Are you wondering if you’d be qualified for a Senior Business Analyst position? Or perhaps you’ve been a business analyst for a while, and you are wondering how you can get promoted to a Senior Business Analyst role?
While senior business analyst roles vary widely from one organization to another, in this post, we’ll talk about the 6 areas in which we see senior business analysts taking on increased responsibility.
Before I forget, I want to be sure you know about my Quick Start to Success as a Business Analyst training (it’s free) that’s designed to help you, the mid-career professional, kick-start your business analysis career. This training provides an introduction to what a business analyst does and a deeper dive into what skills you need to be successful as a business analyst.
Now, onto the responsibilities of a Senior Business Analyst.
#1 – Senior Business Analysts Tackle More Complex Projects
Typically a senior business analyst takes on complex, high-profile projects. While you’ll likely find yourself leveraging the same foundational business analysis skills, the responsibilities are greater because of the nature of the projects themselves.
Project complexity can take many forms. Multiple, integrated systems create complexity because new requirements need to be traced through the inter-related systems. Multiple stakeholders across several departments create complexity because of the number of perspectives that need to be blended into the final solution. Team make-up can also create complexity because when you blend resources from multiple organizations to implement a project, communication becomes more complex.
#2 – Senior Business Analysts Own Strategic Analysis Responsibilities
A second, but much debated, aspect of becoming a senior-level business analyst is the incorporation of strategic analysis activities into the role. Most BA roles include strategic analysis at some level. If you ask “why” or define the business need within the context of a specific project, you are doing strategic analysis.
As a senior-level responsibility, strategic analysis can also take the form of planning and scoping several inter-related initiatives and helping senior-level business stakeholders make informed decisions about which initiatives to tackle and how to tackle them, or project portfolio management.
#3 – Senior Business Analysts Understand the Business Process
While some business analyst roles are purely focused around business changes, many of us are “IT Business Analysts” and deal mostly with software changes. If this is the case in your situation, digging deeper into the business and business process changes can provide an avenue to take on more senior-level tasks.
As you learn about the business processes and how people throughout the organization use the software you support, you’ll build better relationships with business stakeholders. Through these discussions, you can create an opportunity for yourself to become a partner in the business change.
Here’s a video on exactly how to analyze a business process.
#4 – New Business Domains Are No Problem for a Senior Business Analyst
Many business analysts thrive during their initial years in the profession because they are experts in the system or business domain. They know everything there is to know about the possibilities of the project. When this is the case, your position of strength comes from your systems knowledge and your BA competencies are not fully stretched to the max.
Senior-level business analysts can often tackle projects across multiple domains and handle new business domains with the same level of confidence as familiar ones. The ability to work across domains and industries is a critical step in the business analyst career path.
#5 – Senior Business Analysts Lead the BA Effort
A business analyst lead is often a senior business analyst working on projects of large enough scope that they demand the efforts of multiple business analysts. In addition to performing many business analyst activities, a lead will coordinate and oversee the work of other BAs as it relates to a specific project.
Part of leading multiple business analysts also means mentoring the junior and mid-level business analysts in your organization. As a senior-level BA, you will be viewed as an expert on the process and best practices for conducting requirements practices in your organization.
#6 – Senior Business Analysts Can Be Consultants for Internal Stakeholders
An internal business analyst consultant offers technology or process consulting services to a line of business. Mark Jenkins as BA Manager at Websense enabled his analysts to take on consultant responsibilities. Each BA has a certain amount of their time dedicated to helping a set of business stakeholders diagnose problems and understand needs. They are responsible for maintaining a deep awareness of how a business operation works and helping the stakeholders explore technology possibilities to more effectively execute on their roles.
Here are some other examples:
- Stephanie Belhomme, a Salesforce Business Analyst Contractor, learned how to provide more strategic value to her clients.
- Andrea Wilson became the go-to business analyst, and operates as an internal business analyst consultant for her government agency.
- Dave Gallant became a better agile business analyst to create better user stories, by leveraging analysis tools.
>> Get Your Quick Start to Success as a Business Analyst
If business analysis is a career that you want to pursue, the absolute best next thing to do is to join my free Quick Start to Success workshop. You’ll learn how to avoid the most common pitfalls faced by new business analysts and the step-by-step business analysis process to create predictable, consistent project success.
Build Your Business Analyst Career Path
If you are thinking about a senior business analyst role, then you are going to want to watch this video on building a business analyst career path next.