The BA Guide Blog
Bringing you the very best in educational, engaging, and insightful articles, and business analysis industry news. Here, we keep learning approachable and accessible while providing helpful, practical information to help you excel in your career.
It’s never been easier for organizations to cultivate an endless amount of data from a mass amount of sources. They could pull enough data to make their heads spin. But one key player stands at the intersection of raw data and strategic decision-making: the Business Analyst (BA).
Business moves fast and is ever-evolving. To excel in this very pivotal role, Business Analysts (BAs) need to be well-versed in analysis techniques that can help us draw out information and produce insights that uncover needs, opportunities, weaknesses, and issues. Read on to learn about some important techniques BAs need to master.
In today’s data-rich landscape, businesses are constantly inundated with an overwhelming amount of information. But extracting valuable insights from this data is vital for making informed decisions that can drive growth and success. In this article, we’ll explore how Business Analysts use data to empower organizations across various domains.
Business Analysts and Data Analysts are professionals who use their expertise to help an organization make informed decisions in various fields, including finance, marketing, operations, and more. While both positions require an understanding of data analysis techniques and of business analysis, what exactly do Business Analysts and Data Analysts do? And how are they different? In this article, I’l break down the difference between the two roles!
Business Analysts and Data Analysts are both valuable to a business, but it’s important to understand how these roles differ. To begin with, BAs contribute to an organization by facilitating change that
The COVID-19 pandemic created deep ripple effects that were far-reaching in virtually every industry. Not only were supply chains affected, but employees at companies all over the world re-evaluated their careers and how they spend the majority of their time.
This led to what we now refer to as ‘the Great Resignation’, with professionals everywhere leaving their current jobs in droves. Ever since this professional exodus - which kicked off in the spring of 2021 - an increase in demand for Business Analysts was created. Professionals across the United States are taking this opportunity to be more selective about
While it is easy to assume that our role as Business Analysts is entirely driven by process - and, let me be clear, processes are a large component of our jobs - there is a large degree of creativity and innovation involved in what we do. We bring organizations new and fresh ideas for processes and products, solutions to problems that they’re experiencing, and creative ways that they can optimize their business.
I was reminded of this after reading an article based on an interview between Koryn Anderson (of the International Insitute of Business Analysis
Throughout the past decade, there have been major social, environmental, and technological shifts that have occurred and influenced organizations to make changes to their products, structure, processes, and teams - either voluntarily or through necessity.
Change in business - as in life - is constant. Whether evolution is occurring as a result of an internal initiative or goal, or as a result of external risks or threats in the supply chain or from the competition. Companies are re-evaluating the way that they run their operations in just about every aspect. To drive significant change in any area, they’re recruiting
When Business Analysts undertake a project, one of the most essential components for success is understanding the needs of the end user and their purpose for those requirements. To aid in this, BA’s compile and analyze User Stories that provide small but powerful input from end users and customers.
User Stories are extremely valuable tools for organizing information and requirements directly from those who will be using the software, processes, or the end result product that you’ll be delivering. In this article, we’ll take a look at the essentials of User Stories and the benefits they generate for project
What would the Business Analyst role be without a commitment to constant improvement and evolution? A little hypocritical, probably. This ability to embrace change and work nimbly are assets for any BA, which makes the Agile methodology a crucial framework for all of us.
In this article, we’ll examine the importance of the agile methodology for Business Analysts, why it’s beneficial (for each party) if we work in an Agile framework, and how to become certified as an Agile BA.
If you’re brand new to Agile, please don’t be intimidated. I break it all down in my <a href="https://courses.thebaguide.com/p/agile-fundamentals-scrum-kanban-scrumban/?product_id=1050339&coupon_code=UPSKILL2DAY1X4O"
On the most successful teams in any field, the individuals who constitute high achieving teams will often share common skills, but with a key difference among them: focus. Where their focus lies is what helps them specialize and excel in their role, and drives success for their team.
Take sports teams, for example. In a hockey team, all must be exceptional skaters, have excellent puck handling skills, and be able to pass the puck accurately. But some specialize in goalkeeping, some in defense, others in offense. For the team to succeed, it needs its individual components to be laser
When it comes to embarking on a new journey, it helps to have a little guidance to shine a light on the path ahead, to help with clarifying confusing concepts and jargon, and give you a little confidence when you’re questioning yourself.
In case you’re new here - and to the Business Analyst role, in general - I’m Jeremy Aschenbrenner, also known as The BA Guide, and I’m so glad you’re here! The inspiration behind why I created The BA Guide was to help aspiring BA’s start their career off on the right foot and to help ambitious BA’s
Some people will observe Business Analysts from an outsider perspective and assume that we’re pretty much just glorified note-takers. But not everyone experiences all of the complex, intricate exercises and initiatives occurring in the background.
