It is often said by many great personalities that the leadership exists everywhere: from a kid to a office clerk to a CEO and from personal life to school to community or office work. Everyone displays leadership in their own capacity everyday. Though not essential, it is important for everyone to look back now and then to understand what skills do they possess to a great extent and what skills need improvement. This creates awareness in oneself and drives improvement in the personal and professional well-being, as leadership is, by its own virtue, a way of life.
Being a Business Analyst for five years now, I attempt to identify and point out some of the leadership attributes that Business Analysts display at their work. Here are the ones I figured as inherent qualities of a Business Analyst.
- Empowerment: Empowerment can be regarded as the biggest asset of Business Analysts everywhere. By job definition, they pass information across all the streams in the organisation. They empower product development teams with the requirements and detail them to the extent that enables the progress of technical implementation. They empower interacting application teams with the objectives of the program, product and the interaction itself. Once the development cycle is completed, they conduct demonstrations, record playbacks, author user and administration manuals, and coordinate access setup to endue clients with the necessary knowledge of the product usage.
- Focus: Though the product vision is pushed down through a silo from top to bottom in an organisation, Business Analysts bear it on their shoulders to accomplish it. They distinguish between the mere wants and true needs of the clients by staying focused on the product vision. They make sure to not entertain anything that doesn’t contribute towards the goal and eats up valuable efforts of the product development team and other stakeholders. In the same manner, they don’t agree upon mediocre solutions when they don’t serve the intended purpose of the requirement.
- Problem Solving: BAs are usually neither business nor technical experts. But they know both at least to an intermediate level. That conjunction of business and technology happening in the Business Analyst’s playground fuels problem solving from a new perspective resulting in innovation. Most often than not, the solutions proposed by BAs are the most appropriate ones to effectively fulfill the needs of the business.
- Gear shifting: BAs move from meetings to meetings on par with excom members. They shift from one problem to another problem, one stakeholder to another with ease. The stakeholders they are involved with come from diverse backgrounds with different intellectual levels, cultural beliefs, linguistic preferences and sometimes, attitudes. It takes a great deal of open-mindedness, optimism and patience to get connected with each one of them and to build and maintain healthy relation ships.
- Negotiation and Persuasion: As much as it is important to note that BAs maintain healthy relationships, it is equally important to know that they negotiate with and persuade the stakeholders (sometimes ruthlessly) for the greater good of the organisation. Requirement gathering sessions sometimes turn into battle of nerves and war of words. It comes upon the BA to interrogate involving parties and resolve conflicts in a smooth manner.
- Communication: Everyone knows how important communication is. The customer expectations, ex-com goals, product vision, road map, solutions, status updates, issues, risks and everything else goes through a Business Analyst. He/she keeps the entire product community updated with constant and succinct communication
This is not the end of the list. There are several other leadership qualities such as positive influence, listening and collaboration that can exist in a Business Analyst. If you are a Business Analyst (or not), take a quick check on what qualities you possess and do let me know by commenting below.