Useful skills of analysts. How to become a professional

  • Tutorial
A conference of business and system analysts in software development was held in St. Petersburg last year. There was a rather interesting report by Minsk residents Maria and Sergey Bondarenko, entitled “Useful skills of analysts. How to become a professional . " Below we publish an article based on the report.

A video report is also available:

and presentation:

My topic is the useful skills of analysts and is aimed at showing you professional development opportunities in the field of business analysis.

Briefly about yourself

Maria Bondarenko, director of the Belarusian-German-Russian company GP software for the development of software in the field of tourism;
Sergey Bondarenko has been working in IT for more than 10 years , works at Itransition (almost 1000 people), is engaged in management tasks (including in analytic units).

Purpose of the report

What I want to show and tell in the report:
For beginners (analytics experience less than a year ) - give a general understanding about the industry, what skills may be needed and what are the development horizons
For experienced analysts: discover unknown horizons that you could not see in the context of your tasks, and also show the power and breadth of the field of business analysis

Where do analysts come from?

To the question “Which of the analysts received professional education” - only a few of those present at the conference answered positively.
Much more has come from testing and development. Some came even from a linguistic university.
In general, the field of business analysis is now quite young.
And not many receive professional education in this field. But just as it turns out, it becomes: there is such a vacancy, you decide "why not try?" and here your career business analytics begins.

How do analysts evolve?

What happens next? Then you start to work, perform some tasks and step up the career ladder inside the company. But your range of tasks is usually limited only to those projects that this company performs. Accordingly, if you come to one company and ask: “There are business analytics here, and what are you doing? What is business analysis? ” Or come to another company and ask “What is a business analysis”, you can get 2 completely different answers.
In order to somehow improve this situation, you are trying to read books, read information on the Internet and somehow gain this experience, but, nevertheless, again, this all happens quite randomly. Accordingly, such a hodgepodge occurs in your head, you brew in your own juice and there is a lack of full understanding of the context of business analysis.

What can this lead to?

I repeatedly saw at interviews when specialists came to get a job (and our company has a common position in which the project manager and analyst are combined) and the guys said: “In general, I know everything in business analysis, now I want to try myself in areas of management. " In general, they come to the conclusion that, seeing only some sub-area of ​​business analysis, they conclude that this is all that can be. The second possible reaction is that you don’t know where to go next, you feel sad, you are not effective enough on your projects and, perhaps, you don’t even know that there are any means to increase this efficiency in order to increase the understanding context. this area.
Next we will move on to this.

Maybe better?

I would like to show you the possible roles of a business analyst in projects, possible areas of activity and necessary skills, personal characteristics and tools that may be useful to you. Below I will be the thesis for what may be necessary, because for each of them you can arrange a separate report or a separate training session, so I recommend that you further immerse yourself in those areas that you find interesting for yourself.

Who is an analyst?

In the process of preparing the report, it turned out to identify several areas in which business analysts work:
• Requirements Management
• Research & Analysis
• Processes Engineering
• Modeling & Design
• Delivery
• Consulting

Requirements management

The most obvious is requirements management . This is a person who collects requirements, who analyzes them, manages changes and who makes sure that all project participants are aware of current requirements, that they are correctly communicated to the development team and that the result of the work matches the wishes that the client initially had . But that's not all.

Research and data analysis

There are about 6 areas that analysts are doing. The next area is data research and analysis : a common task for working with data. Analyze which systems are already on the market with similar functionality, find these systems, compare them, provide information which one is better suited to the current tasks of the project. The second slice of this role of the analyst is the analysis of the system and the development of certain conclusions. Those. general analytical tasks.

Process modeling

The next possible role of an analyst on projects is the area of process modeling . Not always, business analysts who work in IT and are directly involved in the development and management of requirements and system design know that, in general, the primary sources of their tasks lie in the field of business processes, in the field of client business. The client somehow now performs certain operations and does not need software now. But in the process of analyzing your current situation, you can conclude that the processes are not optimal, that they need to be reorganized and, accordingly, there is a task to develop software. So, actually, who will help the client look at his business processes, describe and transform them into a more optimal state? This is also a business analytics task.

IP Design

The next area of ​​business analytics is the design of information systems . Moreover, the design is different. And depending on the skills of analysts, you can dig deeper into this area or less. For example, the simplest level of system design is to sketch out mockups or prototypes of screens and then pass it on to usability specialists or designers so that they work out in more detail. On the other hand, if you are more proficient in these skills, such as usability, for ease of use, you can combine the role of usability specialist. Those. in principle, this may be part of the work of a business analyst.

