Steven Gara

As a practicing Business Analyst for over 13 years with a CBAP certification from the IIBA and a Master's Degree from Cornell, Steve has been working most recently for a large company in the healthcare field. In whatever small spare time he has, he usually plays musical instruments or hangs out at the local gym, keeping himself in shape for whatever challenges come his way.

Big Data Widens Opportunities for Business Analysts

Data Opportunities
One of the newest trends in business analysis is the melding of the BA and BI roles – where BAs become more like data-centric business intelligence analysts, similar to data scientists. As more companies jump onto the Big Data wagon, the widening need for data may breathe new life into the business analysis role, opening more avenues of responsibilities — and corresponding increases in salaries as a result. Click here to find business analyst jobs. Most BAs have technology and… continue…

Business Requirements Are the Foundation of a BA’s Success

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Teams sometimes gloss over a project’s business requirements in their haste to begin development. They do this at their peril, and it’s often up to the business analyst to lead them away from danger. The term “business requirement” describes a need that leads to one or more projects meant to deliver solutions and result in desired business outcomes. Business opportunities, business objectives, success metrics and a vision statement are key elements. Without them, it’s impossible to clearly decide what should… continue…

9 Points to Weigh Ahead of Your Next BA Role

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There’s a strong demand for business analysts out there, which means you could find yourself in the sweet spot of having a number of opportunities to pick from. If you do, don’t jump too fast. Take the time to consider these points as you evaluate your offers. Remember, it’s as important for you to be comfortable with your employer as they are with you. So when you’re searching for your next job, take a look at: The company’s recruiting process,… continue…

Why Business Analysts Should Value Business Models

Business Puzzle
As a business analyst, have you ever come across a project where you had to collect requirements and help design a solution for a business group, but every time you talked to someone, you seemed to get different, often conflicting, explanations of how the business works? Most experienced Business Analysts have faced this at one time or another. Many end users only know a narrow slice or view of the business in their areas. Rarely do they understand the whole,… continue…

The Basics of the Business Analyst Career Road Map

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People interested in a career in business analysis should check the International Institute of Business Analysis’ Business Analyst Career Road Map. It outlines the opportunities available and is designed to help you identify your best options based on your experience. For instance, those seeking to break into business analysis that have backgrounds in business, sales, finance or programming can choose between jobs such as Functional Analyst, Service Request Analyst, Agile Analyst, Systems Analyst, Business Systems Analyst and Business Requirements Analyst/Requirements… continue…

How to Use Office Politics to Your Advantage

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Interaction skills (sometimes referred to as “office politics”) are one of the many soft skills employers consider to be important qualities of a Business Analyst. The Business Analyst Body of Knowledge (BABOK) divides interaction skills into three broad areas: facilitation and negotiation, leadership and influencing, and teamwork. It’s critical that BAs possess these skills so they can navigate politics in order to build consensus on a project, and to mitigate conflicts. The point of these skills isn’t so much to… continue…

Why Is SIPOC Important for Business Analysis?

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When performing any process discovery or improvement activity, one first needs to know about the big picture and understand how it fits into the business. In this regard, SIPOC provides a simple framework. It provides structure for my notes from requirement gathering sessions. In the Six Sigma world, this is also known as Value Stream Mapping. What is SIPOC anyway? SIPOC is a high-level view of the “as is” state of a process under investigation. Typically, a simple data collection… continue…

Success Tips for Business Analysis Contractors

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In a webinar from the International Institute of Business Analysis, Laurie Ryan gave some great advice on being a contractor Business Analyst, and shared some effective ways of succeeding from job to job. If you’re a contractor now, or are thinking of becoming one, here are some of Laurie’s nice, handy pieces of advice to keep in mind. Ask hiring managers as many questions as you want. They should be able to give you any information you need. If you… continue…

Solutions to Six Common Hurdles BAs Face

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Usually in a System Development LifeCycle the requirements elicitation phase is right at the beginning — or at least should be, no matter what the methodology: Agile, Waterfall and everything in between. All Business Analysts know that it’s a crucial phase. However, since these are very focused sessions, it’s still not without its problem areas. This article will highlight six of the most common hurdles that are encountered by Business Analysts, and show how they can be solved, or at… continue…

BAs Can Use This Tool to Help Guide Their Careers

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According to the International Institute of Business Analysis, 2013 is the “Year of Your Career.” That means the association is focusing on providing its members with tools and resources that will help them succeed. To support this goal, the IIBA introduced the Business Analysis Competency Assessment in April. It’s designed to evaluate abilities in business analysis based on a standard set of relevant skills. It does this by analyzing answers to a series of questions that are aligned to A… continue…