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.

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,

There’s nothing quite like traveling to another part of the world and immersing yourself in a culture that is so unique, so very different from our own, that it leaves you in awe. Stepping into an environment so drastically different than the one you’re used to can awaken you to so many wonderful new experiences - culinary adventures, jaw-dropping sights, captivating aromas, exciting events, and great people! But you may also find yourself surrounded by unfamiliar languages, customs and traditions, and practices. (yes, this is relatable to our profession - stick with me here!)

I’ve heard from other Business

With the variety of challenges that Business Analysts face throughout the span of their career, one of the most valuable skills that one must possess is the ability to solve problems in a logical and analytical way. This crucial skill can be extremely difficult to judge on paper, though, so it is very common for Business Analysts interviewing for a new role to be tested with some behavioral interview questions.

While this type of questioning may seem daunting at first, understanding its purpose and a little more about how to approach behavioral interview questions can help take the edge

When it comes to projects that require straightforward input from either small or large cohorts of people, surveys and questionnaires are tough methods to beat. They’re a super efficient way to gather and analyze quantitative and qualitative data, are relatively easy to administer, easily facilitate data analysis, and can be extremely cost-efficient.

There are a few tried and true techniques you should employ as you start to plan and build your survey. As with any information gathering method, surveys also come with challenges. But if you’re aware of them, you can confidently approach your survey knowing you’re doing your

There are a few values necessary to exercise when building or running a successful, thriving business. One of those is actively implementing constant improvement. To do this, businesses will often examine their processes and look for ways to make them more effective and efficient. While doing so, Business Analysts employ a number of tools and techniques, including the use of flowcharts. If you're not already familiar with flowcharts, they are essentially diagrams that visualize a process, system, or operation.

One of the most common types of flowcharts is the process flowchart.

A process flowchart is a graphical representation of

If you’ve recently begun job-hunting, you may have already encountered the competitive streak that exists within the corporate world. To secure a Business Analyst role of your dreams, you will have to work extra hard, commiting to creating a top-notch CV and passing the job interview with flying colors.

However, interviews have become a little more in-depth and complicated these days than they have been in the past. Currently, business analyst firms have introduced new and challenging questions into interviews in order to get a sense of the prospective candidates' skillset. These are known as behavioral questions.

Behavioral questions

Among all elicitation techniques, interviews are arguably the most famous and frequently used by Business Analysts. This is a common and simple technique where BAs directly communicate with stakeholders and ask them different questions to obtain valuable information to make informed decisions.

When conducting an interview, one of the major goals a BA has is to understand the context of the interview. It’s not just merely about gathering requirements but making sure they fully understand the responses of their stakeholders. Having said that, it’s important to know the correct way to plan and conduct interviews so that you can

Whether you’re just starting out or have been a Business Analyst for decades, you’ve probably heard of the 80-20 rule or the Pareto Principle. It’s a jack-of-all-trades principle that can work in almost every business situation - and even in personal scenarios. Thousands of people around the world advocate for the effectiveness of this principle.

However, before getting into how you can use the Pareto Principle, it’s essential to understand what it is and why this basic principle is so important. Here’s everything that you need to know about the Pareto Principle.

There are many ways to illustrate the processes that we use in the companies we work for, in the projects we’re completing, and in our everyday operations. But one highly effective method is through process modeling and analysis. As a Business Analyst, you may have heard of these terms, but if you're not aware of their dynamics and their utility in the business world, you're putting yourself at a disadvantage. Not to worry though, I’m here to help with that!

In this article, we’ll introduce and explore both process modeling and process analysis separately, and how they work together.

Case studies are, arguably, one of the most essential components of any marketing or communications strategy. They may take time and effort, but the payoffs are well worth their effort and have been seen time and again, from organizations both big and small.

As Business Analysts, we’re often involved in creating or contributing to case studies, so it is important we understand what they are, the purpose they serve, and the benefits that they can bring.

When making a large investment in our lives, we very often evaluate our current situation, explore options, and weigh the value or benefits that the investment will bring. When purchasing a new home or a car for example, we will often do so because our current home or car is too small/big or possibly too old. We weigh factors like the cost of maintenance, commute to work/friends/family, etc. When considering a new one, we look at the features and the pros and cons it will bring with it. Finally, upon purchase, many of us will look at the outcome

In our previous article, we looked at ways that Business Analysts generate value for organizations. Whether approaching scenarios as a problem solver or strategist (or both!), BAs can help action-based companies improve efficiency, optimize procedures, and streamline processes so they can meet their goals.

For most of us, when we’re faced with a problem, our first instinct is to apply a solution as quickly as possible. And for some issues, that may work just fine. But in the business world, to find real and sustainable solutions to problems, you’re very likely going to need to dig a little deeper

As I always say, a Business Analyst is a change agent. Ultimately, they help their organization in making change. And while innovation was essential to organizations prior to 2020, it’s safe to say that the past few years have been a time of rapid change.