Software Deployment

The next possible area of ​​activity for analysts is the implementation of software , in particular, when a product is already developed, this product must be implemented, it must be customized at the client (if it comes to large systems). This is an area of ​​activity that requires special skills.


And consulting . The deeper you work in the industry, the better and higher practical skills, the more complex tasks you can entrust and the more you can act as an expert in the eyes of the client, and not just a conductor of his requirements to the developers. Moreover, consulting may not even be directly related to the implementation of the project. Just consulting the client on technological issues, on business issues. This is also the area of ​​business analytics.

Hard & Soft Skills

In connection with this range of possible tasks, certain skills are highlighted that allow you to perform them more professionally. The classic division of skills is hard and soft. Hard skills are knowledge of tools, technologies, techniques or notations, or what you can learn. Soft skills are personal and interpersonal characteristics that are given to him from birth, but they also develop and they can also be trained and they have development methods.
Within the framework of these skills and a section of the possible roles of the analyst on the projects, the following dependencies can be identified (see table).

1. Hard skills

For convenience, we divided all the skills from the hard skills group into 7 groups: basic competencies, theory and analysis techniques, business fundamentals, knowledge of IP development, documentation, additional competencies, foreign languages. At the intersections of roles and competencies, it is indicated for what tasks the analyst needs certain skills.
In foreign languages: question marks are because, in principle, there can be a smart analyst, work in the local market and he will only need the Russian language to carry out his work. But given that the field of business analysis is quite young and there are not many literature, forums and communities in Russian where you can find out information, of course, knowledge of foreign languages ​​will allow you to develop better and gain more professional knowledge than you know only 1 language .
As for soft skills, they were divided into several groups and criteria were defined for which roles these or other soft skills are most important.
Below we will tell you more about all of these hard and soft skills.

We describe hard-skills that involve purely technical skills. They are the easiest to train and quite important, because underlie the effective work of the analyst.

1.1 Basic competencies

What is included in the core competencies?
This is a series of things that you must learn before you even step into the field of business analysis. They will allow your thoughts to clothe in a certain form. These are quite simple things, but the main ones that no one will teach you separately. It is understood that you should have it.

a. Business ethics

First, general business ethics, telephone communication skills, written correspondence skills. Namely, tasks such as: how to write a letter (start with a greeting, put a concluding phrase at the end that prompts the client to act, and a signature), how to communicate with the client by phone. This, of course, should be known to you in advance. Why am I talking about this? I personally saw situations where analysts came to the project and the letters looked like this: “Can you send us the latest project documentation?” Neither "hello" nor "goodbye." It is simply not beautiful. This is a basic skill that you should have and that you don’t even need to talk about.

b. Internet skills

The next skill is the ability to work on the Internet, work with instant messengers (Skype, for example, is very popular at present). Due to them, you shorten the distance and the client can contact you online. In Skype, you can form group discussions, connect the entire team to communication with the client, and then project issues are resolved faster. You should also know what a screen demonstration is, how to transfer files, etc.

c. Collaboration

The next block is the ability to work together. Knowledge of tools like Google Drive will help you.
Goggle Drive is an affordable, free tool through which it is possible to exchange documents with a client and development team. If your company does not have a collaboration tool installed, this is the easiest choice to give clients access to documents. And more importantly, you can work together on the same document at the same time. We use this technique - we open together with the client a document with the requirements and discuss what and in what order should be implemented. You change the priorities in your document and after a couple of seconds the client sees this on his screen.

d. Online Conferences

In the same group are tools for online conferences. It is very useful when the analyst does not just send documents to the client, but demonstrates, in particular, intermediate versions of the system’s performance, shows prototypes. To do this, you need a certain platform. Of course, there is an option that you come to the client if he is in the same country and city. But often we work with western customers or remote teams. Among these online conferencing tools are GoTo Meeting and GoTo Webinar (this is from the same series), WebEx and others. Moreover, they can be useful not only for the presentation of results, but also for collecting requirements.

