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Being Flexible as a Business Analyst

Sometimes, the business analyst can become so caught up in a project that he or she forgets that tried and true methods do not always work. The analysis team is trying to accomplish what the customer has scoped out and sets up a plan of action. The plan of action requires certain fundamentals. However, there are times when these rudimentary ideas just do not work for the client. The client may not understand why these steps are so important. This is when the business analyst needs to step back and ask the same questions as the client. It all comes down to communication.

The professional business analyst must understand that the success of the project is not only about requirements documentation, but also about how those requirements are handled. The business analyst acts as the liaison between the client and IT. The documentation may be required for the IT team to do their job, and certain explanations may be necessary for everyone to understand what is needed. However, the client may not understand the documentation or have any need for it to begin with. This is where communication skills come into play.

The business analyst may make more progress and move faster with just a simple meeting to explain the methods and procedures being used. The client can ask questions and the business analyst can provide explanations. Case studies and other documentation would not in any way assure the client of progress. Some clients need to hear it because, to them, it may look good on paper, but they need to understand how it is supposed to work. A good business analyst can explain the intricacies of what is taking place. The client can then sign off, and the work can continue. The goal is being met.

This is where the business analyst must be flexible. Just because he or she has done this a thousand times with other clients does not mean that this client is like the other thousand. The job of the business analyst is to determine what the client wants. Paperwork may be a burden to the client, so the business analyst should understand how information is delivered. He or she must be flexible enough to deliver what the customer is requesting and ensure that the client is comfortable with how information is delivered, not the other way around.

There will be times when the business analyst must learn to be flexible when it comes to dealing with information. Not everyone can do the job of a business analyst, which is why he or she was hired in the first place. However, there may be no documentation for certain things that the analyst is normally made privy to. The business analyst must be flexible in knowing how to work around this barrier and gather the information needed to perform the task. Flexibility comes in handy at this point. The business analyst may have to do what he or she can at present and wait for statistics to be gathered. Instead of getting a concise written report from the team, the analyst may have to interview each member to gather what he or she needs.

The key is to work within the boundaries of the client and do what the client feels comfortable with. The business analyst may not be as comfortable, but being flexible in any situation will eliminate this unease. The task at hand can be accomplished.

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