How to become a true requirements analyst. Part 1. Great analysts are born or become?

    “Great analysts are nurtured, not trained. To work as an analyst requires a lot of personality traits, and not knowledge of any technology. There is no standard training course or job description for such a specialist. Analysts come from different professions, and most likely all beginners have knowledge and skills gaps ”
    Karl Wigers“ Developing software requirements ”, 2004

    Karl Wigers wrote his book almost 10 years ago, but the situation has not changed - real analysts units.
    This series of articles is for anyone who is about to become a professional requirements analyst. The information is collected from personal experience, the book of Karl I. Wigers “Development of software requirements”, as well as from the experience of other Internet analysts.
    Dear Habravites, I urge you to comment on my articles and, thereby, correct the situation of the small number of good analysts, giving advice and recommendations to newcomers in this difficult matter.
    Let's decide who the requirements analyst is, what skills a person who wants to analyze requirements should have.
    Among the participants in any software development project, there is always a person who explicitly or implicitly plays the role of a requirements analyst. Being, in fact, a software developer, he masters the duties of an analyst and works with users, collecting, analyzing and documenting requirements. However, not all developers are able to correctly formulate software requirements and communicate with the client. Training allows you to increase the professional skills of employees performing the role of an analyst, but cannot compensate for the lack of interpersonal communication skills and interest in business.
    What is the main challenge facing the requirements analyst?
    The analyst’s most important task is to reflect the views of interested parties and individuals in the specification of requirements and pass on the information to other persons involved in the project. The analyst helps the project participants clarify whether the wishes that they express aloud are really what they really need. The analyst teaches, asks questions, listens, organizes and learns.
    The main success factors are patience and a sincere desire to work with people.
    The skills of Analytics are based on personal skills, without the development of which you will not be able to take part in this profession. Be prepared for the fact that you have to constantly learn something. And as you learn new things, you will understand that you know too little. Choosing the profession of an analyst, you choose a certain style of thinking, communication, development and life itself as a whole. Without some skills and a desire to develop them, it is better to leave this profession altogether.
    What skills should an Analyst have?

    Listening skills

    Active listening involves eliminating interference, maintaining a polite posture and making eye contact, and repeating the main points to reinforce their understanding. You need to instantly grasp what people are saying and be able to read between the lines in order to discover things that they are embarrassed to talk about. It is important not only what you are told, but also how you are told.

    Ability to interrogate and ask questions

    Most of the information about the requirements is derived from conversations with people, and therefore the analyst must be able to communicate with different people and groups. There are different interlocutors: someone wants to tell everything that they know and even off topic, someone answers only specific questions, someone gives out the wishful thinking. And only with the help of the right questions from a huge stream of information can essential requirements be identified.

    Skills for creating comfortable communication conditions

    The ability to organize a friendly atmosphere is one of the necessary skills of the analyst. Of course, this skill is not as important as the first two. But in comfortable conditions it always works better.

    Ability to observe

    Observing how the user fulfills his duties or works with the existing application, an experienced analyst will identify moments that the user did not even mention. Observing helps to direct the discussion in a new direction, in order to identify additional requirements, about which no one said anything.

    Stress resistance

    In the process of work, a huge amount of information (often contradictory) and data appear that can at one point radically change the understanding and direction of analysis and design. The analyst should be ready for this, be able to navigate in the new conditions, not give in to panic.

    The ability to analyze and process information

    The analyst is dealing with a large amount of erratic information collected in the first stage. The ability to process a large amount of information and analyze it will allow you to structure the data and build a clear and precise picture.

    Ability to solve problems and resolve conflicts

    A large number of stakeholders and project participants can work in the project, each of which has his own view and vision. The analyst must have the ability to listen to all parties, summarize information, make the best decision and convince the parties of its correctness.

    Negotiation skills

    The analyst must be able to organize people with different interests to work together, and feel confident in conversations with employees in various positions in the organization. Think about how difficult it is to deal with employees from virtual groups that differ in geographical, temporal, cultural, or linguistic characteristics.

    Skill to work in team

    Result of the work of Analytics is used by many project participants. He should be able to work in a team, trust his colleagues and be aware of responsibility towards them, performing his part of the work.


    An analyst is not just a stenographer recording all customer statements. Analysts are inventing requirements. They offer innovative product features, new market opportunities and business opportunities and think about how to surprise and satisfy their customers. An excellent analyst is creatively approaching the matter: talking about the system, he manages to surprise the client - he does not even suspect that such functionality is possible

    Domain knowledge

    It is easier for a business-savvy analyst to communicate with and understand clients, and he can identify unspoken assumptions and implicit requirements. He can offer options for improving business processes, as well as valuable functionality that users did not even think about.
    The analyst must be able to use different means of collecting information and present this information in various ways in a normal and understandable language. Possess simultaneously developed communication skills, knowledge of the psychology of interpersonal communication, technical knowledge, knowledge of the subject area, business and personal qualities suitable for this work.
    For people who like to solve complex problems and want to become professional analysts - nothing is impossible! The main thing is to understand that your calling is to be a translator from slurred to the exact language, from the language of Wishlist to the language of functionality, from the language "but if" to the language "it is done like that!"
    I look forward to the comments of those who have already taken place as an analyst, and who can share their observations, and those who encounter analysts by the nature of their activities, and who can share their grief or admiration for interacting with them.
    We will meet again next time for a discussion of the topic, “Various methods for creating and identifying requirements.”

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