e. Wiki Storage

A tool such as MediaWiki may also be useful. This is an online library, similar to the well-known Wikipedia, which you can deploy locally for your client and the entire team by your administrator. It is possible to keep documentation in it and it’s good that you don’t need to save files to the repository for version tracking, send them to colleagues, you can’t forget the file - the actual content is always available. For example, a user guide or specifications can be written in MediaWiki.

f. Speed ​​of reading and printing

Another block of basic competencies of hard-skills is speed-reading and typography (although there may be debate whether this can be attributed to soft-skills).
The analyst needs to process a lot of information: on the one hand, a lot to read (study and comprehend), and on the other, a lot to write (record the results), so it will be extremely useful for you in your professional career if you train these 2 skills. For example, you can compare - the average typing skill is 100 characters per minute, I print at a speed of 400 characters per minute. If everything is clear what to write in the document and you just need to fix the agreements with words, write the protocol of the agreement with the client, then you can imagine - it takes me 4 times less time than the average specialist. Accordingly, by increasing this skill in yourself, you make yourself more effective and save time on your projects.

g. Office tools

Also, as part of the basic skills, I would like to mention a number of tools, such as office tools (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Visio), which allow you to qualitatively and clearly present the results of your work. If you know how to open a Word document and know how to print text there, but don’t know how to customize the styles of headings and tables, draw up notes, use templates and properties of the document. Or you can open an Excel document and you know what a spreadsheet is, but you don’t own formulas, macros, conditional formatting, then, believe me, you still have a place to dig within the framework of these tools. Just for the sake of interests, you can open a certificate about the program or some test on this program, and you will learn a lot that, it turns out, you did not know before. Accordingly, there is always room for development.

h. Visualization

The next tool is the MindManager. It is also a rather useful program that relates to basic skills and allows you to structure information in the form of a mindmap.

i. Graphic Editors Graphic editors

may also be useful to analysts - not only sophisticated Photoshop, but also, for example, the classic Paint. There is an even more powerful program - SNAGIT - I recommend.

j. Multimedia editors

Of course, you can use PowerPoint for presentations, but in a modern environment, the Prezi tool is becoming quite popular. In it, the presentations are more interesting and interactive. Plus, if you master the creation of video clips, in particular, the Camtasia Studio program, which allows you to record a video series of application demonstrations, this will be useful in that the client can not always give you time now, but you can provide him with a video -file, and the client is more likely to look at it than if he independently clicks on the buttons of the system.

1.2 Theories and techniques of business analysis

The next block is theories and techniques of business analysis. These are the skills that help you become a direct business analyst.
In this context, knowledge and skills in the following areas are considered:
• Requirement
• Change management • Design artifact development
• Relevant tools

a. Requirements Management

The first block of knowledge is requirements management. Here it is important to know how to identify sources and how to identify requirements, and what to do with them after that: analyze, specify (document), verify.

b. Change management

This is a sub-block of requirements management, but I took it out separately to draw your attention to it. The fact is that it is very important to understand the traces (at the conference there is a separate report on this topic). It is important to know how to manage the scale of the project.

a. Design Artifacts

Next - the ability to describe Vision, Software Requirements Specification, prepare a user manual. Sometimes I heard the opinion that the analyst should not write user manuals, that this is the work of a technical writer. I think this is a rather narrow view of the world, because, in general, the task of the analyst is to contribute to the creation of a product that will be successful and useful, and the technical writer is not always highlighted in the team. Those. no need to “outweigh the dogs” for each other. The most effective instructions for working with the system and user documentation can be written by an analyst. Even if he does not write, then he should have a common understanding of what user documentation is and how it differs from baseline documentation, specifications.

b. Tools

In the field of theories and analysis techniques, requirements management tools were also highlighted, such as Enterprise Architect, Borland CaliberRM (a separate stand was presented at the conference, and a report was also read), etc. Non-specialized tools are also used to manage requirements - Excel, Jira

1.3 Business Basics

What can be useful for you in knowing the basics of business for your development?

a. Fundamentals of Economics

You will need knowledge of what TCO (total cost of ownership), ROI (Return on Investment), EBIDAT (Earnings before depreciation and taxes), ABC (Activity-Based Costing), etc. These terms should be studied, since you, as a business analyst, must contribute to the success of the business, and understanding the fundamentals of the economy (understanding what the software is made for and how the software implementation will be evaluated) is extremely important for the analyst to make good decisions. You need not only to collect and manage requirements, but to do it within the limits of the project (which are often associated with the economy - the resources are not unlimited, like money).