Being a Business Analyst is, at its core, about creating value for organizations. It’s about facing challenges, head on, with logic and learned techniques to help you figure out the root cause of problems at the business and create solutions that help the business and its employees thrive.
With the role and responsibilities of a Business Analyst (BA) being broad and diverse across organizations, we must possess and employ a wide range of skills. One of the core skills is communication. Communication is critical for BAs to be successful in our role as facilitators, problem solvers, and value creators.
A Business Analyst flexes their written and verbal communication skills when they…
A requirement is a function that a product, process, or system must do or a quality it must possess. Requirements are a crucial component of the solution that a Business Analyst proposes. They are one of the components that drive the BA to create the solutions that they bring to the table.
Typically, the SMART framework applies to goals. But it has been borrowed and re-adjusted to apply to requirements, making them Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable, and Traceable.
“To acquire knowledge, one must study. To acquire wisdom, one must observe.”
-Marilyn vos Savant
One of the most powerful techniques to employ for problem identification is Observation. This method is used to elicit information by viewing and understanding someone or a group of people in their environment. This enables you to watch how people accomplish their work, the steps they follow as they move through processes, and the manual entries they make. You’re also able to observe and compare the process they’re following versus the ‘standard or best practice process’ or how others in their role are
Many organizations think that the most important thing to do when faced with a problem is to solve it as quickly as possible – but they couldn’t be more wrong.
Abraham Lincoln famously once said, “give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
That advice can apply to solving business problems too.
One of the most important steps in the problem-solving and decision-making process is to identify and define the business problem first.
Professional certification has found its way into almost every industry - and for good reason! They’re often used to verify the competency and legitimacy of professionals and the skills and knowledge they possess. Often preceded by exams, documents are awarded to show and prove comprehension and understanding of that set of standards or that skill being learned and challenged.
Whether you’re an aspiring Business Analyst who wants to switch careers, a new graduate looking to bolster their resume and knowledge, or a seasoned professional who wants to take your career to the next level or refresh your knowledge and
Surveys are a technique that can help identify potential problems or pain points within business processes and operations. With a well-defined objective and solid planning, a Business Analyst can administer a survey that elicits a lot of thoughts and ideas from respondents, provides them with useful insights, and helps pinpoint them to the heart of existing issues.
But how do you know which type of survey method to go with, and what are some of the fundamentals for survey success? We’ll break this all down together.
In the past, we’ve discussed the value that the Observation technique brings to projects, the pros and cons of leveraging it as an elicitation method while you’re identifying the root cause of a problem, and trying to understand how to properly address the problem with an effective solution.
The Observation technique allows a Business Analyst to gather information by observing employees complete a task or process. This offers insights into the steps that are taken, the tools that are used, and the value or reasoning behind why the tasks or processes are performed. It also
When a company employs a Business Analyst, it’s done with the intention to have that individual investigate or examine problems that are occurring within its organization or to reach a goal. The company may have identified that there is a high amount of waste within its production line, processes are not being executed efficiently, or they simply want to increase their profit margin with their existing products or services. Whatever it may be, it’s up to the BA to sort through and figure it out.
As Business Analysts, we have a number of tools and techniques to help us
For anyone that works, or plans to work in business analysis, learning about the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) is imperative. They are a major player in defining the standards, scope, and responsibilities that surround the Business Analyst role. They help organizations and Business Analysts understand best practices that successfully facilitate business change.
Here are four things that you should know about the IIBA.
These days, corporations are under exceedingly greater pressure to refine their processes, increase productivity and efficiency in their operations, and maximize the return on any investment they make - and quickly!
With all of these expectations mounting, it comes as no surprise that when a company enlists the help of a Business Analyst to assist their team and take the lead on these somewhat daunting initiatives, they’re usually on the lookout for a candidate who comes with a rich, diverse background and a unique skill set that can be leveraged to satisfy a range of needs.
If you’ve been doing your research, you’ll know that being a Business Analyst is a pretty enticing career. As the demand and realization of value of the role continues to grow, an increasing number of professionals are flocking to it, leading to increased competition.
One of the best ways an aspiring Business Analyst can improve their candidacy for potential positions is by getting a professional business analysis certification. Since there is no formal education or career pathway to the job, achieving a respectied and credible certification can really help in bolstering your skills and highlighting your knowledge
Change is inevitable. And when it comes to technical improvements in software that helps businesses with their everyday operations, there are changes happening all the time. Software created these days is sleeker, faster, more user-friendly, and more efficient than ever before.
When the time comes for a company to update its outdated software or systems, it’s extremely valuable to have a Business Analyst engaged. The BA will ensure that the new software that’s replacing the old system meets all of the current and future needs of the business and is a smart investment for the company.
In this article,