This is a complete guide about how to become a Business Analyst to learn about the roles, responsibilities, skills, Business Analyst salary, and job description:
Business Analysis is the process that helps an organization to improve and recommend solutions/changes required to deliver higher value to the stakeholders.
These process suggestions are arrived at after understanding the current practices and process of an organization and its future goals & needs.
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What You Will Learn:
- How To Become A Business Analyst
- Roles And Responsibilities Of BA
- #1) Understanding Businesses Requirement
- #2) Visual Modelling And Analytical Skills
- #3) Process Change Or Improvement For A Bigger Value Add
- #4) Documenting The Requirement In Detail
- #5) Resolve Issues And Queries Of All Stakeholders Amicably Without Conflict
- #6) Be The Key Point Of Contact For All Involved In Delivering The Project
- #7) Non-Functional Requirements
- #8) Role In Testing
- #9) Role In Help And Other User Documents
- #10) Impact Analysis Of Any Solution Change Due To Defect Fix Or Change Request
- #11) Continuous Communication With The Team To Maintain Team Spirit
- Documents Managed By BAs
- Business Analyst Skills
- Business Analyst Career Path
- Business Analyst Career Prospects
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Roles And Responsibilities Of BA
How To Become A Business Analyst
Business analysts implement and manage changes in a disciplined way. They study the risks, do SWOT (Strength Weakness Opportunities and Threats) analysis to arrive at the solution/change.
BA is the link between the customer and the organization/team providing the solution.
Roles And Responsibilities Of BA
Here is the answer to the frequently asked question – What does a Business Analyst do?
Business Analyst job description includes the below-listed tasks and delivering and maintaining the documents listed further down. The Responsibilities of a Business Analyst are as follows.
#1) Understanding Businesses Requirement
The primary task of a Business Analyst is to understand the need of the client/stakeholder. He needs to meet, discuss, question, suggest, and understand the requirement in detail to the minute level.
The requirement document should detail all the points discussed and have stakeholders on the same page. The clarity and detail of the document are the foundation of the success of the Project as all activities from development, testing to acceptance will refer to this document only.
The Project should typically move to the next stage only after the final requirement document is signed off by all the key stakeholders.
At a courier distribution center, the manager’s biggest challenge was in allocating the parcels to the area-specific agent for delivery. The BA present made a point to note the requirement – to capture area served as a part of the agent’s profile and as a part of the parcel’s delivery address.
A report generated listed all the parcels assigned to each agent based on the new captured field. This was the unsaid main need at the grass-root level!!!
#2) Visual Modelling And Analytical Skills
A proposed solution even if is very good has no value till it is accepted by the stakeholders. The ability to present the proposed solution in visual mode effectively is a key strength that is expected from a BA. The clarity and conviction of the stakeholders will make it easy to move ahead faster.
All the organizations have enormous data that are indicative of many trends and issues in the organization. The ability to analyze the data and extract meaningful data and offer insights is one of BA’s responsibility. They should be able to showcase trends and provide solutions/changes based on them.
The multi-level commission calculation as used in Amway is quite difficult to understand, but when explained pictorially with an example seems very simple and easy!!
#3) Process Change Or Improvement For A Bigger Value Add
As a resource with a larger overview i.e., for the long-term benefit of the client he needs to suggest if any process re-engineering needs to be done. This can be achieved only if he is aware of the current process and also the impact of the suggested change in any area.
He should be able to present to the client the value adds in terms of improved efficiency / better market image / better and more requirements of the client met etc.
On the other hand, he should also be able to guide the organization to drop old practices of no value add or overhead in the current situation.
For example– In a Health insurance firm, the premium charged was expected to be paid monthly installments only and if paid in excess, it was refunded. A BA proposed a minor change that if the amount is paid in excess then instead of refunding, it should be used for future months’ dues and if the payment is made in excess of the yearly amount, it should be rejected.
This solution was accepted by members as well as the management team and solved the overhead of refund management!
