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I Perform Okay in My Job, Why Should I Work on Competencies?
When you're working, no matter if you're working for a Fortune 500 company or a small business, it is absolutely vital that you constantly work on developing your skills in core competency areas. Why? In short, because the other guy is definitely working on improving his competencies at business analysis. If you're not ensuring that you're working hard to improve your own skills and the skills of others, then you are missing out on a key part of your professional development. What are the competencies that you should develop, and how should you go about doing so?
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1. Requirements Analysis
If you cannot perform a requirements analysis in a manner that results in a successful elucidation of the requirements for a project, then this is a place where you will want to work hard to improve. Requirements analysis involves identifying the various components that a stakeholder will need in a product or service, and translating desires into individual and specific requirements for quality improvement efforts. By focusing upon how to perform a stakeholder analysis, learning communication and survey techniques, and organizing information into readable reports, you can greatly improve your skills in this important competency area.
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Do you know how to take a given scenario and produce a model of it? Modeled analysis, also known as structured analysis, helps business analysts to put a picture to their textual analysis. It is important to understand different kinds of business analysis models. You can present a visual component of any analysis to both team members and stakeholders, creating a more comprehensive picture for your audience. Models to be familiar with include flowcharts, diagrams dealing with causal analysis, and process diagramming.
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3. Documenting Materials
Every person in business could work on developing writing and documentation skills. Because the written word is still the primary means of communication within companies and between companies, it is vital that you work on developing your competencies in communication skills. During your tenure as a project manager and business analyst, you will write many documents and craft many project plans. It is vital to have exquisite communication skills and the ability to translate thoughts into well-articulated project plans. Not only is it important to be informed as to the structure of important documents, but it is also important to work on developing your writing skills in themselves. If you need to brush up on this skill, you may wish to enroll in a technical or business writing course at your local community college. It's an investment in your future.
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4. Delivering Outstanding Customer Service
Programs sometimes have bugs, don't make sense to users, or fail to meet customer needs. While it's rare that a business analyst will be providing customer service in terms of sales, it is not rare that a business analyst will need to get to the root cause of what the customer's problems involving the product are. Turning the client's words into requirements, issues statements, etc. in order to ensure that the customer's or client's needs are served - will give you an edge against competitors who lack in the people skills department. Some of this comes with practice, but you can also learn valuable skills by forming a mentor relationship with an individual in your department who demonstrates outstanding skills. in this department.
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5. IT Language and Ability to Interpret Tests
While not expected to understand how to write the program or even draw plans, you should be fluent in the language of the industry you are in. In order to analyze all the data involved you will need to be able to speak the lingo of whatever industry you're working in. You can always increase your competency in this, thus making you a more valuable member of any team. For that matter, knowledge of industry jargon and the way things work is also important in being able to interpret the results of tests.
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6. Quality Improvement Through Re-Engineering Processes
Finally, and perhaps the most important is the ability to manage quality improvement projects. While not all quality improvement efforts will need to go through such a drastic process as having a process being broken down and completely re-engineered, some will. Competent business analysts will be able to look at a problem occurring within a company and determine first whether it can be improved and second how those improvements can take place. This skill comes with experience and exposure to such efforts.
Through developing business analysis competencies, you can make yourself, and your project team more competitive in the job market and business arena.
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Core Consulting Group "Business Analysis Competency Framework" www.abaa.org.au/cms/tiki-download_file.php?fileId=66 (pdf)
Photo Courtesy of sxc.hu/Ulrik