If you are exploring the role of a Freelance Business Analyst and wondering if you have the necessary skills needed to be a successful one, you have landedon the right page.
Careerlancer has made a list of critical business analysis skills that are required for a freelance business analyst to be recognised as a promising expert in the field.
While it’s important that a business analyst should have conceptual technical understanding to analyse, communicate and solve technical problems with technical stakeholders, it is ideally not required for them to know, write or run databases and codes.
By ticking off these essential skills (core, business analysis and soft skills) you will be able to successfully kick start and zoom in your freelance career as BA.
1. Communication Skills
You have to be a good communicator for you have to facilitate meetings, ask questions, really listen to what others say and observe and absorb everything unsaid and unfinished.
The ability to effectively write mails and talk virtually in conference calls or web meetings is equally important for freelance Business Analysts.
2. Cognitive Skills
You have to evaluate multiple options from 360 degrees before helping with a solution. You have to critically listen to stakeholder’s needs, consider those needs, ask probing questions until everything surfaces and clears, while simultaneously discovering the problem to be solved.
Evaluation skill is the other side of critical thinking ability. The more critically you understand a problem, easier will be its evaluation process.
3. Problem Solving Skills
For a Business Analyst, the entire project that you are assigned to will be a problem and your work as a BA will be finding a solution to it. You will have to identify and understand what the problem is, analyse the business process, find possible solutions and determine the project scope.
Facilitating technical teams to solve technical challenges and negotiating between multiple stakeholders or businesses would also be a part of your job role.
Business Analysis Skills
These skills are regarded as technical skills, and are quite essential in the profession. If you have prior experience in the vocation, deploying these skills in your freelance career would not be a problem.
But if you are a new entrant, you will have to hone the skills while being on the job role. You may need to actively try to refine these areas as you move ahead in your career as a freelancer.
4. Analysis Skills
Business analysts use a variety of techniques to analyse a problem and solution. Initially, you’ll just see loop holes but as you mature, you would know how to process each type of problem. The 3 levels of problem analysis that you will probably do in your career are:
- Business Level Analysis:Analysing the business process or operational work flow.
- Software Level Analysis: Analysing how the software system supports the workflow or operation. You have to complete your analysis often with case studies or user stories.
- Information Level Analysis: Using data modeling technique analyse how data and information are stored and affect an organization.
5. Documentation and Specification Skills
You should possess an ability to create clear and concise documentation, such as reporting and writing, pertaining to a variety of business analyst specifications.
Even if you never have worked in a formal environment, you can correlate your past experience that’s something similar to a BA, to get a grip on your business analysis skill.
6. Visual Modeling Skills
You will also slowly learn to develop visual models to support your analysis, as part of your analysis techniques learning.
Although, visual model specifications will differ from role to role, as a generalist it would be imperative for you to capture your analytical information visually in the form of work-flow diagrams or wire frame prototypes.
7. Business Analysis Tools
The basic tools like Excel, Word and PowerPoint should be enough for you to start your journey as new freelance business analyst. However, you can also self-learn Microsoft Visio, another common but most wanted tool in Business Analyst profession.
Microsoft Visio is a Visual Modelling tool and knowing how to use the tool is one of the technical skills companies look in Business Analysts. Other technical skills that are highly regarded in this profession are the ability to use modelling tools such as Enterprise Architect, requirement management tools, such as DOORS or Calibre and project and defect management tools.
8. Elicitation Skills
To understand or discover information for analysis, as a freelance Business Analyst you may have to facilitate meetings of specific kind, the most common would be elicitation sessions where you would conduct interviews and observations. In organizational terms, these elicitation meetings are also referred as ‘requirement workshops’, ‘validation sessions’, ‘JAD sessions’ or ‘requirement reviews’.
P.S. Don’t get disheartened or confused by these technical terms. You can definitely learn them from your Business Analyst course that you will study before starting your career.
No successful business analyst profession, freelance or not is complete without necessary soft skills. And like the core skills, you may have these skills already imbibed in you. Otherwise, you will learn them as and when you receive new projects.
9. Organizational and Time Management Skills
Although, you wouldn’t be playing the role of a project manager, you will be expected to successfully manage the Business Analysis effort. You would be required to be proactive and self-managed.
As a freelancer, you should be able to manage and organise yourself to commitments and deadlines, a skill set which involves delegation, time management, problem handling and self-confidence.
10. Interpersonal Skills – Stakeholder Relationship
The ability to connect and create long lasting relationships with the stakeholders is extremely crucial in this profession. You should know who can be your potential stakeholder, a certain ‘someone’ who will have something to contribute to your project. You will often work with many stakeholders, both in the business and from the technical team.
As a freelancer, you will not be part of the company full time, but rather work as a consultant. Building trust with people becomes even more imperative to bridge the gap of physical differences.
Apart from the stakeholder relationship, you will often have to step in to a leadership role on projects and get things going.