b. Business Process Engineering

A skill in developing business processes can also be useful. Moreover, this also includes the understanding that business processes are primary and auxiliary, as well as that their design occurs in the paradigms of AS IS (as it is now) and TO BE (as recommended or as it should be).
I don’t stop in more detail, because for my purposes - to identify the points of development of the analyst, and then it is supposed to independently study these areas.

c. Process Modeling Notations

To engineer business processes, you will need knowledge of certain notations in which you will describe the processes. Of course, they can be described simply in words, but the following notifications for modeling business processes are quite common: BPML (Business Processes Modeling Language), IDEFx, CFF (cross-functional flowcharts) and conventional flowcharts.

d. Toolkit The

corresponding toolkit in the field of description of business processes and economic planning (which I met) is BPWin and Business Studio.

1.4 IP Development

An analyst who develops information systems must have knowledge of the techniques and methods for their development.

a. The basics of architecture

The first block - the basics of architecture - a general understanding of what IS is, an understanding of client-server technology and building databases, knowledge of the design of sites (including understanding of HTML, CMS devices, knowledge of ready-made CMS), as well as understanding in protocols and data transfer formats (XML, CSV and so on).

b. Design

Notations Design notations such as, UML, DFD, flowcharts may be useful to you.

c. Ergonomics

In addition to general knowledge on IP development, you will need knowledge on ergonomics (usability), and in this regard, pay attention to such standards as web-style guide, mobile-style guide. A development of IP for iPhone and Android has a set of best practices and standards for how mobile applications should be designed. In particular, on the AppStore you will certify your application, and if it does not meet the standards, they will not miss it.

d. Toolkit

Toolkit allows you to carry out design efficiently and conveniently from the point of view of the project and from the point of view of those for whom this project is being done. In particular, these are prototyping tools (Balsamiq Mockups, Axure, JustInMind - including mobile interfaces). Also used for these purposes is MS Visio.

1.5 Documentation

a. Грамотный язык и корректное оформление

The next block of skills is documentation. Analysts write documents and they (documents) must be literate both in terms of language, the correct use of technical style, competent written language, and in terms of design. This factor is determined by how pleasant it is to pick up your document, how neatly and uniformly it is designed, and how well prepared for printing. This, incidentally, is a very important point - 90% of the documents that external analysts send me when trying to print (especially Excel tables) are displayed on 10 sheets in a chaotic order. Then you have to manually try to collect them, which is almost impossible. But the fact is that Excel does not by default format a page for printing. Analysts should be aware that there are special settings for the structure and appearance of the page, in which the format for printing is set, the order of the pages, their numbering. Pay attention to this - you have prepared a document, then printed it out and looked at whether it is convenient to use or if you need to put the document in order.

b. Ergonomics.

For paperwork, there is also a set of standards in the field of ergonomics (or usability, as it is now more popularly expressed). In particular, among technical writers, MS Manual of Style is considered one of the established standards. Today there are more than 400 pages and it is very good in terms of how to write English-language technical documentation - what terms to use (for example, “click the button” or “click on the button”), how to properly format, structure.

c. Tools

And of course, a toolkit for preparing documents. It can be MS Word, OpenOffice (for Linux). Also required are programs for generating PDF documents (Acrobat). And the Wiki is also useful for documentation. In particular, knowledge of wiki markup (a specific language that is quickly enough mastered) will help to better understand in which case the document should be formatted in Word, and in which - in the Wiki.

1.6 Additional competencies

The additional competencies in the field of hard skills that I would like to draw attention to are the following.

a. Fundamentals of management

One way or another the analyst always accompanies the manager on the project and somewhere shares the areas of responsibility with him, somewhere he can be replaced, somewhere, talking to the client, he somehow makes decisions on including requirements in the project. Those. it is, on the one hand, analytics, on the other - management.

b. Domain Knowledge

It can be very useful here (and more often it is also fundamental) - this is a domain examination. Whatever project you start doing, specify in which domain it will be executed - it can be finances, insurance, tourism - and carefully read this subject area. Of course, in terms of overall development, grabbing on all areas is impractical because there are a lot of them, and diving into the domain in which you are conducting a project can be useful.