#4) Documenting The Requirement In Detail
The requirement document which is the outcome of the BA’s discussion and understanding of the need is often referred to as the ‘Bible’ of the Project.
BA then should be able to break it down and furnish the requirement in details to align with the delivery and development plan. For each delivery, the document should be able to answer queries of resources with different profiles and objectives E.g. a tester’s point of view, a developer’s detail, etc.
While the main expectation from the user story is mentioned in the User story along with its acceptance criteria. A good User story detail by BA will have details to the minutest level to avoid any rework or discussion like the label names, default drops down values, the Sort order of drop-down values, rounding off approach, shortcuts, etc.
#5) Resolve Issues And Queries Of All Stakeholders Amicably Without Conflict
The most challenging part of this role is to keep all stakeholders together and keeping the environment positive. Invariably difference, a gap in understanding of a requirement are raised and this leads to a lot of heated arguments and the situation gets out of hand.
It is the role of a BA to address all these differences and bring all the stakeholders on the same page and keep them in harmony and good spirits.
During the Requirement gathering discussion, there was a point of difference between the higher management of the client and the collection agents. This was regarding the rounding off of the monthly installments of the loan to be recovered.
Collection agents wanted it to be rounded to the nearest dollar to reduce the effort of managing coins/cents during every installment collection. But the management felt that this will impact the final amount recovered.
The BA listened to both sides and came up with the solution of rounding off at every installment and during the final installment adjust all the amount which was rounded off in each installment from the final balance due.
#6) Be The Key Point Of Contact For All Involved In Delivering The Project
BAs, generally do not have any direct role in development. Their interaction with development starts with detailing and explaining the requirement. They are the touchpoints with whom developers get in touch to get clarity.
If there is a roadblock or a technical challenge that the development team faces then the workaround is discussed with the BA team so that it can be communicated to all the stakeholders. E.g. if a search by Name as required by the client is not efficient then the development team can suggest other alternatives and the BA team then communicates it to the client with due justification.
#7) Non-Functional Requirements
While it is expected that BAs present the functional requirements with clarity, the Non-Functional requirements are also the additional details that can be specified.
Non-Functional requirements like the standard look and feel of each component used in the application like Dropdowns will always show the values in sorted and show ‘x’ as default etc.
The Load that the application can handle in terms of simultaneous users etc, the high-level security is some of the Nonfunctional requirements that BAs are required to detail.
#8) Role In Testing
BAs have an active role to play in testing. During in-house testing, they need to ensure that the coverage is enough and tests all the requirements. They are also expected to do business scenario testing before the project is delivered to the client.
Many a time they also take part in UAT (User acceptance testing) by helping the client understands the application and resolve his queries.
Example -A BA was recruited for a project to do E2E testing before client delivery for UAT. The end-to-end business scenarios written by BA on execution got the project delivery halted for few months because all the business scenarios either failed or needed clarification from the client!
#9) Role In Help And Other User Documents
BAs are expected to review the Help and User Manuals which are client deliverables for their correctness, clarity, and ease of use.
#10) Impact Analysis Of Any Solution Change Due To Defect Fix Or Change Request
Both, during the development phase and enhancement phase, the BAs need to be too alert to the impact of the change on the existing working code/application.
They are expected to know the application totally and an isolated change in one area if impacts any other point should be highlighted by them.
Recently due to the merger of two Banks in India, the monthly interest amount that was reflected in the monthly statement stopped. On analysis, it was found that the internal bank code which was changed after the merger missed the impact on this report, and the issue was leaked to the customer.
#11) Continuous Communication With The Team To Maintain Team Spirit
A Project delivery involves many profiles working together. BAs play a key role in minimizing differences and gaps in understanding and keeping the team together.
Documents Managed By BAs
- Product/Project Road Map document
- Requirement Management Plan
- Use cases & User stories writing
- Requirement Traceability Matrix (RTM)
- Business Requirement Document (BRD)
- System Requirement Specification (SRS) / System Requirement Document (SRD)
- Functional Requirement Specification (FRS)
- Functional Specification Document (FSD)
- End to End Business Scenarios / UAT Scenarios
- Configuration Matrix
- Requirement Status Report
- Backlog Tracking Document
- Gap Analysis Document
Business Analyst Skills
Enlisted below are the skills that are required to become a good Business Analyst:
- High level of accuracy and detail.
