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The Most Important Business Analysis Skills for Home and Business

every-day-requirementsBusiness analysis is not just for business analysts anymore. Actually, as you might surmise from the cut line of our website, "Business Analysis For Anyone Wearing the BA Hat", we at BA-EXPERTS firmly believe that business analysis skills are valuable for everyone. In that vein, I recently chatted with an old friend and fellow business analyst about a private problem my wife and I were facing and he posed the critical question, "You guys did define your requirements, right?"

My immediate response (of course) was, "Of course. We use our BA skills in all walks of life. Don’t you?"

It is worth mentioning that both, my friend and I, are married to highly talented business analysts as well. That turned our discussion to the question, "What business analysis techniques are most valuable to you in your personal life?"

This is the list we agreed upon:

Interviewing Techniques

Granted, we do not interview our significant others the same way we would interview a subject matter expert. Nonetheless, we do apply the "listening" skills that are core to effective interviewing. When we neglect that, we suffer the consequences (does the phrase “”because you didn’t listen to me” sound familiar?)

Problem Definition

The ability to reduce the emotional component of an issue and write down what each party perceives the problem to be by listing observed symptoms, potential solutions, and "venting" helps clear the air whenever we are facing a personal problem. An obvious prerequisite is that both parties are willing to work it out together.

Problem Analysis

Using a tried-and-true method we call Aristotelian Problem Symptom Reduction helps us identify the "real" problem and minimizes the time spent trying to sell each other on our own personal prejudices.

Requirements Definition

Whether we are dealing with where we want to live, where to take a vacation, what to cook for dinner, or where to go for a colonoscopy, making ourselves aware of our requirements has proven to be invaluable by reducing bad decisions. When we skip this critical step, we usually end up regretting it later.

Business Process Modeling

OK, it has its limits in private life and we have rarely had to resort to this level of analysis, but when we are trying to make truly monumental decisions such as "How are we going to finance our retirement?", the old data flow diagramming can come in real handy. Actually using the process models to do process problem analysis, timing analysis, and exception analysis really makes us aware of the risks and rewards of whatever path we choose.

These examples of how business analysis improves our private lives are just off the top of our heads. We did not even get started on the benefits that business analysis skills can and do provide in career development for anyone (based on the experiences of many of our past students), whether they are "wearing the Business Analysishat" or not. Really, it is about clarity and purpose in contemplating reality and defining a better future. Business analysis provides the best answer I know to the Cheshire Cat’s (paraphrased) comment, "If you don’t know where you are going, any road will lead you there."

If you have a better answer, I’m listening.