c. Applied Expertise

Applied expertise is important as an additional competency. Moreover, a different application area may be important from project to project. For example, if the project is carried out in the field of tourism, then knowledge of the “traveling salesman problem” in graph theory, which is studied in applied mathematics, will be useful. Namely, you need to understand how to transport tourists from the airport to hotels, provided that the group team and hotels are located in 10 points of the city. Possessing this expertise, the analyst will be able to offer a more competent solution than he will not be in the subject.

d. Business

toolkit Knowledge of tools that a business uses, such as ERP systems, CRM systems, etc., may be useful.
Also, in the group of additional competencies, we included the foreign languages ​​mentioned above. In addition, it should be clarified that it is highly recommended to learn English at a decent level - at least because it will allow you to understand a lot of useful literature that is published in English, but, unfortunately, is not always translated into Russian, as well as communicate on forums with colleagues -analysts from other countries.

2. Soft skills

Next, I propose moving on to an overview of personality characteristics that develop more complexly and for longer. Let me remind you that my task is to pay attention to key skills. Development Tips - Read relevant literature, attend trainings, try in practice.
So, among soft skills, first of all, basic skills are important.

2.1 Basic skills

Among them, first of all, it is:
• independence,
• learning ability,
• good memory,
• clarity of presentation of information.

a. Independence
Analysts rarely lead a project in large groups. Usually, the analyst either leads the project completely, or, even if he works in a team of analysts, each analyst will still be responsible for one zone. Accordingly, the analyst must be able to independently conduct the whole project.

b. Learning The
work of an analyst is always research, i.e. a large amount of information passes through it and it is necessary to quickly grasp, process and transmit it.

c. Good memory.
Need for the same reasons as learning - in smart you have to keep a lot of details.

d. Clarity of presentation of information
When transmitting information to the customer or developer, there should be no misunderstanding. Information should be clearly structured.

2.2 Analytical skills

First of all, this is analytical thinking, which implies the ability to critically relate to the situation, the ability to transform what you receive into a data structure, and not directly transmit what is received at the input.
Also, the analyst requires the ability to work with large volumes of information, the ability to work in conditions of uncertainty and presentation skills.

2.3 Personal skills

a. Activity
For the analyst it is important to be active: when the project moves forward, it must take an active position, find out the requirements. Also, while accepting project results, he cannot afford a passive position.

b. Pedantry
Analysts should be attentive to details and should not lose sight of some critical things. Those. the phrase “and so will do” is not about a real analyst - he must be different in character.

c. Creativity
The fact is that analysts always not only get information, but also create something: either they determine the reengineering of processes (then you need to come up with the most optimal way for it), or come up with new systems (that is, they create from scratch) .

2.4 Interpersonal skills

a. Sociability
In the sphere of interpersonal skills for analysts, first of all, sociability, sociability, the ability to ask questions and correctly convey information, the ability to tune in to the exciting client are important.

b. Teamwork
It is also important that the analyst knows how to work in a team. Those. someone sullen who likes to work with computers rather than people, is unlikely to fit the position of an analyst. In this case, I would recommend developing the skills for sociability and teamwork.

c. Organizational skills and
self-organization and team building skills are also important enough for the analyst.

2.5 Business Skills

Next, we explain what should be included in the analyst’s business skills:
• Customer focus
• Business acumen
• Negotiation skills
• Stress resistance
In particular, a lot of books have been written on the topic of negotiation skills. It is highly recommended that analysts know how to effectively talk and convince of something (for example, often some features cannot be included in the release, and in such a situation the analyst needs to be a diplomat).
In terms of stress tolerance, let me remind you once again - analysts, as a rule, work in conditions of uncertainty and this quality will be very useful.

3. We increase efficiency

How can I increase the efficiency of the analyst? I can give 2 basic tips besides the basic tools.

3.1 Analyst Assistants

Firstly, quite good analyst assistants are all kinds of collections (icons, graphic primitives). For example, they found what you like and saved to disk or asked the designer to draw. In this case, it will be easier then to prepare documents and depict prototypes using these elements (i.e., during development, you will not look for where to get it or where to draw - the images will look beautiful and neat).
Analyst templates and functional patterns also help analysts. Where can they come from? After completing previous projects, save the results (best practices) to your knowledge base. Thus, from project to project, you will accumulate not only experience in your head, but also a good base of ready-made developments that can be used in future projects for better efficiency.
Also a good source of knowledge is analytical materials (for example, market reviews).

