The career of a business analyst is an attractive one. It is interesting, allows freedom and sometimes travels, and can have excellent benefits. It’s no wonder more and more people are thinking about adopting business analysis as a career path.
Like any other career, the business analyst job is not for everyone. I assume that anyone who is thinking about pursuing it already knows about main job requirements, but let’s go a bit deeper and talk from experience to answer the question: is being a business analyst difficult?
Being a business analyst can be difficult and is undoubtedly demanding. You have to know enough about business to engage your business stakeholders and know about technology to engage your technology stakeholders. You need to have great analytical skills and be calculated and confident in making tough decisions. Plus, you have to be confident in conveying your ideas to all level of stakeholders.
Like with any profession, there are challenges and roadblocks to overcome. As a Business Analyst, your responsibility is to make conclusions and suggest changes. However, the efficiency of your work will often depend on other people, and this is where things can get a little tricky.
Keep reading if you are interested in some first-hand experience about the difficulties you can encounter as a Business Analyst.
6 Reasons why Business Analyst job is a stressful job
When you are a business analyst, you must be capable of looking at the right place and anticipating the problems.
At all times, you must be aware of your clients’ needs and the possibility that they might not see and understand facts the way you do.
Being the main responsible person within a pull of people and their interests, and dealing with high stakes is stressful by definition.
Here is a list of some, not all, practical issues and roadblock you might be facing in the position of the business analyst:
1. Requires Excessive and Continuous Education
First of all, being a Business Analyst requires excessive and ongoing education and experience. 20 years ago, this position was mainly focused on communication with people (i.e team, clients, stakeholders).
Today, it is more complicated than simply communicating with people. While at the core, you still have to be excellent at communicating with all level of stakeholders, you also have to keep track of new technologies, understand them and be able to interact with them.
Furthermore, you also have to stay on top of new methodologies and frameworks for managing complex work and projects at different organisations.
2. Quality of your work is often dependant on others.
The quality of your work will depend on other people. In other words, the quality of your output is directly proportional to the input of your stakeholders.
When eliciting for information, majority of the time, knowledge is presented to you in a very raw form. In many cases, there is the possibility for vital information to be omitted or overlooked or even ignored.
It is up to the Business Analyst to analyse and interrogate the information they are presented to find the faults and ways to improve them.
The Business Analyst’s job is to ask many questions looking for problems, gaps and reason for the gaps.
And when a Business Analyst doesn’t spot problems correctly, you lose time and your stakeholders will lose money.
As a Business Analyst, you require critical thinking and problem-solving skills combined with patience and determination to resolve and not rush with the decision and quick changes.
This is important to ensure you build a system or solution that perfectly meets the needs of your client.
3. You work with difficult people
Business Analysts works with all level and types of people and since we’re imperfect and different as humans, some people can be “difficult” to work with.
These people might be your stakeholders, project managers, IT developers or any other team member.
Business Analyst is constantly faced with people who are reluctant to work or has issues with what is being proposed.
Here is where your communication and relationship-building skills will make all the difference.
There could be a million reasons why some people could make your jobs difficult such as lack of understanding of the project objectives, misalignment of goals or a general lack of clarity of the process.
Some people might feel like they’ve been pushed aside or worst case, have unfounded personal issues with you that you might not know about.
Your duty in these situations is to find out what the real reasons are so that you can deal with them head-on to not derail the project.
The difficult part is that you do not always have all the time in the world to babysit people as you have deadlines to meet.
Prioritizing is essential while being very clear about the goals, tasks and the process.
I’ll advise you set these in place in the very beginning to prevent some of these roadblocks later down the line.
4. Saying NO to stakeholders
In your career as a Business Analyst, you will definitely encounter a situation where you have to say “no” to the enthusiastic proposal of a stakeholder.
Their idea will look great on the paper but have a less practical use. Perhaps the technologies they love and are used to are outdated.
People who hire you and people who have significant stakes in the business do not always like hearing that their idea is not good.
Persuasiveness and fact-based arguments are what you will need to confidently and respectfully challenge high-level stakeholders in situations such as this.
Confidence is built over time, so if you are new in the business make sure you stand behind your decision, do not let anyone push you around, because eventually, the whole company can suffer for it.
Using numbers and clear statistics/examples can help in conveying your message.
5. Aligning goals with your team members
Bringing everyone together to discuss problems and come up with the best possible solution as the primary goal is one of the most important parts of being a Business Analyst.
Before you enter a room, in these situations, just think about how many different people from different sectors you are engaging.
They will have a different level of knowledge, experience, and varied interests and priorities.
They will all, some more obvious than others, want to be heard. It’s very possible, especially if you are new or consulting or on a short term basis, they will see you as someone who “knows it all” and want to challenge their expertise,
Linking people together requires strong leadership and communication skills.
6. Difficulty in accepting and adapting to change
People find changes difficult. Change is always hard. It means stepping into unfamiliar territory, learning and getting used to something new.
As a Business Analyst, your job is to improve processes, improve products and basically introduce some form of change.
The first and most important part is to convince stakeholders that change is needed. Sometimes that’s easier than other times.
But even though they agree and stand behind that decision, you will probably face some resistance from other team members.
That’s normal and ought to happen. in order to save your money, time, and nerves you should count on it and plan for it, which will make you able to move through the changes as smooth as possible.
So, what makes a good business analyst?
Overcoming challenges that come from dealing with people under challenging situations can be stressful, but it can also make you a great Business Analyst.
Actually, anticipating those roadblock and embracing them timely is what is going to help you build your confidence and start thoroughly enjoying your job.
In conclusion, I believe there are three main areas of work/knowledge/skills which will make you a great Business Analyst:
First is there is knowledge and continues learning: understanding of the business and technologies.
Experience plays an important role, as theoretical knowledge is not the same as dealing with the real world of business.
My advice is to start with the industry you worked in, as it is easier to understand. Take courses and read books.
Continuous learning is a must in this profession as each industry has its own rules, methodologies, terminology, and so on.
If you ever think you know enough and that you can just jump to a new client with all the answers, know that you will fail. The job of a Business Analyst is for those who appreciate learning.
Second, knowledge and experience is not everything. You have to have excellent analytical skills and be creative. Usually, people who did well in sciences, math, logical problem solving have a natural talent for BA positions.
Still, there is always room for improvement. Some people are great in finding the problem; others are better in finding a quick solution. On the other hand, for some, making a decision is a tough part.
If you want to be a great BA you have to have it all: find a problem, suggest or extract solutions from the subject matter experts and decide what changes have to be made.
And last, but not the least is leadership and communication skills.
Business is presented in numbers. The problems are found when you piece the puzzle and see what’s missing. Thorough research and knowledge of the industry and other personal skills will be enough to know what needs to be done.
But then, you also have to convince all the interest groups that suggested changes are for the best.
You cannot expect that everyone else has your level of understanding, but it is your job to make your ideas understandable to different audiences. You need to merge the whole team, consisting of so many different people and sectors, around the same purpose.
Leading people through difficult decisions with a positive outcome is the hardest and most rewarding part of being a Business Analyst.