Seven Habits of a Successful BA

In the current working culture and a cut-throat competition everyone is putting hard to be a out-performer  There is a vast difference between the task performed by a professional rather than an amateur. This difference in quality of work comes with the experience and the process followed by an expert. As they say, “I don’t know the reason of success, but certainly failed becauseseven-habits of pleasing everyone”. A professional believes in his way of working and each time gets recognized among the peers and subordinates and also at the senior levels.

There is no hidden magic behind being a successful BA but because of the highly valued skills and competence level separates a successful rather star BA from the crowd. There are many qualities a BA should possess as his responsibility is quite distinguished and vary at different levels of the work performed and among different hierarchy levels. But I believe that these qualities to be a successful BA can be developed if s/he follows certain habits. I can think of 7 such habits which a successful BA should possess.

1)     Believe in eliciting rather gathering:

Requirement gathering is the foremost quality of any business analyst, but the important aspect is how smartly the work is done so that there is no ambiguity in the final version of the requirement details. Hence it is always recommended that a BA should think of certain different methods to collect the information from different stakeholders. The detail of requirement gathering is well explained in BABOK but I think eliciting the requirement is rather more important in this aspect. A successful BA always believes in eliciting the requirements using certain tactics like prototyping, brainstorming, interviewing etc. The elicitation always moors the BA from getting wrong information.

2)     Figure-it-out:

I remember the time when in my childhood, my parents usually ask me to try to figure out the issue by myself. It was the time when the brain was learning at quick pace and was easily adapting the new things. And developing such habit at that time was certainly fruitful as it helps in increasing the attraction towards the work I used to do at that time. I am sure most of us have faced the same time when our elders have asked us to figure out the issues and solve them by ourselves. The same applies to the BAs as well. This quality in BAs is known as root cause analysis and this habit of a BA is certainly helpful. It’s always better to enter into the roots of the issue rather than just hacking at the leaves.

3)     Good Listener:

It is said that a good listener is a good decision maker. A good listener is highly intellectual and has high valued skills and this habit of listening carefully and completely always marks a BA out of the crowd as a BA who has listened to the requirements carefully will put down the same more precisely. Eric Papp in his book “Leadership by Choice” has derived a new way of listening and he demonstrated it as “Listen like Leitha”. In this book he has written a story of Ms. Leitha and her way of listening to others. Later Eric has derived his own way and explained a new meaning of Leitha as:

a)     L – Liking, This implies to show your liking towards the speaker. Don’t discourage the speaker and try to understand his views on the topic

b)    E – eyes, empathy and encouragement, Try to show empathy towards the speaker by making eye contacts while listening and this encourages the speaker.

c)     I – In the moment, I am not focused, if you are involved in some-work don’t pretend that you are listening. Simply state that you are busy at the moment and get back in a while.

d)    T – time and take notes, putting down the notes is the easiest way to memorize the contents, thus take time and put down the maximum possible content in order to avoid the ambiguity.

e)     H – Head & Heart, Your head and heart should be focused at the time you are listening to the speaker. There should not be a circumstance that you are just showing your presence to the speaker but thinking of some other task at the same-time. It is never profitable and also sometimes frustrates the speaker as well.

f)     A – Another Time, if you are seriously busy with some urgent task don’t think twice before requesting for another time. This not only increases the trust of the speaker but also gives you the time to prepare for that session.

4)     Prioritize for productivity:

A good BA knows the priority of the tasks. The business owners always think that the work given by them is on priority but it’s the responsibility of a BA to prioritize and restructure the tasks so that the productivity can be increased. The main aim of a BA is to deliver the work on time without ambiguity and also without any re-work which can be achieved by prioritizing the work. There are 4 important aspects of prioritizing the work viz. Time, Plan, Focus and Delegate. A BA should develop a habit of planning the task well on time and then focus on its completion with proper and correct delegation of the same.

5)     Self- Discipline:  

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “True discipline gives enthusiastic obedience to instructions even though they do not satisfy the reason.”  A person in a discipline always operates by principle rather than desire and this sometime result in the delayed gratification but I believe a person who works in discipline always succeeds. You can take the example of ants working in a queue. They all know the work they have to perform and thus follow the instructed path with full discipline. The same principle applies to the BA as well. A BA who remains in self-discipline always completes major of the tasks well in time.

6)     Care like Leaders:

James Kouzes and Barry Posner in their book Encouraging the Heart cited “All things being equal, we will work harder and more effectively for people we like. And we like them in direct proportion to how they make us feel.Thus this is the ability of a leader to make people comfortable while working. A pretty emotional statement on leadership can be like “if you want your team to care about its work, you have to care about your team”. Leadership is not by chance it is by choice and this also implies to a successful BA. A BA should know how to manage the team as the responsibility of a BA is quite wide. Thus BA should develop a habit like of the leaders who know about the caring of their people, setting clear standards and pay attention on the people working. Henry Paul has also mentioned the same in his book, “Destination Work” in which he has mentioned clearly that performance can not only be monitored by just calculating the KPI figures. Eric Papp in his book about leadership derives the meaning of care as below:

a)     C – Climate (High trust and high comfortable)

b)    A- Accountability (increasing responsibility)

c)     R- Recognition (rewards and recognition)

d)    E- Empowerment (giving authority)

The same can also be developed by a BA which can help him in managing the team and in turn which yields high performance.

7)     Power of Focus:

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” – Buddha

The power of focus determines the reality and a BA can be successful if he develops the power of focus. Understanding the power of focus is of utmost importance and in simple words it can be said that if you can’t maintain your focus, you won’t achieve the goal unless it’s such an easy goal that it would have happened anyway. Focusing on the tasks, focusing on the people working with you and focusing on the goals determines the eligibility of a successful BA.

These are the 7 seven habits which a BA should develop in order to be a distinctive in his deeds and be an out-performer.

Happy Reading!!!!

One thought on “Seven Habits of a Successful BA”

  1. “All things being equal, we will work harder and more effectively for people we like. And we like them in direct proportion to how they make us feel.” Well said!

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