The stealthy business analyst

When you believe the work you do serves an organization you honor and care about, but you don’t have the direct support you need, being stealthy can be immensely valuable.

stealthBeing stealthy means that you get your best work done even without direct support and even perhaps when facing direct opposition to your ideas.

Let’s look at some of the tried-and-true habits of a stealthy business analyst.

Habit #1 – Applying business analysis principles

Knowing your stakeholders will resist a full-blown business analysis process, but believing it will save the project time in the long run, you sneak in the most important parts of the process using terms like “discovery session” and “one-pager” and “planning session.”

Look at you, the stealthy business analyst.

Habit #2 – Getting users to meetings

Knowing your business users will avoid attending your meetings if you send an agenda with too many questions, you send out a list of discussion topics instead. You keep a list of questions in front of you, asking only the ones your stakeholder doesn’t answer on their own.

Look at you, the stealthy business analyst.

Habit #3 – Ensuring understanding

Respecting your organization’s current process and templates, but knowing that certain new visual models will help your stakeholders better understand the problem and solution, you replace a text section of your template with a powerful visual model.

Look at you, the stealthy business analyst.

Habit #4 – Discovering the underlying problem

Knowing that your sponsor will freeze up if you directly ask why their pet project is important, but also that you can’t do your best work unless you truly understand the problem to be solved, you paraphrase why you think the project is important and ask for their feedback. They disagree with you, but you get them talking about business objectives.

Look at you, the stealthy business analyst.

Habit #5 – Creating user interface wireframes 

Knowing your developers will balk if you create user interface wireframes, but believing that they will help you get critical information from business stakeholders, you stop by the developer’s desk early in the project. You gently propose that they create wireframes a little earlier in the process to help ensure everyone is on the same page about the requirements. When they resist due to time constraints, you offer to create the wireframes, running your early concepts by the developer for feedback.

Look at you, the stealthy business analyst.

>>The best business analysts are stealthy

While it would be great if we had stakeholders knocking on our office doors asking us to do exactly the work we believe is most important, the reality is that we must guide and influence how the project unfolds if we want to do our best work.

Take a minute to consider how you can be stealthy this week, and inch your career, practice, or project forward as a result.

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