Challenges of Business Analysis

Working in the business analysis field requires certain skills and adherence to some methods or frameworks to organise the work. What isn’t apparent until you’ve worked on several projects are the challenges involved in the BA field. This article will describe just some of those challenges that BAs should be weary of when delivering BA services.

Education of stakeholders and superiors of planning work required

Whilst not realistic, some stakeholders sometimes think that because you are hired as a business analyst, that they can expect to see some BA artefacts as soon as one week after the commencement of your assignment. Whilst BA artefacts can be done inside one week, such as a communications plan, a stakeholder chart and a BA activities plan, we shouldn’t be ready to deliver parts of a business requirements specification this early. One way to manage expectations that may not be realistic is to inform your stakeholders of the process that you will follow. If you can show a high level view of how your analysis is done then this will help others readjust any unrealistic expectations that may have been made. Even a simple process of: elicitation; analysis; management; will help inform others of your method and expected time frames.

Creating productive workplace relations

To be an effective business analyst, you need to work well with other people regardless of their personality or profession. In the workplace, it is easy to start stereotyping other functional teams, however the BA doesn’t have the luxury of sitting back and making anthropological assessments. The business analyst must be willing to work productively with all groups that are involved. This doesn’t mean that you must befriend all your work colleagues. It’s important to establish relationships built on trust and respect. Eliciting information is a two way street. One can ask all the questions but the other party must be willing to cooperate and provide the information. Trust is an issue because in order to analyse a business, the stakeholders must trust you enough to give you accurate information. 

Delivering bad news

No one wants to deliver bad news so it’s understandable that the first few times, you might hesitate to pass on the news immediately. If the issue is something that you can’t solve on your own then you should notify project stakeholders as early as possible. In fact, even if you have resolved the issue on your own, you should still notify the relevant stakeholders of the interruption. At the very least, you can show your superiors and peers that you can be depended on to proactively address issues.

Keeping everyone informed (as appropriate)

Similar to the point above about communicating bad news, it’s also crucial to keep all relevant stakeholders informed about any news or progress. As a business analyst, you are the central point of information. It’s very easy to forget that there will be stakeholder groups that will be kept in the dark unless you keep all teams informed. This also serves to uncover any risks that haven’t yet been identified. In my experience, there is often a vital piece of information that is held with one or more stakeholders that would not have come to light if it weren’t for the dissemination of information.


The issues mentioned here are not the only challenges that can be encountered in business analysis. Depending on the complexity of the work, there may be several other considerations to address and balance. Being mindful of these challenges will help to deliver good business analysis outputs.

Business Analysis certification

To become certified as a Business Analyst, the most relevant qualifications are given by the IIBA. After roughly two and a half years of experience, you can be recognized as a BA practitioner by having a Certificate of Competency in Business Analysis (CCBA). After roughly five years, you are considered a professional and duly receive Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) status.

While waiting, what can you do before achieving these certifications, or in between them? Continue reading

Don’t be boring: business analysts should have social skills

In the business analysis profession, skills, qualifications and an ability to represent one’s self is needed for success. Most professionals I’ve met demonstrate these abilities. However, meeting the above does not mean you are an all-rounder.

A BA is first and foremost a communicator. Therefore social skills must be a priority and they should be a strong characteristic of a BA. With all the interactions with stakeholders, it would be assumed that you will gradually develop social skills over time even without much effort. Continue reading

Business Analyst, how do I become one and what strengths do I need?

As many BAs can testify, this is a profession where you have to find your own way in. I think this will change with time as the BA profession becomes more common but for now this is the challenge that many aspiring BAs face.

Going to university and studying information systems is a good start but unfortunately it does not grant you an entry into the BA field right away (unless of course you are able to find a good graduate program).

There are many discussions online about the different paths one can take to end with the illustrious title of Business Analyst. Continue reading

We don’t need BAs, business analysis is everyone’s job

I was chatting to a friend the other day who explained to me that his company does not have anyone working under a Business Analyst title. I thought to myself “that’s strange, how can an IT consulting firm negate the professional role of business analysis”. I was assured that the company has been around for more than two decades so they are obviously using a business recipe that works.

The reason why this company does not formally have any BAs is because business analysis is a process that is performed by various team members where it is needed. The solutions architect might do some business analysis. The product consultant will do some requirements gathering but he is not a BA, he is a product consultant. An enterprise architect is also responsible for some BA tasks. Continue reading