The Starter Project Business Analyst – a job description

Author: Geri Schneider Winters

You may have just finished college, or have none of the skills needed for a more advanced BA role. You are interested in a Starter Project BA position either to learn more about the job to see if it is something of interest, or because you have decided on this as a career.

All Business Analysts use the skills of the Starter Project BA. Even if you end up starting as a Mid-Range Project Business Analyst, you will still need the skills of the Starter Project Business Analyst. There are a lot of projects where you will be the only BA, so you will have to have the skill set of all three levels of Business Analyst. The Starter Project BA skills are also very useful or required in a wide variety of jobs.

If you are a Starter 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 collecting information and communicating it to the appropriate team members.

Like a Ham (Amateur) Radio Operator on an emergency response team, your specialty is Communications. You need to be good at finding all kinds of information by researching in documentation of all kinds and by eliciting it from people. You also need to be good at sharing the information in a wide variety of formats and technologies.

As a Starter Project BA, you need to be comfortable with a wide variety of people and situations. You should not hesitate to make a telephone call, send an email, or instant message any one from whom you need to elicit information. You need to be good at setting up meetings, taking notes, and following up on action items. You should be comfortable talking to people one-on-one, as well as comfortable facilitating a meeting.

You do not need to be an expert at every possible form of communication before progressing to a Mid-Range Project Business Analyst. But the more comfortable you are with a wide variety of people and technologies, the better you will be at any BA role.

As a Starter Project BA, you are not expected to work alone. A more senior BA, Project Manager, or BA Manager will direct your work. He or she will also mentor you to develop more BA skills.

The most important skills for a Starter Project BA are:
• Listening
• Scribing
• Facilitating
• Holding interviews
• Research, both online and in documentation
• Writing

Technologies you should master are:
• Email
• Instant Messenger
• Telephone and VOIP
• Standard office software
• Digital Recorder
• Projector and computer for meetings
• Teleconferencing System

The most important personal traits are:
• Warm and friendly personality
• Comfortable with all kinds of people
• Comfortable in all kinds of situations
• Self-motivated
• Organized

 

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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.