- Analytical thinking
- Good verbal and oral communication.
- Documentation & presentation skills.
- People management
- Process understanding
- Seeing and understanding the viewpoint of all stakeholders.
- Awareness of technology and its limitations & strengths E.g., Understanding databases, APIs, etc.
Business Analyst Career Path
One can choose to become a BA as a planned chosen career path from the beginning like Medicine, Engineering, etc. But this field has many people who have switched and chosen this path mid-way in their career.
Planned Career Path For BAs
First and foremost be sure that you have the basic skills and interest to pursue this line – One can always improve, learn the skills and get degrees & certificates.
The reference book by Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK) is a good read, to begin with. Refer to some popular BA Certifications.
To list a few:
- Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)
- IIBA Certifications in Business Analysis (ECBA, CCBA, CBAP, AAC, CBDA)
- IQBBA Certified Foundation Level Business Analyst (CFLBA)
- IREB Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering (CPRE)
- PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PBA)
- Try to do an undergraduate degree in Business Administration or Finance. Other graduates also can pursue this career path. Pursue a master’s degree in Business Administration or do a Business Analyst certification course from a good institute.
- Do courses in software like Database, Web designing to be able to understand the process during implementation of the project. This will help you to play a significant role when the challenges are faced by the technical/development team. Even during client interaction, one can propose technically feasible solutions.
- Try to gain some work experience in any firm that will help you in understanding the way different departments and people coordinate to deliver the final deliverable to the client.
- To be a BA in a specific business sector domain certificate or knowledge related to that industry will be helpful. E.g., Insurance Industry, Health Administration, Tourism and Travel, etc.
- Sharpen other skill sets if required by doing a short-term course i.e., Communication, Presentation, Documentation, People management skills.
Career Switch From Other Streams Into Business Analysis
This stream possibly has more people who have done a mid-career switch than a direct career choice. There are many profiles that add value by bringing in their core strength and in the long run learn the other skills required for this role and progress ahead.
Domain experts / SMEs – People working in the Insurance sector, Health sector, etc., have in-depth knowledge of the domain. They switch their career and the challenges they face are in understanding technical points like IT-related, Database, etc. Many LIC Insurance domain experts have switched careers and joined the growing IT firms as domain experts.
Developers and QA personnel switch to this career path as they know the domain and have good knowledge of IT / Technical skills. Their challenge is in improving their domain knowledge and acquiring other skills like analytical skills, process understanding, etc. Refer here for more details.
Approach To Make Mid Path Career Switch A Success
- First and foremost, understand the requirement of the role.
- Do a SWOT Analysis of your strengths, weaknesses and the opportunities the current organization presents you. So first identify your transferrable skills.
- Initiate a planned approach to showcase your strength and present their add value to the organization and build your case. During discussions and meetings give your feedback/inputs from a BA perspective and mindset. This will be noticed by seniors and may strengthen your case.
- If it’s a switch for a domain expert then identify the firms that require BAs in the specified domain. Present your CV showcasing your strengths and the add value you will bring to the table.
- If it is a switch within the same organization then knowledge and awareness of the business process followed in that individual organization, the stakeholders and the current challenges are all the strengths.
- If it’s a cross Industry switch, then try to get the first break into this profile and then gradually build your career by doing the needful.
Also read =>> Career shift from Tester to BA
Business Analyst Career Prospects
BA with their data analyzing skills and ability to bring value add changes help the organization in strategizing the future plans and help in moving to higher berths in competition. This role is not threatened by technology advancement and automation as it is based on human understanding, collaboration, and soft skills.
