The Mid-Range Project Business Analyst – a job description

Author: Geri Schneider Winters

You probably have three or more years experience in some kind of job, and feel that you have mastered the skills of a Starter Project BA. You are looking for a position with more responsibility, where you can work more independently, and think you have the skills for a Mid-Range Project Business Analyst.

Everything that a Starter Project Business Analyst does and knows applies to you as well. The skills build on each other, leading to positions of more responsibility over time.

If you are a Mid-range Project Business Analyst you work on a project team. This could be a software project, a business process improvement project, or many other kinds of projects. You are responsible for analyzing the information that has been collected and defining the requirements for the project. You will also write all the project requirements, and verify them with the project stakeholders. This is the work most people think of when they think of a Business Analyst.

Like a Research Scientist, your specialty is Analysis. You have to use techniques of Analysis in order to determine which of the information collected actually represents requirements. Then you also have to analyze the requirements to determine if they are complete, and to determine the best form in which to document them. The ability to analyze is what sets you apart from the Starter Project Business Analyst. The ability to analyze is what makes it possible for you to reach more senior roles on the project team and elsewhere in the corporation.

In addition to all the skills of a Starter Project Business Analyst, you need to be comfortable with a variety of analysis techniques that you will use when examining information to determine what represents requirements, and how to structure those requirements. You will be familiar with a wide range of documentation methods, choosing the most appropriate methods for each project and audience. You need to be good at eliciting approval of the project requirements from the various stakeholders, which may mean producing multiple versions of the same requirements at different levels of detail. You should be comfortable mediating discussions when stakeholders do not agree on what the project requirements are.

You do not need to be an expert at every possible form of documentation before progressing to a Senior Project Business Analyst. But the more comfortable you are with a wide variety of document types and technologies, the more useful you will be in your role.

As a Mid-range Project BA you work independently on the project team, though it is quite common for Mid-range and Senior BAs to review each other’s work, even BAs on different projects. You will work with the Project Manager to verify the direction and scope of your work. A more senior BA, Project Manager, or BA Manager will mentor you to develop the skills of a more senior Business Analyst. You are expected to know what to do on the project team and to do the work without much direction. You will develop good relationships with other BAs in the organization.

The most important skills for a Mid-range Project BA are:
• Analysis
• Gaining Consensus
• Organizing Information
• Determining level of detail for an audience
• UML Activity Diagrams
• Use Cases
• User Stories
• FURPS
• SRS
• Business Rules

Technologies you should master are:
• Diagramming Tools
• Tools to organize files
• Version Control tools
• Electronic signature tools

The most important personal traits are:
• Analytical
• Reputation for fairness
• Firm willed
• Self directed

 

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About Geri Schneider Winters

Geri Schneider Winters is the primary author of the popular Use Case book "Applying Use Cases: A Practical Guide" and the founder of Wyyzzk, Inc. She has over 25 years experience spanning the software development lifecycle. Geri has learned her craft working with folks such as Grady Booch, Jim Rumbaugh, Ivar Jacobson, Walker Royce, Scott Ambler, Warren Woodford, Philippe Kruchten, and Kendall Scott, along with many less well known, but equally talented, people. Geri has worked in many companies in many industries, including IBM, Boeing, Lockheed, Adobe, Intuit, Delta Dental, United Healthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Money Store, Charles Schwab, The Federal Reserve Bank, Visa International, USAA, Stanford University, University of California, Carnegie Mellon University, HiLCoE College, Agilent, Knights Technology, Deloitte and Touche, Safeway, and Coca-Cola Enterprises.