg
Laura Brandenburg

Top Ten Signs that Business Analysis is a Career Choice for you.

So you are interested in becoming a business analyst or maybe you’ve just always thought it would be fun to get more involved in technology projects.  If you are on the business side, but are thinking of a technology role, here are some signs you should give business analysis more than a fleeting glance:

1) You find yourself in meetings and like it. You always seem to sense when people are talking at each other but not communicating with each other. Bonus points if you find yourself in the middle of these conversations because you feel compelled to make them understand each other.

2) You like to write, especially a precise type of writing, and you are comfortable working independently at your computer for 2-3 hours at a time.

3) You always seem to find something wrong with a website or piece of software and ask yourself, why didn’t they think to handle that better? (Note: this attribute also makes for a good tester, but great BAs build quality into the requirements by asking these sorts of questions.)

4) You can handle tense situations but you don’t feel the need to be in the conflict. Helping people wade through different opinions and make informed decisions is one of the most important things a BA does.

5) You like to draw on the white board. Really, this is absolutely necessary. As a BA, you need to engage your stakeholders and nothing does this like a few scribbles on the wall or a napkin.

6) You are a bit of a preservationist. The idea of reading through meeting notes from 6 months ago might not take you into the upper orbs, but it does get you a wee bit excited, especially when you find the precise bullet point that reminds everyone why you threw that idea out last time, saving an hour of repetitive discussion.

7) Your co-workers come to you with questions about the legacy system you work with day-to-day. You understand not just how to use the system to do your job, but why things work the way they do. You wonder why everyone else just doesn’t get it.

8) You like to ask questions. You make sure you really know what someone meant when they said what they said.

9) You typically understand what the techies are saying.  There are exceptions to this rule because there are exceptional techies that even the best of us struggle to interpret.  But, all in all, you can figure out what they mean and, most importantly, the implications of what they mean to the business.

10) You naturally clarify problems before getting to solutions.  You might annoy people with all your questions about what the problem “really” is and why they think it’s something it’s not.  But you also rarely get caught with your pants down expending lots of effort to solve a problem only to find out no one cares about the solution. And when you do, you only blame yourself.

Bonus Point: You are solutions-oriented.  Some purists among my class might argue with me here because the focus of the BA role is to determine “what” needs to be done not “how” it needs to be done.  But in my experience, the best BAs collaborate with every member of the team every step of the way and actively participate in solving the problem and, especially, selecting the best solution from a collection of possible ones.  A perfect problem that can’t be solved or can’t be solved with the resources you have is, well, just a problem.  And that annoys everyone.

Post submitted by: Laura Brandau of Clear Spring Business Analysis who shares her thoughts on the business analysis profession in her blog: Bridging the Gap between Business and IT.

This entry was published on Jan 18, 2009 / Laura Brandenburg. Posted in Career as a Business Systems Analyst. Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
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Jenny Nunemacher posted on Tuesday, March 10, 2009 7:03 PM
This is a great summary of why I am a business analyst. I think I score a solid 9.5 + the bonus point. So I have the aptitude - I just need a little finesse on the tricks of the trade.
Jenny Nunemacher
vik posted on Thursday, March 18, 2010 10:32 AM
Excellent summary for someone who is on the fence between QA or BA. I have done QA for many years and am in a BA role now. I like the "how" more than that "what"!!

undrkvabrtha posted on Wednesday, June 30, 2010 5:58 PM
Great to see that other BAs do have a sense of humor.

My take is that humor is missing in many a BA community. Thank you, Laura!
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