Before you get to this section, grab at least two different colored pens or highlighters. If you're reading online, you can use your reader's online editing functionality or create a single sheet of paper with space for three lists.

This article is written for people who are either exploring the possibility of business analysis as a future career or those people who have decided that business analysis is the right career choice but need some help in starting a business.

As you read this section, be aware of the areas in which you feel you have a good understanding. Think of it as a good idea, which means you can probably put it away if you want to do it tomorrow. Second, be aware of things that confuse you or that you don't understand at all, meaning you don't think you can do it tomorrow.

Let's learn more about confident prospect business analysis to help you plan from where you are to where you want to go in terms of your experiences.

In short

A business analyst helps the team move from ambiguity to clarity about goals and scope. Regardless of the process used, moving from ambiguity to clarity is an iterative process. Sometimes it's like peeling an onion, layer by layer, but other times the path can be more complex and the path less focused. These initiatives can be applied to all kinds of "changes" from organization-wide policies to specific projects or activities.

As a new or junior business analyst, you'll likely be working on one or more specific projects around which someone (whether your manager or a project manager or executive) has some basic scope. As you become more experienced, you can leverage your experiences to help define project concepts or drive new strategies and programs. The rest of this section is written from the perspective of working on a relatively limited project as your first professional analytics experiences will include that.

We'll start by taking each of the key responsibilities of "finding, analyzing, communicating, and validating requirements" and breaking them down into some reasonable expectations. We'll then look at some of the broader knowledge areas that business analysts need to know, including specific tools, technical skills, and the software development lifecycle.


Elicitation is the process of working with stakeholders to understand what they want to achieve through a project or change effort. A project stakeholder is someone who owns or provides input into a particular aspect of a project. Stakeholders may or may not have a very clear picture of what they want. Some stakeholders have a clear vision, but are unclear on the details. Others think clearly about the details, but sometimes lose track of the big picture. Elicitation involves eliciting the best thoughts and ideas about change from all stakeholders.

By far the most common technique used is the interview variation, whether in one-on-one or group interview sessions. Because interviews are a common technique for solving many business problems, you may have interviewed somewhere in your previous work.

Interviews involve thoughtful questioning and active listening. Therefore, you want to internalize as much as possible of what others have to say. During elicitation it is less important to fully analyze what you hear than what you hear.

  • From a business perspective, the business owner of a system or project, often operates at the executive level.
  • Users of the new system or process, often called subject matter experts.
  • Product managers or other "user proxies" who represent the end user or customer of the system.
  • Technical or enterprise architects and other technical stakeholders who are responsible for overseeing the overall strategy.

Includes key skills for enlightenment

Organizing meetings: inviting the right people, setting meeting goals, creating agendas, and documenting and distributing meeting notes.

Facilitating Discussion: Ability to facilitate a meeting by initiating and maintaining dialogue and focusing on topic. The best meeting facilitators keep track of the discussion, get input from everyone, redirect the conversation around overbearing personalities or off-topic comments, and follow up on open discussion points.

Planning: In planning you will progress towards a defined system. Part of elicitation is having a plan to get something out of nothing.

Conducting walk-throughs and demos: Elicitation involves getting feedback on concepts, rules, and deliverables. This activity could consist of a document walkthrough or a demo of a wireframe or prototype.

Asking good questions: Having the ability to get to the heart of the matter and ask questions that lead to a deeper understanding of the problem or solution space.

Relationship Building: Elicitation requires trust and the foundation of trust is building relationships with your stakeholders. They need to trust that you are on their side and will do whatever you can to help them turn their ideas into reality.

Although elicitation is one of the first activities on a project, it does not end with the initial requirements elicitation activity. As you help the team get a clear picture of what the change entails, you'll return to the entire requirements lifecycle.

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