The Perfect Business Analyst

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

You won’t be surprised to hear that I often get asked for advice on various elements of project management. The question is usually along the lines of, “What course should I take next?” or “Do I need this certification?” or “How do I get a job as a ?”

The specifics vary, but more often than not, they are career-related questions. That makes them very difficult to answer because I don’t know enough about the individual circumstances the person asking the question is in.

So, for this month’s theme of business analysis, I’m not going to try and offer generic career advice—but I do want to offer some thoughts on BA skills, experience and capabilities. What follows is therefore simply the kind of thing I look for when seeking a business analyst on an initiative I am going to be running.

The basics
You might expect me to begin with something like communication skills because those are so fundamental to what a business analyst does, but I’m not going to do that. Unless you have strong communication abilities in both verbal and written formats, you can’t be a business analyst at all—that’s the price of entry.

The same goes for professionalism, the ability to use tools, the right personality mix to fit in with the team, etc. So, we’ll assume that every BA has those required …

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- Winston Churchill