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The top 5 business analysis skills


mary lincolnI usually coach junior business analysts with 10 golden rules, but really it boils down to the following 5....

1. Ask 'why?' 5 times without sounding like a 4 year old.

Lean Six Sigma teaches us the 5 whys. Never accept the first answer to a question if it doesn't make sense when you're trying to get to the root cause of a problem. Be prepared to ask a stupid question.

2. Understand the importance of being able to 'hear' what you are being told, never just listen....

Hear what's really going on and try to understand how much it will impact what you are trying to solve.

3. Own the 'post it' not the problem.

Good professional facilitation is the key to successfully engaging with a workshop audience, don't interfere with the problem or take sides. It's good to care, but better to get to a resolution than to have to reschedule.

4. Always find an alternative.

Never take a potential solution as a given. There are always other ways. They just need to be understood, included or eliminated. But let the business decide. See number 3.

5. Don't be held back.

Once you have defined the problems you can get 'solutionising'. Honesty, empowerment, enthusiasm, creativity and vision often help break through the the 'we've always done it like this' barrier. Shoot for the stars when creating a new view, and work backwards to what's achievable. The sky is the limit. (and the budget.... obviously)

I welcome feedback.

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