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.

The Trick to Win-Win Negotiations

Posted In Working in Tech
In many situations, it’s common to feel as if someone is continually taking advantage of something—whether it’s you, the situation itself, or something you can’t quite perceive. Do you feel as if you need to wage constant battles in order to win the resources you need to complete projects? If so, a bit of a refresher on win-win negotiation skills may be in order. Effective negotiation helps resolve conflicts in a way where everybody gets at least a little of… continue…

‘Soft Management’ Is Key to Effective Teams

Posted In Working in Tech
Those who manage, or who work with managers on a daily basis, know that managers will often ask for status reports or meetings on a daily or weekly basis in order to judge how projects are progressing. And many times, those reports or meetings are where true “management” seems to end. In my experience, managing via status checks is one-dimensional and insufficient. For instance, it doesn’t take anything into account other than how work is progressing, which provides zero insight… continue…

How a SEA Can Help Your Company

Posted In Working in Tech
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What exactly is a Strategic Enterprise Analysis (SEA)? It’s the study, modeling, and maintenance of a company’s strategic direction. Sounds important, right? If you’re a business analyst, or even just an executive who’s trying to keep the company running during a rough period, conducting an SEA can prove an important part of your job. When the SEA Kicks In Why do an SEA? To get ready for a change in executive leadership, an acquisition, merger or a divestiture To respond… continue…

Why ‘Soft Skills’ Are Key for Innovation

Posted In Working in Tech
For business analysts, solving clients’ thorniest issues isn’t a purely left-brain exercise; it also requires “soft skills” such as creativity, holistic decision-making, and a willingness to learn. Let’s break down the importance of each. Creativity In the world of business analysis, creative thinking involves more than just thinking “outside the box,” as the cliché goes. Analysts should never take on the entire burden of creating a solution; instead, they should use enterprise analysis, interviews, and other tools to help colleagues and stakeholders… continue…

How to Head Off Communication Breakdowns

Posted In Working in Tech
How people and groups work together (or don’t) is just as important to organizational effectiveness as using the right strategy or being efficient at execution. But most managers and executives handle corporate interaction and communication in a very erratic way, which in turn can harm the results of the overall strategy. Check out the latest business-analysis jobs. In order to avoid this outcome, managers and executives should incorporate interaction planning into their management approach. The planning needs to happen at… continue…

How to Be a Better Business Analyst in 2015

Posted In Data
Now that we’re a month into 2015, it’s worth looking at our resolutions and seeing which ones will actually last us throughout the year. For business analysts, who work with the goals and objectives of clients in order to deliver more business value, it’s especially important to sit down and work through professional goals and objectives. With that in mind, here are four resolutions for becoming a better business analyst: Plan More There is always a need to find a… continue…

The Ideal Job Outline for Business Analysts

Posted In Working in Tech
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In broadest strokes, a business analyst (or BA) acts as a liaison between businesspeople and a company’s Information Technology staff. It is generally the analyst’s responsibility to interpret and define the information requirements of the business, and devise a suitable system to solve those needs, be it packaged solutions or in-house development (or a hybrid of both). Years ago, the BA’s role was spread across multiple jobs and titles, from System Analyst and Architect to even Programmer. For that reason,… continue…

The Business Analyst Food Chain

Posted In Working in Tech
Food Chain
When you think “food chain,” you generally think Nature. But within the business analyst community, “food chain” also applies to requirements. Take a look at the diagram above: that’s your food chain. If you figure out the impact of the requirements for each of the segments or “links,” you get a pretty good idea of how the system works overall. Click here to find business analysis jobs. In the first part, Feasibility and Business Planning, the exploration of business scenarios… continue…

Want a Successful Project? Try a ‘Pre-Mortem’

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Many companies host post-project meetings to discuss what worked and what didn’t, a process known as “post-mortems.” But instead of waiting until the end of a project to figure out what might have gone wrong, how about holding “pre-mortems,” in which all aspects of planning are discussed before everybody gets to work? The latter could help avert real failures. Click here to find project management jobs. With software projects, a pre-mortem might work something like this: At the very beginning… continue…

3 Things Business Analysts Should Know About Agile Methodology

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Over the past few years, software development has moved more rapidly toward Agile practices. This change impacts how business analysts perform their role. Click here to find business analysis jobs. Here are three key aspects of how business analytics works differently in an Agile environment: 1. The Analyst Evolves to Become a Key Player in Helping Companies Avoid Costly Software Development Problems There are many definitions of “software architecture,” but its ultimate point is to make sure that the development… continue…