Soft Skills

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The Business Analyst is in a great position to constantly focus on the desirability of the product.  A well-defined requirement elicitation process must be focused on defining the problem the business is trying to solve for our customers. If defining the problem is the first step in your requirement process you are on the way to guaranteeing that the delivered product will provide value to your customers. Throughout the development process you will be able to monitor if the product is actually solving the problem. Additionally, your requirements should be directly related to solving the problem. It is a BA’s job to question the value of every proposed requirement that product owners want to add. If the requested feature or function is not directly related to solving the problem then it should be taken out of scope. 

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You finally did it. You figured out the real business problem your project is meant to solve, and identified a solution that is far superior than the originally proposed. Now you just need to get buy-in from the project sponsor so the delivery team can alter their plans and set out to build the higher-value solution you devised. But there is one problem: the project sponsor was deeply involved in identifying the original solution and nurturing it. It’s his baby… and if you say it needs to be overhauled, you are basically saying his baby is ugly. Now what? How do you make sure your news aren’t received as an insult, and dismissed with defensiveness by the decision-maker?
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This article extends design thinking into a process and method that uses a range of common Business Analysis techniques to drive engagement through collaboration. It provides more structure to either side of the creative process to one better frame the domain of concern, and secondly after creativity has produced ideas, to prototype, refine, test and learn. The article also positions this process as a better way to arrive at a business case or pre-project phase, since it provides enormous insights through an engaging discovery process; something that would never occur within a traditional environment into investigation investment feasibility.
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In the world of underlying competencies that contribute to strong business analysis, the soft skill of analytical thinking and problem solving may seem pretty self-explanatory. Clearly, it involves sorting through business problems and information in an informed, methodical way. In order to do this, an analyst must research the problem and then propose intelligent solutions.

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The “good old workshop”. As a business analyst practitioner and trainer I often get asked the question “should we use a workshop?” quickly followed by “how do we run it?”. This article addresses the first question (subsequent articles will look at the second).
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Next time you start to think that your stakeholder is crazy, ask yourself why. Chances are that there is a rational rationale, and it will be up to you to come up with a solution that meets the needs of your organization and your stakeholders.
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Driving Lessons. We all did it. We all know how that very first one went. It was described to us that the clutch should be engaged, place the car in first gear, release the handbrake, release the clutch and press down on the accelerator… Only for the car lurch forward then stutter and lurch forward again. This process continues several times before the car stalls and comes to a stop.

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What does innovation mean to the Business Analyst?  This article is my practical way of handling innovation and understanding the role that the Business Analyst plays in innovative projects.  Giving five tips for success the article explains how innovative projects can be approached and how the unique skill set of the Business Analyst can add measurable business value. 

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Business analysts are jacks-of-all-trades -- and masters of some... unfortunately, many BAs fall short. They often spread themselves too thin, lack the requisite confidence to speak with authority, or don’t understand fully the important role they play.

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It’s pretty rare to be a business analyst and not facilitate meetings...  In this article, we’ll look at 3 possible roles new BAs fill in meetings, how to expand your meeting facilitation experience, and review 5 critical meeting facilitation techniques that will help you run working, productive meetings.
 

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Interaction skills are a soft skill set that includes tactful communication, mediation, and diplomacy. BABOK divides interaction skills into three broad areas: facilitation and negotiation, leadership and influencing, and teamwork. All of these skills encompass the ability to navigate politics, even in tricky territory, in order to bring people together in consensus on a project, to mitigate conflicts, and to help people feel heard.

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In an ideal world, a single, full-time, expert user would indeed be sitting within view—“on sight”—of developers, ready at a moment’s notice to speak definitively for the entire user community. In reality, this is unlikely in most situations.

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This article describes an integrated system of actions, tasks, and methods for managing project stakeholders. It highlights the strategic business actions, the tactical project tasks, and operational methods conducted by project sponsors, project managers and business analysts respectively.

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Business analysts need to understand their role on a project. Please note I use the word 'role' and not 'job' or 'the work we do'. As business analysts, our role is to deliver business value. If you do not have a clear definition of what that business value is, how can you expect to deliver it? “Improve the customer experience.” Where is the business value in that? And how do you measure it? When faced with objectives that are poorly defined, the business analyst is allowed to become like that irritating toddler, constantly asking “why? why? why? why? why?”.

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Recently I saw the movie “42,” based on the true story of Jackie Robinson,who in 1947 bravely fought custom, bigotry, and violent hostility to become the first African American to play major league baseball. His courage came from his inner strength which allowed him to withstand with dignity the cruel behavior from fans, other team managers and players, and at first some of his own teammates.

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