5 Mistakes Bas

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make Successful Business Analysts:
How They Avoid the Five Most Common BA Mistakes
Dana Brownlee, PMP
Professionalism Matters, Inc.

1-800-843-8733
www.learningtree.ca

©2008 Learning Tree International. All Rights Reserved.

LEARNING TREE INTERNATIONAL

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CONTENTS
Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Introduction

Mistake #1 – Not Clarifying the Role
of the Business Analyst. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Over the past several years, the job title of Business
Analyst has become more and more prevalent. Currently,
the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA)
defines business analysis as “the set of tasks, knowledge, and techniques required to identify business needs and
determine solutions to business problems. Solutions often
include a systems development component, but may also
consist of process improvement or organizational change.”1 T hus, business analysts are often the liaisons between
business and solution development (oftentimes IT), canvassing the enterprise to understand business needs, issues and opportunities in order to recommend solutions that
address those needs most effectively and efficiently.

Avoiding Mistake #1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Mistake #2 – Rushing Through Detailed
Requirements Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Avoiding Mistake #2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Mistake #3 – Failing to Balance Task
and Relationships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Avoiding Mistake #3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Mistake #4 – Confusing Users’ Stated
Needs with Real Needs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Avoiding Mistake #4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Mistake #5 –
Not Quantifying Benefits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Avoiding Mistake #5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 About Learning Tree International . . . . . . . . 5
About the Author . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

In this intermediary role, the business analyst must be able to communicate and relate equally effectively with senior
management and users, business and IT communities and
various functional areas throughout the organization while
recognizing that each group has different priorities and
issues. As a result, the business analyst’s job is not an easy one. However, those who have been most successful in this
role have learned to avoid the following five particularly
common and dangerous pitfalls.

Mistake #1 – Not Clarifying the Role
of the Business Analyst
Most of us are conditioned to think that we’re supposed to “know our job.” As a result, when business analysts (BAs) are given a new project, they often rush to begin working
on “it”. That sounds logical enough, but it’s amazing how often clients are disappointed, BAs are reprimanded or
efforts fail because “it” was never clearly defined from the beginning. More specifically, it’s absolutely essential that the BA define the scope of their role. Although the general
title “Business Analyst” has been used for decades, it has only recently been established as a well-defined and widely
recognized discipline, hence, the emergence of the IIBA.
Even so, the role of the BA can still vary drastically from
company to company, manager to manager and project to
project. For these reasons, the BA needs to clarify boundaries by distinguishing their responsibilities from that of the project manager, product manager, systems analyst
and others who might play a leadership role in the effort.
Indeed, many BAs—having been too tentative or apprehensive to clarify their role prior to task initiation—have ultimately paid the price with dissatisfied clients, frustrated teams and poor results.

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©2008 Learning Tree International. All Rights Reserved....
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