7 Habits of Highly Effective Business Analysts



I am an avid fan of Steven Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people. These habits are not only applicable to our professional lives but personal lives as well. So, what exactly is a habit? A quick search on google and I found this clear and concise definition from Wikipedia – habit is a routine behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously. Studies have shown that it takes on average 21 days of conscious effort to develop a new habit. I have taken the concept of 7 habits of highly effective people and framed it in the context of Business Analysis. So what are the 7 habits of highly effective Business Analysts? I have outlined these below based on my experience:


Habit 1: A highly effective Business Analyst brings clarity and context to stakeholders

This involves ‘level setting’ to ensure all stakeholders understand the business problem / need / opportunity. Being the person in meetings to ask questions and ensure stakeholders are aligned.


Habit 2: A highly effective Business Analyst understands the root causes of a problem

This entails not rushing to propose solutions. An effective BA ensures that they understand the root cause analysis of business problems. There are several techniques we can use to understand root causes such as 5 why analysis and fish bone diagram to name a few.


Habit 3: A highly effective Business Analyst advocates for value always

The Business Analysis Book of Knowledge (BABOK) places a huge emphasis on delivering value – “A BA identifies and defines the solutions that will maximise the value delivered by an organization to its stakeholders.”  As BAs we need to ensure we advocate the value of any initiative. The objectives, needs, outcomes and values should be clearly specified in business cases. The BA needs to be the champion of this value and ensure the solution(s) being proposed deliver the value.


Habit 4: A highly effective Business Analyst uses effective facilitation techniques

Effective facilitation starts prior to the meeting / workshop. An effective BA plans well advance understanding the stakeholders that will be in the meeting, clearly outlining agenda and expected outcomes. Depending on the audience, a BA uses facilitation techniques that will best keep the audience engaged and focused on outcomes.


Habit 5: A highly effective Business Analyst fosters good stakeholder relationships

BAs are responsible for identifying organizational problems, needs or opportunities. In order to do this, we work closely with stakeholders to elicit requirements. To be successful, BAs  need to have good relationships with stakeholders. As Wouter Vermeulen puts it – ‘’Stakeholder engagement is a never-ending process – we have to continually earn stakeholder’s confidence – it’s a relationship!”


Habit 6: A highly effective Business Analyst leads with influence

Integrity  and credibility are important factors that contribute to leading with influence. BAs gain credibility through the work we deliver to our stakeholders and organizations. By delivering value added solutions and being consistent, stakeholders begin to take notice and start buying into the work we do.


Habit 7: A Business Analyst keeps up to date with industry trends and best practices

Keeping up to date with industry trends and best practices enables BAs to continuously refine their skills and be better at their craft. BAs who are life-long learners are highly effective in their work. Additionally, they bring in agility and flexibility into their work which is critical in the ever changing times we find ourselves in.


Interested in developing one or more of these habits? Contact The Skilled BA to discuss how we can help you take your career to the next level.


Yours in Analysis


BA Instructor / Coach


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