3.2 Objective assessment of reality

And the second clue about what can increase your effectiveness is an objective assessment of yourself. You need to understand how well you know one or another analyst’s skills (you can use the above list to test your hard and soft skills). Such a check will allow you to understand where you are going next.
In life there are a lot of examples of when people consider themselves cool, but they are not. Most often, self-esteem is overstated. But when an analyst believes that he is cool, then he can’t work more efficiently. Remember the words of Socrates "I know that I know nothing" and their continuation: "But others do not even know this." If a person believes that he is already on top, then you will not climb further up. For example, with regards to MS Word, 90% say that they own it “freely”, although they don’t know how to use either fields or macros.

4. Development Plan

The fact is that as soon as you have realized the depth of your ignorance, you can develop a development plan. And if you also honestly perform it, then your efficiency increases most quickly. Such a plan allows you to constantly run forward.
Never stand still because who stands still inevitably rolls back. But in the modern world, this is basically not realistic.

What can be done?

1. Identify the areas of activity that interest you
2. Fix the current level of skills
3. Formulate development goals and achievement criteria
4. Define ways to achieve the goals A
number of areas of activity and tools that can be useful to analysts have already been identified. Not the fact that you own it all and that you all need them right now. But, nevertheless, from the above list (and maybe something else - I do not pretend to be complete) determine what is most interesting for you.

1. Identification of areas of interest

At this step, you can write out all the possible skills and tasks of analysts in a table like the one attached (the presentation file is available on the AnalystDays-2012 conference page ). Then you should put weight in front of each skill - how important this skill is for you (and / or for the company - depends on what level the plan is built). You can use a scale from 0 to 5 or from 0 to 100 (the example uses a scale of 0..5). In principle, the same classification can be used in your career.
Our company uses gradation to 3 levels of specialists - Junior, Specialist, Expert - and inside them there is a division into 3 levels from R1 to R3. For each of these levels, certain criteria have been introduced, what skills they need and at what level of ownership.
As recommendations: the plan should take into account both widespread application skills. And highly specialized skills. But consider everything. And you should also add to the table those additional skills that, although they are not fundamental to the work of the analyst, however, they simplify life and make its work more effective.
Also, when drawing up a plan, the following criteria should be taken into account: individuality, reference to the certification system, specificity, measurability, consistency with management.
As a result, on the basis of this classification, you can not only draw up a personal development plan, but at the same time determine what career opportunities you have when mastering certain skills.

The dilemma of choice

When drawing up such a development plan, the question arises - speaking of analysts and their requirements, is it right to mix analysts involved in various tasks or not? And is it worth spraying on everything or concentrating on some narrow field of activity? The question is quite philosophical, and everyone answers it independently. For example, there are personal preferences for modeling business processes and therefore I want to study this area most deeply - no one will bother you to do this. Or someone will want to study more widely the various areas of business analysis, which will also have a good effect on your career, as You will understand where and what methods can be used, you will be able to select them flexibly depending on the features of your project.
And I would like to give a few theses, which can be useful to analysts precisely for their broad horizons.
The fact is that with such a plan there is practically no limit. Most likely, all life is not enough to master the entire width of the topic from and to. All the same, you will concentrate on some subset of it. However, the already studied subset is of value to the market and you just have to go and coordinate this with your employer.
Those. a wide horizon of skills - this is useful, interesting, profitable.

2. Assessment of the current level of skills

After determining the weights, you should determine what current level of skills and knowledge of technologies and tools you have. One of the rather convenient methods of assessment is analogues of the assessment of knowledge of foreign languages ​​(from Basic to Intermediate and Advanced). Each of these levels is assigned its own score from 0 to 5. After which you calculate the total amount of points as the sum of weighted ratings.

3. Definition of development goals

Then you fill out 2 more columns in the plan table - what level of knowledge and skills do you expect at your place in a year and in a month. This approach is somewhat close to the modern trend of unification, when you subordinate your development to numerical measurements (in fact, accumulate points). There is still room for development, how this table can be optimized, which “buns” you can hand yourself for achieving this or that level.

4. Definition of ways to achieve

After that, you determine how to achieve the goal. For each item that you plan to improve, you define literature, trainings, conferences, etc. You should have a clear understanding of what you plan to do in the next month and next year in order to develop in business analysis.


