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What it takes to be a leader in Business Analysis

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Have you tuned into IIBA’s podcast all about Business Analysis? Join Scott Bennett, Business Analysis Manager, and myself, Susan Moore, Community Engagement Manager from IIBA®, biweekly on Wednesdays for Business Analysis Live, a candid practitioner chat breaking down the hottest topics in business analysis. 

This issues articles talk about developing your data literacy, strategic execution, improving efficiencies and more. Regardless of your career path, the advice, and insights these authors share will help you keep up with your peers.


In this week’s episode, we discussed “Leadership Skills for Business Analysts” with esteemed guest John B. Reeves, CBAP®, Lead Business Analyst, City of Charlotte and author of several articles on business analysis leadership, published in IIBA's member-exclusive quarterly publication, Business Analysis Magazine (BAM!). You can find his latest articles in these editions:

Leading Through Task Calibration by John B. Reeves, AMA-CPM, CAPM, CBAP 
The Empathic Designer by John B. Reeves, AMA-CPM, CAPM, CBAP 

As businesses evolve, the role of business analyst has becoming increasingly more important and so has the role of business analysis leadership. We invited John to join us on Business Analysis Live to talk about the kinds of leadership skills business analysis professional need to develop. Our conversation covered many facets of leadership, not just managing people. 

Many think of business analysis leadership as managing people. And for our guest this has been his path. John shared his journey to becoming a leader of business analysts, from leading projects in a Lead Business Analyst role to taking additional training in people management and project management. 
But there are many ways that business analysis professionals can lead. First, we talked about leading without authority, which is the most common leadership scenario for business analysis professionals. This can involve being a Lead Business Analyst on project or guiding the work of a team of business analysts. Another way that business analysts lead without authority is working independently on projects as individual contributors. Typically, senior business analysis professionals are asked to perform this work. 

Some of the most important leadership skills for this kind of work include:
  • Influence 
  • Negotiation 
  • Facilitation 
  • Conflict management
  • Relationship building 

Leadership may also look like being an advocate for the profession. Advocacy means promoting the importance of business analysis within an organization and helping organizations understand how it can help achieve successful project outcomes. 
Outside of formal leadership roles, business analysis professionals can guide the practice of business analysis within the organization by being part of a Community of Practice (CoP). These communities discuss challenges, identify learning opportunities, and seek ways to standardize the practice throughout the organization. 
Finally, individual business analysis practitioners can lead by helping stakeholders and leaders understand the language of business analysis. Understanding out “language” helps build trust and credibility as well as demonstrating how business analysis leads to successful outcomes. 
Have questions about leadership styles, how to get into leadership and how to deal with difficult personalities? Get the answers to those questions and many more another thought-provoking episode of Business Analysis Live! 


Business Analysis Live! Youtube Channel 



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About The Author:
Susan Moore

Susan Moore is the Community Engagement Manager at the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA). She is a Product Management professional with more than 20 years’ experience in the Finance and Insurance industries. Before coming to IIBA, Susan worked in Business Analysis and Project Management roles, incorporating business analysis leadership and agile practices into the business analysis teams where she worked. Susan also writes on these topics at Susan holds several business analysis and Agile certifications including IIBA’s Agile Analysis Certification


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