Thursday, March 22, 2007

Working with Users

One of the best things I love about my job as a BA is the opportunity it gives me to talk to the users. In most cases, its to gather/understand requirements or to document existing business processes in order to improve them within a proposed new system and other cases are things like User Acceptance coordination.

This just gives a ground level experience how businesses operate. Often we find out funny, interesting, incredible, sharp, intelligent, meaningless,, (List just goes) things people do to get things done. Every individual is unique, so whatever the systems offer them, most operational staff members create their own ways of doing things, and when it comes to upgrading the system, these little bits are the ones that create most trouble, but should be given highest attention as they are the ones that's going to generate highest user satisfaction. Sometimes, we notice little applications (done using Excel, VB), may be even just standalone ones, which serve a single purpose for just one user, and no one else is aware of it, and that user has a nice explanation why that is needed even though the main system does not provide it.

At times, I feel, BA job needs a bit of psychology awareness, because we predominantly work with people trying to extract information out of them. When it comes to large system implementations, it involves great amount of organizational change and by nature most people are reluctant to change, as they fear of being removed from their comfort zones, so its a matter of making them aware of the benefits of change and also inject feelings of securedness and better working life. Its really difficult to do a BA job without getting full support from users/business staff, so its always important to maintain a good relationship whilst keeping them enthusiastic about the work being done and going to happen through the system changes. So, all this mostly runs on soft skills rather than hard skills (Whether these should be called as Soft Skills or something else is a separate discussion and is debatable). Soft Skills ,I think that come into picture are talking, listening, interviewing, a bit of humour, documenting, emails, organizing, smart outlook using, working on time etc. Personally, I don't believe at all that I am very good at all of these, but am trying to improve myself. This long list I guess proves that it actually needs a bit of psychology.

(Pls note that neither lists mentioned are complete nor it covers all aspects of Business Analysis,,,,this is just a note on my blog as I feel about one aspect of it and it is not a comprehensive paper/article :D )

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