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.