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6 Ways to Succeed as a New Business Analyst


Businessman pointing to whiteboard during a meeting.A Business Analyst’s role encompasses many different duties.  Many people don’t know what a Business Analyst (BA) really does, and it is probably because they do it all!  Whether it's changing a policy, implementing a new solution, or managing a project, a Business Analyst provides the groundwork for all of these processes. 

To be successful in this career, you must be ready to embrace the challenges of the role.  Success is built on asking the right questions and utilizing the answers to achieve a positive outcome.  It requires a strong attention to detail and an ability to analyze and document the data and outcomes to support the communication and delivery with the appropriate team.

If you're in the beginning stages of a career as a Business Analyst, or if you have been thinking of transitioning into this type of role, here are 6 different ways to succeed:

1. Ascertain what software development methodologies are used in your IT shop and learn them.

For example, if your company’s standard software development methodology is Agile/Scrum, then, if available, take an internal class on it. If your company does not provide this type of training, learn it on your own. At a minimum, there are great YouTube videos on the topic as well as MOOC (Massive Online Open Courses), free webinars, and low cost training classes. Additionally, if your company offers tuition reimbursement, look for a night class on the topic as your company may pay for it.

2. Determine other industry best practices within IT and learn those also.
These other industry methodologies may include ITIL, Six Sigma, or Lean. Similar to software development methodologies previously discussed, there is an enormous amount of free and low cost information you can find on the internet to gain familiarity with these best practices.

3. Watch and learn.
If you're new to business analysis, it’s important for you to quickly learn what knowledge, skills and behaviors are appreciated within your specific department, within IT, and your company as a whole. This knowledge will help guide your actions in a direction that is consistent with your organization’s internal culture and informal code of conduct. Learn how projects and personnel are prioritized and treated, so you can more effectively position yourself for long term success.

4. Learn what criteria are used to rate employee performance.
This information also has a dual benefit. First, it provides you with the roadmap needed to assure a good quality review. You can guide your actions toward meeting the specific categories listed on the performance review. For example, if it has a category related to “Quality Internal Client Service”, work hard to maximize the client satisfaction of those to whom you are providing service.

5. Gain a deep understanding of both the business area you support and technologies used to bring their software application to life.
This could be Java and Oracle if the software is being developed in-house or it could be a cloud-based product like Salesforce if you are implementing a cloud-based application.

As you embark on your career as a business analyst, focus on gaining an overall understanding of how success can be achieved within your organization and what skills and knowledge you can obtain to continue to grow professionally. 

The above suggestions were written by Eric P. Bloom, former CIO of Manager Mechanics LLC and originally appeared on ITworld.com.

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