The career of a business analyst is an attractive one. It is interesting, allows freedom and travel, can have excellent benefits, so no wonder more and more people are thinking about taking this career path.
Like any other career, the business analyst job is not for everyone. I assume that anyone who is thinking about pursuing it already knows about main job requirements, but let’s go a bit deeper and talk from experience to answer the question: is being a business analyst difficult?
Being a business analyst can be difficult, and it’s undoubtedly demanding. You have to know enough about business and technology, have great analytical skills and be quick and confident in making hard decisions. Plus, you have to be talented to convey your ideas to stakeholders.
Like with any profession, there will be challenges and roadblocks to overcome. As a business analyst, your responsibility is to make conclusions and suggest changes. Still, the efficiency of your work will often depend on other people, and this is where things can get tough and stressful.
Keep reading if you are interested in some first-hand experience about the difficulties you can encounter as a business analyst.
6 Reasons why Business Analyst job is a stressful job
When you are a business analyst, you must be capable of looking at the right place and anticipating the problems. At all times, you must be aware of your clients’ needs and the possibility that they might not see and understand facts the way you do.
Being the main responsible person within a pull of people and their interests, and dealing with high stakes is stressful by definition.
Here is a list of some, not all, practical issues and roadblock you might be facing in the position of the business analyst:
#1. Requires excessive and ongoing education
First of all, being a business analyst requires excessive and ongoing education and experience. 20 years ago, this position was mainly focused on communication with people (team, clients, stakeholders).
Today it is getting more complicated. While you still have to be artesian in communication and explaining, you also have to keep track of all new technologies.
#2. Quality of your work is often dependant on others
The quality of your work will depend on other people as well.
Not everyone in your team will be as motivated as you would expect. In that case, the problems can stay overlooked or ignored. It will be up to you to find the faults in the system (looking how often the problem happens, what are the reasons) and then deal with re-works and changes that might not be popular and well-received.
Furthermore, when the problem is not spotted straight away, you will lose time and stakeholders will lose money.
It takes patience and determination not to rush with the decision and quick changes, in order to ensure the system that will work for everyone’s benefits in the future. Again, it will be up to you to make sure the stakeholders understand that process.
#3. Working with difficult people
Now, the “difficult people” might be stakeholders, project managers, IT developers or any other team member, it does not make much difference. If you have anyone on your team who is reluctant to work, or has issues with what you are proposing, your work will suffer.
Here is where your listening and balancing skills will make all the difference.
There could be a million reasons why some people could make your job difficult: because they do not understand hence, share the same goals. Maybe they do not understand the process, or because they feel overworked or have any personal issues, you might not know about.
Your job, in that case, would be to find out what are the real reasons so that you can deal with them.
The hard part is that you do not always have much time to do so, as you have deadlines and other people who are depending on how quickly you can deal with the situation.
Prioritizing is essential while being very clear about the goals, tasks and the process towards the whole team in the very beginning can prevent some of these roadblocks.
#4. Saying NO to stakeholders
In your career as a business analyst, you will definitely encounter a situation where you have to say “no” to the enthusiastic proposal of a stakeholder.
Maybe their idea will look great on the paper but have a less practical use. Perhaps the technologies they love and are used to are outdated.
People who hire you and people who have significant stakes in the business do not always like hearing that their idea is not good.
Arguments and strong confidence are what you need to overcome this unpleasant situation.
Confidence is built over time, so if you are new in the business make sure you stand behind your decision, do not let anyone push you around, because eventually, the whole company can suffer for it.
Using numbers and clear statistics/examples can help in conveying your message.
#5. Aligning goals with your team members
Bringing everyone together to discuss problems and come up with the best possible solution, as the primary goal and one of the most important parts of your role, often surprises less experienced business analysts as more challenging than expected.
Before you enter a room, in these situations, just think about how many different people from different sectors you are engaging. They will have a different level of knowledge, experience, and varied interests and priorities.
They will all, some more obvious than others, want to be heard. It’s very possible, especially if you are new or consulting or on a short term basis, they will see you as someone who “knows it all” and want to challenge their expertise,
Linking people together requires strong leadership and communication skills.
#6. Difficulty in accepting and adapting to change
People find changes difficult. Change is always hard. It means stepping into unfamiliar territory, learning and getting used to something new. As a business analyst, your job is to introduce changes.
The first and most important part is to convince stakeholders that change is needed. Sometimes that’s easier than other times. But even though they agree and stand behind that decision, you will probably face some resistance from other team members.
That’s normal and ought to happen. in order to save your money, time, and nerves you should must count on it and plan for it, which will make you able to move through the changes as smooth as possible,
So, what makes a good business analyst?
Overcoming challenges that come from dealing with people in challenging situations can be stressful, but it can also make you a great business analyst.
Actually, anticipating those roadblocks and embracing them timely is what is going to help you build your confidence and start thoroughly enjoying your job.
In conclusion, I believe there are three main areas of work/knowledge/skills which will make you a great business analyst:
First is there is knowledge and continues learning: understanding of the business and technologies. Your formal education will cover a good part of this.
Experience plays an important role, as understanding something is theory is not the same as dealing with the world of business.
My advice is to start with the industry you worked in, as it is easier to understand. Continuing learning is a must in this job. Each industry has its own rules, methodologies, terminology, and so on.
If you ever think you know enough and that you can just jump to a new client with all the answers, know that you will fail. The job of a business analyst is for those who appreciate the learning curve.
Second, knowledge and experience are not everything. You have to have excellent analytical skills and be creative. Usually, people who did well in sciences, math, logical problem solving have a natural talent for BA positions.
Still, there is always room for improvement. Some people are great in finding the problem; others are better in finding a quick solution. On the other hand, for some, making a decision is a tough part.
If you want to be great as a BA you have to have it all: find a problem, make a solution from nowhere and decide what changes have to be made.
And last, but not the least is leadership and communication skills.
Business is presented in numbers. The problems are found when you piece the puzzle and see what’s missing. Thorough research and knowledge of the industry and other personal skills will be enough to know what needs to be done.
But then, you also have to convince all the interest groups that suggested changes are for the best.
You cannot expect that everyone else has your level of understanding, but it is your job to make your ideas understandable to different audiences. You need to merge the whole team, consisting of so many different people and sectors, around the same purpose.
Leading people through difficult decisions with a positive outcome is the hardest and most rewarding part of being a business analyst.