Business Analyst Salary
As per the site payscale.com, the Pay scales as of Jan 2021 are as follows:
Business Analyst Salary annually – Average Base $ 50K
Range – $69K – $98K
Details of the top 5 BA roles are listed below:
|Role||Focus on||Potential Salary Range|
|Business Analyst Manager||Data projection to help management to take decision and grow||Average base salary - $103K
Range: $70K - $130K
|Data Analyst||Analyzing corporate data from statistical and scientific point of view and predicting trends and insights.||Average base salary - $85K
Range: $57K- $142K
|Quantitative Analyst||Analyzing corporate data and market data and facilitating financial decisions like reducing risks, better pricing, good investment||Average base salary - $58K
Range: $85K - $132K
|Data Business Analyst||Identifying data trends and analyzing them statistically and facilitate management decisions||Average base salary - $69K
Range: $50K - $97K
|IT Business Analyst to Project Manager||Understanding corporate data as business components and strong knowledge of technology||Average base salary - $89K
Range: $57K- $128K
Frequently Asked Questions
Q #1) I don’t have IT skills and experience. How can I become a business analyst? Is there an easy way?
Answer: IT skills are not a must to start, but knowledge of the same helps BAs to give better and feasible solutions.
Q #2) What kind of behavior skills are required for a good Business Analyst?
Answer: BA should be a good listener and observer. He should have a broad perspective and not a tunnel vision. Communication, presentation, detail & accurate documentation, and people management skills are of utmost importance for a BA.
Q #3) Do we need to know programming languages for a BA Role?
Answer: BAs are not required to know a programming language and other technical things in detail. They should know SQL Query to a good extent. Database knowledge will also help in collating related information and organizing them.
Q #4) Do we need to know the Domain in-depth for a BA Role?
Answer: BAs need to know the domain, but that is not a mandate to start with. He should have the ability to grasp, understand and learn the domain quickly with his general understanding of business administration.
Q #5) What are the non-functional requirements that need to be a part of the Requirement Document?
Answer: BAs coordinate with experts in the Non-functional area like load, response time, security, etc., and the same is specified in the system requirement document to set clarity in expectation from the client and the expected deliverable from the development team.
Q #6) Why are BAs involved in testing?
Answer: BAs have an overall view of the need and can frame real business scenarios. Testers and developers test it with their limited knowledge of the business. It is a good practice for BAs to review test coverage and cases for better quality delivery.
Q #7) How is it ensured that Business Analyst has covered all the requirements properly?
Answer: The only way to assess this is by getting the client to approve the requirement document prepared by the BAs. As a norm, development should start only when the requirement document is signed off by all stakeholders.
Q #8) What are the common issues faced by BAs?
Answer: There many roadblocks faced by BAs as they collaborate with many teams and get them to work together with a common goal. The most common issues are communication barriers, information access barriers, technology roadblocks, team synergy, etc.
Q #9) What are the commonly used software by BAs?
Answer: There are many software used by BAs. But the most frequently used and unavoidable ones are Powerpoint, Word, Excel, Flowchart, SQL queries, etc.
Q #10) What do we mean by GAP Analysis?
Answer: When an already developed product is being marketed, then there may be some difference in the application behavior and the way the organization handles the given scenario. If it is accepted as a deviation from the norm in the application then the requirement is noted as a GAP.
In some cases, a particular Business path/transaction may not have been handled by the application and these also are put under Gap. Identifying all such gaps in requirements and the application is called GAP Analysis.
- A business Analyst is a bridge between all the stakeholders.
- BA’s role is to propose efficient and effective solutions to meet business requirements.
- Communication, people management, domain & process understanding, eye for detailing, and collaboration are some of the key skills required to be a good Business Analyst.
- BA can be a planned career path or can be chosen as a mid-way career switch.
- Knowledge of IT will be an added strength to BA’s profile but not a mandate to start the career.
- The role of a BA is very much relevant in all forms of development like Waterfall, Agile, etc.
- In the current trend of digitalization and competition, BA with his analytical skills gives an organization a competitive edge by understanding the current Business, its future needs, and market trends.
- A skilled BA draws out the needs that are not yet known.
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