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IT Language of the Business Analyst

What IT professional focuses on how to prioritize and estimate backlog and anticipate the risk of a silent stakeholder? Valeria Shpanko, business analyst at Anywhere Club, explains the most popular concepts from the pocket dictionary of a business analyst.

Valeria Shpanko, business analyst at Anywhere Club

— I remember my reaction at my first meetings with a development team. It seemed like I didn't understand anything. As you work, you find that your communication language starts to look and sound like very bad English. You basically stop talking in Russian and start communicating with Anglicisms instead.

Who is a business analyst

— When people ask what a business analyst does, the logical answer is that they analyze business. In fact, it's not that simple. At one meetup I heard this question: “How soon will a business analyst become an obsolete profession?” No one really understands what they do: they don't write code, they don't make product decisions. The answer, however, was that the business analyst is unique because they have “two brains.” One understands business and the other understands developers, at the same time.

— The business analyst straddles two worlds. They are the link between the business and the people who write the code. For example, a business says it needs an online store. The question arises: What does an online store represent? The first thing that comes to mind is a website. A business analyst should ask a lot of clarifying questions: what kind of site is this; what will the tabs be; what products will be presented; will the site allow payment and, if so, through what systems? Or maybe the store is intended to be just a showcase without a means of purchase, somewhere a person can familiarize themselves with the assortment of available offerings? If so, will it be possible to leave comments on the order? Even when a business decision seems like a simple one, a lot of inter-related questions arise, but a business representative often doesn't think about them. And developers or designers need to know what to draw and develop; to do that, they need sufficiently detailed information. So, you can't just come in and say you need to create an online store. The business analyst is the team member who goes through and synthesizes all the steps that start as just an idea about the product, and the business side, to bring the concept to the point where it will work.

More about Business Analyst

Qualities a business analyst should have

— Soft skills are a must for a business analyst. The foundation is communication — being able to find common ground with business personnel and developers. Creating artifacts is just as important. But that flows from the communication part of the job. That is why it is important to pay attention to skills such as problem solving, conflict management, and teamwork. You may have excellent hard skills, but if you do not communicate effectively, nothing will work.

Technical knowledge is also important, at least at the level of understanding how it works. Remember about the necessity of communication with your fellow developers.

You can't go anywhere without a good working knowledge of English, either. I recommend that you read all of the literature in English. If it's difficult to read in English initially, you can read the material first in your native language, and then read it in English.

Discover Your English Level

— It is important to remember that the business analyst must constantly communicate with the team and the stakeholders in the same language (even though each has a different working language), while at the same time not making things more complicated than necessary.

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