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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Are you qualified to do business analysis?

In a recent discussion I was asked if there are a set of competencies, other than a certification, that could define a business analyst. Is there a list of characteristics that will indicate whether a person will make a good business analyst or not? Here is the paraphrase of my answer: For one thing, many of the competencies, such as ability to communicate in both written and verbal formats, do not have finite measurements. Some people communicate better than others and some communicate well in writing, but not verbally. All might be good business analysts, and all might not. I think a list of competencies (abilities, traits, talents, etc.) that a person typically needs to possess to be successful at business analysis would provide a good guideline for all those interested in performing as a business analyst. If a person is honest about their own competencies - where they are above average in performance and where their ability or knowledge is lacking - the person can seek improvement in that area. And that is a good thing. In the end, if you took the winner of the Nobel Prize in Business Analysis and sat them next to an average workaday business analyst, you might not be able to distinguish between them based on a competency list. In fact, the Business Analyst of the Year may not be able to pinpoint what he or she does differently than the average business analyst. The competencies, such as communication, inquisitiveness, empathy, analytical abilities such as critical thinking, visualization, curiosity, system thinking, networking, influence skills, negotiation and mediation skills, and so forth, have become so habitual and part of the prize-winning business analyst that he or she would not be able to describe them. The list of competencies should not be used to distinguish a person as a business analyst or to qualify a person's ability as a business analyst, but to provide a guideline for those in the profession and those who would join the profession as to what they have to work on, to hone, to improve, so that the competencies become inherent, habitual and automatic.

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