The tasks of a business analyst can be overwhelming. A business analyst’s first responsibility is to ensure that the quality of the company’s product matches up with the requirements of its stakeholders and produces results. They are also the ones that gather the requirements from stakeholders from different levels, scrutinize and analyze information to come up with processes and decisions that help the team achieve their set aims.
The Business Analyst sees beyond what users need but also gives them what they need, through adequate information gathering. I can go on and on. In a nutshell, a business analyst is saddled with the responsibility of bridging the gap between existing and advanced information gathering techniques. They find a sweet spot between both approaches, helping to save time and improve the productivity of the team.
Having said that, it is apparent that with the long list of responsibilities, a business analyst is prone to make mistakes. While some are permissible, some others may have costly repercussions. These mistakes may have a negative impact on customer satisfaction, business profitability, and team efficiency.
So let’s take a look at the top mistakes business analysts make and how you can avoid them. By the way, if you find business analysis fascinating, you can apply for a BA training online certification course to get started as a business analyst.
1. Inadequate language proficiency
A key drawback for any BA is the inability to communicate fluently in a language. A company that works with foreign clients would require their BA to has a sound knowledge of the English Language. It could be any other language. The crux of the matter is to speak fluently, the language that other stakeholders understand. Lacking this would greatly affect the team. Imagine being a member of an interview panel and although the interviewee has the technical knowledge, he cannot communicate in plain English. If you were the interviewer, chances are that the candidate would not be selected.
Beyond speaking plain English, the BA must be able to communicate technical details in a simplistic and understandable manner. He should avoid technical jagons when communicating with stakeholders. Remember that a BA is expected that make requirements that are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realization, time-bound). Professionals have added two more requirements: complete and concise (SMART-CC). In other words, everything should be done with ambiguity or equivocacy. Communication especially.
2. Sticking to a particular roadmap religiously
Another mistake a BA can make would be dogmatically following the procedures of a given framework. This may sound counterintuitive but while it is good to follow the approaches of a framework, there can be exceptional situations. The IT world is an ever-dynamic world with new methodologies and procedures evolving. A good BA should be open to adapting to these changes when the need arises.
For instance, let’s say ideally a team is expected to use the Lean approach for a given project. However, the surrounding circumstances would require more time to execute the project successfully. Perhaps, some team members are unclear with the requirements of that approach or there is no needed resources to follow through that approach. As a BA, you should find other means to circumvent the bottleneck and not insist on following the Lean approach knowing that it may be bound to fail. The duty of a business analyst is to find the most optimal approach to a project after carefully studying the prevalent circumstances during the period of execution.
3. Not paying attention to the cultural norms of the customers
A good business analyst must take into cognisance the culture and tradition of their customers. Despite this being obvious, it still happens that a business analysts do not understand cultural interpretation of certain words or body language. A casual word in a city may mean something else in another city. Or a word said with a particular body disposition may have an entirely different meaning.
Let me give some examples. The Asian culture does not like to get a one-word response such as ‘no’. You are expected to talk more and justify your point. Sometimes, ‘will you’ is completely different from ‘would you’. Adding ‘please’ before making a request means alot to some people. The inability to deduce these ‘little’ things can lead to situations where the client perceives the BA as rude. This sort of situation would have a negative impact on the business and the BA as a person.
4. Jumping too quickly into the design phase
Most times, a business analyst is faced with a situation where business owners and stakeholders are in a rush. During the business development process, they tend to move quickly into the design phase without thoroughly getting feedback from the research and testing phase. The research phase is a quite important phase of any business development. Before jumping into implementation, you should test a few things to see which activity is most suitable for the project success. In situations where the stakeholders are trying to rush things by not implementing results from the testing phase, it is your duty as a BA to reiterate its importance and compel them to have robust research before design and implementation.
5. Lack of foresight and documentation
As a BA, you should work closely with managers to ensure you have a working plan written clearly to kickstart a project. This roadmap helps to guide the activities of the project and measure successes. Not having good documentation would lead to haphazardness which can potentially thwart the business’s success. In some cases, documenting the vision or roadmap may be the responsibility of the product managers. Nevertheless, the business analyst can help facilitate this assignment as its outcome has a huge toll on the project outcome.
In summary, the business analyst should never forget that his primary assignment is to deliver the delivered results to your stakeholders. To have a robust understanding of what BA is about, you can enroll in an online BA training and get a proper understanding of the BA role.