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The Competency Shift from BA to BA Manager

By Maureen McVey, CBAP, Head of Learning and Development, IIBA
 
Manager – Business Analysis 
Unlike other BA leadership roles, this role is not required to have business analysis experience. The BA manager is a traditional management position required to conduct resource management, performance reviews and resource development. The BA manager will liaise with program management to ensure the right resources are assigned to the right projects/assignments. He/she understands the tasks, activities and challenges of business analysis and ensures that key performance metrics are being met through intervention such as training.
 
Is it time for you to make a career shift? You want a management position but you don’t want to move into project management. The Business Analyst Career Road Map from International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) lists the following leadership roles: BA Program Lead, BA Practice Lead, Relationship Manager and Business Analyst Manager. Let’s focus on the transferable skills a BA brings to this role and the skills and experience needed to be a successful BA Manager.
 
Management skills: 
In order to be an effective manager you need to:
  • Understand your team; their skills, challenges, and ambitions
  • Delegate work
  • Motivate your team
  • Plan to meet strategic initiatives
  • Problem solve
  • Resolve conflicts
  • Communicate staff performance issues
  • Forecast and manage budgets 
Transferable Skills
 
Managers are accountable for getting the work done while following organizational standards. As a business analyst you can use your analytical skills to assess your team against your goals and determine the gap. Your problem solving skills will help you to define creative ways to close the performance gaps. You will be required to make decisions based on facts—your analysis skills will help you in this area. A Senior BA moving into management brings knowledge of the tasks, activities and challenges faced by BA staff which builds your credibility with your staff and your manager.   
 
Skills Development
 
As a manager you will have to assess your employee’s skills and gaps and provide opportunities for them to learn and practice those skills. Build your coaching skills by helping your staff identify their strengths and suggest areas for improvement. Assign performance goals that make sense and are aligned to organizational objectives. For more information on BA performance measurement visit the IIBA® member webinars and look for the archived webinar titled: “Unleashing the Full Potential of a Performance Measurement Program for Business Analysts” presented by Adriana Beal.
 
Communicating with stakeholders is very different than communicating with your team. Be aware that you need to work on team building skills, conflict resolution and how to coach those who are not meeting performance objectives. The book The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice by Morton Deutsch and Peter T. Coleman (eds) is in IIBA Online Library. This article by Mark Holmes, “How to Deliver Correction to Your Employee Without Harming Their Commitment or Retention” provides a comprehensive list of tactics for providing employee performance feedback.  
 
Managing employees can be a rewarding career choice. Be sure to develop your skills and practice them when leading a team of BAs. Good luck reaching your career aspirations!