Business analysts are wired to work within the confines of structure. This conceptual framework has as much to do with a business analyst’s role as it does with a business analyst’s team, which is why it’s so crucial for an organization to understand how each BA functions individually and collectively.
The nature of these parameters will have an impact on the BA, his or her team, and of course the company at large. This speaks to the challenges one may face in assessing a BA team but also the necessity in doing so. With the role of a business analyst evolving by the quarter, the importance of running a consistent assessment of a BA team has never been more critical.
Why Organizations Should Assess Their BA Teams
According to Villanova University, business analysts bring an organization’s business needs together through their multifaceted role of mediator, moderator, connector and ambassador with IT resources. Successful business analysts tend to have various skills, such as communication skills, project management skills, critical thinking skills, technology and techniques skills, and interpersonal skills.
The key aspect to consider is that not every BA possesses the same soft or hard skills, and thus not every business analyst can be defined in the same threshold. Because of this, it can be argued that it’s in a company’s best interest to determine each and every aspect of their BA team in order to identify the most effective course of action. However, while capturing the means of effectiveness is the desired outcome, it’s far easier said than done.
This is partly due to the complexity of the BA role but also due to the subjectiveness of human-led team assessment. In other words, with these two factors at hand, it’s very difficult to effectively assess a BA team without some level of support from a software program or tool.
Assessing Your BA Team Using Software or Tools
Fortunately, there are a multitude of software programs and assessment tools to help BA teams assess themselves from an internal and external standpoint, all equipped with the propensity to help teams run with more purpose, commitment, and awareness.
These tools can range between personality assessment tools, leadership assessment tools, and general team assessment tools. Here are a few standouts that are leading the market.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®): Used by more than 88% of Fortune 500 companies in 115 countries, the MBTI assessment has become the go-to framework for people development globally. With more than 70 years of science-based, research-based insight, the MBTI assessment tool is a robust technical support program for self-awareness and improvement. The tool is designed to help professionals, including BAs, with objective insight to enhance professional and personal relationships, as well as direction, focus, and choices. Organizations have the potential to prosper by adopting the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator for their BA teams as it can foster more swift collaboration.
Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) Assessments: The Leadership Practices Inventory® (LPI®) is a 360-degree assessment tool formed by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner; the assessment tool is based on The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® model, which include “Model the Way,” “Inspire a Shared Vision,” “Challenge the Process,” “Enable Others to Act,” and “Encourage the Heart.” Nonetheless, the LPI was built to enable individuals and organizations to measure their leadership competencies with actionable insight, and it’s also a useful reference for BA teams with determining which team members are well-versed to lead initiatives and complex projects.
The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team: The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team assessment tool was developed to improve team effectiveness and productivity through the understanding and application of The Five Behaviors™: Trust, Conflict, Commitment, Accountability, and Results – the tool was also created from an education perspective in that it was created by Wiley Workplace Learning Solutions and best-selling author Patrick Lencioni. BA teams can benefit from this tool as it is results-driven, plus it focuses on insight related to commitment and accountability, core aspects of a BA’s role.
Everything DiSC – Workplace: Everything DiSC® applications can help business analysts better understand themselves and their counterparts. Whether by improving working relationships, strengthening management skills, or tackling conflict with a new mindset, Everything DiSC is slated to deliver insights and strategies to meet business professionals unique needs.
The Benefits of Assessing Your BA Team with Technical Support
Increasing team awareness: Awareness begets more awareness. As teams become more aware of their strengths and weaknesses, both on an individual and group level, teams will become more proficient with their processes. Team awareness is also known to increase collaboration and probability of success.
Getting to know your team better: No single BA is the same – not in terms of a business analyst's skills, interest, or communication style. That said, it’s essential that BA teams get to know each other and dig deeper than the surface (as a BA does with data, ironically). Some BAs will be more qualified for digging through data via functions like VLOOKUP, PIVOT, SUMIFS, or COUNTIFS, while other BAs will be more centered on communicating the outcomes of this type of research to stakeholders. This can benefit teams in understanding whether a BA is meant for a specialist position or a leadership position.
Widening your perspective: As mentioned prior, human-led assessments of teams are often subjective in nature (e.g., there’s room for human error, involuntary biases, etc.). While incorporating technical support does not completely prevent these type of complications, they do limit them. In addition, adding more objectivity into an assessment may widen a BA team’s perspective.
Using benchmarks as a base for comparison: Tools can provide a landscape of data points that one company on its own could not calibrate. These data points can assist organizations with a spectrum of benchmarks to compare their BA teams against.