[Guest Blogger] Business Analysis – Part 1 (Self Assessment)

I'm very happy to introduce a new guest blogger here on the Canadian IT Managers blog. I met Blaine Bey in Halifax at the CIPS Informatics conference. He's a consultant with Sierra Systems in Victoria and will focus mainly on business processes and other things that spark his interest.

~ Ruth


Blaine Bey (Victoria, Sr. Consultant at Sierra Systems)

To be effective, a business analyst should be prepared in heart and mind for each project they undertake. This is similar in some respects to the way an athlete prepares themselves mentally for an event.

The following are some things a business analyst can evaluate by way of a self assessment (some of which have been mentioned by Graham Jones):

  • Consider the client business as if it were yours and spend project money as though it is coming out of your personal bank account.
  • Learn and use the terminology of the business.
  • Work to make the business a success first and the project a success second.
  • Where appropriate, work to break down barriers between stakeholders in the business. Facilitate discussion between stakeholders.
  • Be prepared to offer viable options and work within identified constraints.
  • Remember to focus on the solution rather than on the design / development / testing tools used. This can be illustrated by a farmer harvesting a crop. Success is measured by the crop harvested in a timely fashion rather than on the implements used.
  • Be approachable. If you have your own office, when possible keep the door open to encourage individuals to drop in to discuss issues and concerns.
  • Ensure that client contacts know they have the freedom to speak openly to you and that discussion is welcomed.
  • Be empathetic. Place yourself in the various roles of the organization and ask yourself: “What would I need the application to do to help me if this were my job?”
  • Strive to be known for honesty and integrity. (which is one reason I named my boat Pacific Integrity)
  • Be trustworthy. If you promise something, do your best to deliver. (which can be difficult to do at times)
  • Have a sense of humour. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
  • Demonstrate a willing attitude and be flexible.
  • Be thorough and detail oriented, however, balance quality with productivity. (and watch out for ‘analysis paralysis’)
  • Take pride in a job well done. A good design is like a high quality painting worth displaying in an art gallery.
  • Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Leverage the strengths of both client resources and team members. Permit the team to share the pride in quality workmanship.
  • Be balanced. Manage stress levels to maintain personal health. (which can be tough to do at times)
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