Traits Great Business Analysts Share

This post originally appeared on October 6, 2010 on

Quora recently asked What innate traits do great Internet product leaders share? As I read the list, I realized that these are the same traits shared by great business analysts. I highly recommend reading the response by Chris Wetherel, the first in the list, as its a great post. There are a few that I would add though.

  • Planning = Its one thing to have the skills to produce a great requirements document and something completely different to be able to plan for putting together the document, assigning out which resources will pull together which portions, to identify stakeholders, plan review sessions and achieve sign-off. Great analysts think not only about doing the task, but about what it takes to get the task done and how to best approach the tasks that are not yet on anyone else’s horizons.
  • Flexibility = Despite our best plans, projects never actually go according to the plan we created at the beginning of the cycle. We must be able to adapt and to do so faster than anyone else around us. We cannot afford to be the one the rest of the project is waiting on to get our act together.
  • Value-adding = People see the value in developers; if they were not there no software would be produced. People see the value in business users; if they didn’t exist, none of the actual work of the business would get done. Business analysts are what I refer to as ‘friction reducers’ as we enable the speed of projects to increase and to provide processes and tools that in turn allow the business itself to speed up.
I’m sure there is a similar list for PMs as well as BAs. What do you all think? What are the great traits you see for project professionals?