The Senior 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 Mid-range 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 Senior Project Business Analyst.

Everything that a Starter and Mid-range 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 Senior 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 managing information and results, and leading people.

Like a Sheepherder, your specialty is sheparding the requirements through to results and providing leadership. Your job is to ensure that the project will meet the requirements by managing risk, managing change, and reporting on requirements status. When the project is delivering results to stakeholders, you will confirm that the results of the project meet the requirements. At the end of the project, you may be called upon to lead a Project Retrospective. You may also be called upon to mentor less experienced BA’s and possibly to manage small projects.

In addition to all the skills of a Mid-range Project Business Analyst, you need to be comfortable with a leadership role. Your responsibility is to ensure that the requirements are implemented to the stakeholders satisfaction, and that may require some firmness. You need to know when to stand your ground and when to give way. You will understand the need for change on a project, and will choose the appropriate level of requirements change control for each project. You will understand risks and priorities for the project requirements, and will ensure that those risks and priorities are understood by the project team. You may be called upon to manage the User Acceptance Tests of the project, where you and the stakeholders verify that the executing software meets the stakeholder needs. You will work closely with the Project Manager, and in some cases may be asked to be the Project Manager as well as the Project Business Analyst.

You are the mentor for the other BAs on the project team. A Project Manager or a BA Manager may mentor you to develop the skills of a Project Manager, if that is a career path you choose. You are expected to know what to do on the project team and to do the work without much direction. You work quite closely with the Project Manager and the Project (Solution) Architect as the leadership team for the project.

The most important skills for a Senior Project BA are:
• Leadership
• Negotiation
• Considerate Assertiveness
• Managing when you are not the manager
• Reporting Status
• Management of versions of information
• Risk Analysis
• Change Management Strategies

Technologies you should master are:
• Reporting
• Change Management
• Software Test tools
• The software created by the project team

The most important personal traits are:
• Honesty
• Kindness
• Empathy
• Being a good role model
• Being a good mentor
• Being a good leader


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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.