So, business analysts can have many skills and knowledge, they can be different, they can be applied in different ways on your current projects. But if you feel that you have already reached the ceiling and that you know everything in the framework of the work that you are currently doing right now on projects, do not despair in any way - try to recall today's report, try to look wider at the world and think that I don’t know yet where I can still develop, where I can move. Definitely, it will be useful to you, in terms of career, and your employer will also appreciate it. Which means you will be more successful in your professional IT career.

Question 1

Каковы критерии оценки качества работы аналитика? Как объективно оценить работу своих подчиненных аналитиков?

Begin by agreeing with a team of analysts on an equal representation of the quality of work among all members. For example, for me, one of the criteria of the analyst’s work (not the main one) is the quality of the documents they provide. At the same time, it is important for me that the document is beautifully designed, informatively and logically structured so that there are no jumps from section to section, etc. Accordingly, we take this particular atomic unit and say with the analyst that the quality of the document should be that way, and he tells you that he did not even think about it. For example, there are no pagination and all right. He thought that the main thing was to write a text. Thus, sitting down together and speaking to him these moments, we come to a common understanding of the quality of the document.
Accordingly, you need to go through all the steps of the analyst and talk about the quality criteria.
According to the assessment, I can say the following: we have periodic certifications (1-2 times a year), the assessment for which consists of several criteria. Analysts are, first of all, communicators, i.e. they receive information from customers and pass it on to developers. A very important evaluation criterion is what the client thinks about interacting with the analyst: how quickly he responds to requests, how clear and understandable information he provides to the client, and how effective he is in interacting with the client. This questionnaire is filled out by the client. A similar questionnaire is filled out by the developers (i.e., the project implementation team): how much the analyst is available to them, how much they understand the documents provided to them, how comfortable it is for them to work with this analyst on the project.
This is one of the points for evaluating analysts, and it is very important, because he is a translator between the client and the developer, and if there is a weak link at this stage, no matter how cool he draws up and writes, he has not reached his goals.
The second point is the effectiveness of the project. Of course, not only the analyst is taken into account here, but, nevertheless, we make an assessment of the whole team as a whole. But since the analyst was a translator of requirements and, together with the team, formed what this product should do, this is also an important characteristic.
The third point - if possible, is an expert assessment of documents, requirements that the analyst produces. For example, for six months he wrote requirements, but did not add some of them to the basic requirements or forgot about them. Or in relation to specifications - as far as they are clear, specific, consistent. Thus, you can expertly evaluate these documents. Not always there is such an opportunity. Usually, only the customer or development team can say something about him.

Why domain knowledge is attributed to additional competencies? It seems to me that this is the main thing: the analyst can draw bad charts, but he must understand what he is doing. There are a lot of people who draw beautiful graphs and UML diagrams, and those who do not understand the essence of the work and do stupid things - the majority.
I agree with this position. However, Sergei and I, in the process of preparing the presentation, argued quite a lot about the grouping of skills for the convenience of their presentation and understanding by analysts. The same basic skills - this is a foundation that does not allow you to become an analyst, it only allows you to start understanding of this industry. Therefore, it may not have domain expertise. Of course, for the successful implementation of projects without it, absolutely nowhere.

Question 2

В свое время я придерживался такого же мнения, что аналитики могут писать документы, пока не встретился с профессиональным техническим писателем (из Европы). И я понял, что это огромная сфера, люди даже специальное образование получают в данном направлении. И есть огромная разница между тем, что пишут бизнес-аналитики, продавцы, проджект-менеджеры, разработчики, и тем, что пишут технические писатели - по сути, это пропасть. Мне кажется, если есть возможность (например, в крупных компаниях есть такая практика), отдавать техническое писательство на аутсорсинг в профессиональную компанию. Они отдают публичную информацию о каком-либо продукте и они тут же пишет профессиональную документацию, а не пытаются сделать это внутри.

I started my career just as a technical writer, so all this is very close to me, I very clearly understand what you are talking about. According to my feelings and the way I performed my analytical functions, having a technical writing base, and comparing this with analysts who do not have this base, I still think that analysts should have the skills to write technical documentation. This makes you more professional.
Due to the fact that something can be divided and outsourced, my whole report can be broken into pieces and say, for example, that the design of business processes should be given to a specialist in modeling business processes (I met such a specialist who did that, which none of my business analysts could do). But this is just proof that the better you delve into the areas indicated in the report, the better your result will be and the more you will cause a wow reaction of everyone around you.

PS . You can meet Maria with Sergey at future Analyst Days series conference.

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