How Your Soft Skills Can Take Your BA Career To The Next Level

There’s a common misconception that as a Business Analyst you have to be a geek or a tech nerd, but this is almost not always true.

Yes, there’s some degree of “geek-iness” inherent with most business analysts, due to the analytical nature of our jobs.

But the dual-hatted nature of your role as a business analyst allows you to suddenly switch from being the tech expert into a trusted adviser.

This is where honing your soft skills can make you tremendously valuable.

Communication whether oral or written help you engage with stakeholders at different levels.

The ability to synthesize information in a succinct and simple way for both the business and technology teams to understand is a unique skill you’ll need to get really good at.

Capturing requirements and transforming them into solutions that solve business problems may seem like magic to those who don’t know the behind the scenes responsibilities of a business analyst.

And if you can kick it up a notch by taking the initiative and getting creative, throwing in additional features no one even thought about that add value, then you’ll officially hit rock star status!

Organizational skills are a must as a business analyst, you can’t afford to be all over the place missing meetings, deadlines or being sloppy with your documentation.

Meetings should be well thought out and planned in advance with an agenda and minutes circulated before and after.

Run your topic of discussion through a meeting go-no-go radar by asking yourself these 3 questions –

  1. What do I hope to get out of this meeting?
  2. Do I have a high-level understanding of the subject?
  3. Can I come up with a list of questions to ask or action items to move this conversation forward?

If you can’t clearly answer these 3 questions, then it means you still have some groundwork to do.

Perhaps an email to gather some additional information or a few minutes shadowing a key stakeholder might be all you need to get started.

Empathy doesn’t mean rolling over and accepting everything that gets thrown at you; just because you think its a requirement.

Yes, it’s important to identify with the stakeholder’s pain point and understand where they are coming from.

But you should also be able to draw a fine line between what’s important that supports the business goals and objectives vs. what’s simply a nice-to-have feature, that can be thrown in if time and budget permits.

Critical thinking can’t be overrated, about 80% of your job as a business analyst involves thinking through ideas and concepts.

You need to be able to make clear, rational and informed decisions which puts you in a very tough spot because you can’t please everyone.

The ability to influence others to make decisions, letting them know their opinions count makes this an even more valuable skill.

Not everyone will like you, but those who matter and understand the value-driven nature of your job will.

Problem-solving reflects your ability to think through a problem and come up with feasible solution options that address business needs.

Conflict resolution is a must have. Working through issues without bias or hard feelings, moving beyond other people’s shortcomings, and ensuring the team forges ahead no matter what.

Discipline, integrity, strong work ethic are some other qualities you should aspire to cultivate on your career journey.

These skills coupled with your domain expertise will help you thrive in your career as a business analyst. And you’ll reap the benefits for years to come.

If you’ve been trying to make your career transition into Business Analysis and you’re not sure where to start. Here’s my free guide to help you get started – Transition your career into Business Analysis In 10 Easy Steps.