Having been thrown into a pandemic that shook whole businesses, economies, and the lives of literally everyone on Earth, companies were forced to adapt and innovate, to come up with solutions quickly.

The responsibilities and skillsets of a Business Analyst across organizations vary greatly. In the past, the BA role was often seen as optional, but now Business Analysts are viewed as integral team members in an organization, flexible and highly valued for their impressive ability to utilize a wide range of skills and solve business problems. But with all of this variance, and the fact that many organizations use the same titles to describe roles with drastically different responsibilities, what a BA is or does isn’t always clear.

Learning new skills can be extremely difficult for many of us. We never feel like we have the time. How after we eat, sleep, work, run errands, take the kids to their many functions are we supposed to find time for learning?

I had this same dilemma. I was working in an unsatisfying Sales Manager job. Sales was never my dream nor my passion. I was doing it because it paid good money and I needed to support my family.

I felt very stuck. I didn’t like where I was at but seemingly didn’t have the ability to get

Today is an exciting day for young Jeremy. Mom is going to walk him through how to bake cookies. She often makes these delectable, delicious treats, and Jeremy looks forward to when he can enjoy their sugary goodness. It doesn’t matter what kind she makes; chocolate chip, oatmeal, or peanut butter, they are always amazing. And now Jeremy is going to help make them.

For many students graduating from college and professionals looking for their long-term career, the Business Analyst path ibe very inviting.

Many are drawn to the career because of what I like to call the Perfect Career Trifecta; financial stability, professional growth, and personal rewards. 

The biggest challenge to starting your career a Business Analyst isn't actually the learning or landing your first job, but instead it is knowing where to start.

Struggle no longer. Come follow the path to become a Business Analyst!

As I was growing up, I quickly realized something about myself... I am not naturally organized.  

In high school, while other students had their organization systems of folders, notebooks, and a planner, I was the person with a pile of papers at the bottom of my backpack, always trying to find that piece of homework I completed the night before.

Unfortunately, throughout high school and even college, I never did develop a good system that worked for me.  Sure I would attempt to stay organized and put some grand scheme in place, but I would always

In my previous blog post, Visual Models Will Make You A More Successful Business Analyst, we explored the idea that visual models can help on your projects to remove complexity, reduce misconceptions, and identify gaps in requirements.

Here we will expand on that idea and touch on the top 3 visual models utilized by Business Analysts.  So in no particular order, let's get started!

Looking back over the past few months, I was churning away, spending hours working on tasks related to The BA Guide and everything seemed to be okay.  While I wasn't making much progress on my to do items, like creating new content, I was busy answering student questions, updating and reformatting old lectures, sending informational emails, writing blog posts, adjusting the website, and the like.  

In the middle of the month I remembered some advice I had received years ago, "When things are busy, but limited tangible progress is being made towards your end goal, you should take a step back and assess

Over the past few years, there has been a growing trend within the business world that affects the Business Analysis community.  Quite simply, companies are attempting to reduce some overhead costs and reduce resource constraints by asking their Business Analysts to do more.  In the past, the majority of companies had the traditional Business Analysts responsible for business need identification, process refinement, requirement elicitation, documentation, and problem solving.  But now, Business Analysts are being asked to have a wider skill set in order to also perform functions of Project Management and Software Testing.  Since many Business Analysts don't

That queasy feeling in your stomach.  The sheer magnitude of the challenge ahead.  The uncertainty of where to start.  Those first days after taking on or being assigned to a large, complex project are daunting.

To some, there is a mountain of stress and worry.  To me, I get extremely excited and enthused!  For I have learned, these large projects, while stressful at times, provide the greatest opportunity to grow your skills and craft as a Business Analyst.  These are the projects that will help define your career and will be the building blocks to get you to the next

As many parents can attest, getting asked "why?" over and over can be extremely frustrating and annoying.  

Child: "What are you doing?"
Parent: "Putting on my shoes."
Child: "Why?", "Why?", "Why?", ...

Personally, I love this stage of children growing up.  It shows me they are curious and wanting to learn.  Inside of that little head of theirs, they are coming to grips with the actions we are taking and reason for those actions.  Instead of being annoyed, we need to learn from these children, as they are utilizing a technique that can make our projects more successful.

A question every current Business Analyst has asked themselves at some point, "Should I get certified?"  The logical next step is to do a search for Business Analyst certifications.  With the results generating a never ending list of certification acronyms, PMI-BA, CCBA, BCS, CSBA, CBAP, etc., the search creates more questions than it answers.

A question every aspiring Business Analyst has asked themselves at some point, "Should I get certified?"  The logical next step is to do a search for Business Analyst certifications.  With the results generating a never ending list of certification acronyms, PMI-BA, CCBA, BCS, CSBA, CBAP, etc., the search creates more questions than it answers.

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