An In Depth Look at the Role of the Business Analyst

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We all know that business analysts are problem solvers; highly skilled individuals who identify a problem, address the problem, and ensure ongoing business continuity. But how exactly do they do it? The job of the business analyst is a tricky one, as this is a role that spans all areas of the workplace, and all departments. Therefore, business analysts need to bridge the gap between what’s actually happening from a production side, and what needs to happen from a corporate side. So… what’s their secret?

Traceability in Problem Solving

It all comes down to the concept of connectedness. When a problem arises in business, it’s very simple to focus entirely on the problem itself when searching for a suitable solution. For example, if a customer finds a flaw in their product, the solution is to patch it. It’s simple. But a business analyst goes further.

As business analysts operate at both a production and corporate level, it is necessary for them to look at the bigger picture. They cannot simply view the problem and find a solution; they need to connect this problem to other aspects of the business to find a solution that will minimise the risk of repeats. Business analysts value the idea of traceability; that every problem has a root cause, and that every problem can be traced back to a deeper, underlying issue within operational processes.

While each business analyst will have their own preferred way of working, there is one very effective technique for connecting the dots and creating a connection between the problem and root cause: The Five Whys.

The Five Whys

‘But why?’. These are two words that many parents of small children dread, but they’re actually an essential part of the business analyst role. The idea of the ‘Five Whys’ technique is to ask ‘why did this happen?’ five separate times for each business problem that arises. Let’s take a look at an example…

  • The customer finds a flaw in their product:

  • The developer added incorrect code:

  • The project manager failed to tell the developer about client changes:

  • Regular project meetings had not taken place:

  • The project manager was too busy:

The ultimate answer; there is a significant shortage of skills.

As we can see, if the code was simply changed to meet client requirements, the underlying issue of skills shortages in the workplace would not have been addressed, and the problem is likely to have occurred with future product releases. Instead, the business analyst traced the problem back to HR, providing an opportunity for the business to prioritise recruitment and implement improved delegation processes.

Business Analyst Opportunities

The role of the business analyst is certainly complex, and requires the necessary skill not only to view the business as a whole, but also to communicate at both production and corporate levels, be confident in implementing change, and identify solutions that match the business environment, culture, and budget.

However, while it’s a challenging role, it’s one that is worth focusing on right now. Business analysts are expected to become highly sought after as businesses continue to introduce new technologies and undergo adjustment periods. You’ll find new opportunities listed regularly here at ContractRecruit.

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