Six Sigma

More Of A Mindset Than A Particular Skill

For me, many of the skills you see listed for business analyst jobs are more about that persons mindset than it is about the skill. Many hiring managers simply do not understand this concept because they think that years of experience at one thing is more valuable than the persons ability to adapt. 

For example, they might be interviewing two candidates for a business analyst position associated with a large online travel agency. One candidate has been working in that industry for 5 years on a large project that was eventually scrubbed. The other candidate has worked for three different consulting agencies in the last 5 years. None of the projects in that time frame were travel related but all were closed successfully. You might not be surprised if the first candidate gets the position because they are considered more experienced.

Most quality business analysts will look at the problem(s) presented before them, consider a framework that might match the scope and begin planning the processes that will be applied to meet the goal. This applies equally to both the skills they currently have and the ones they don't. 

For example, a business analyst might explore Six Sigma as a way to meet internal continuous improvement goals. They learn about the SIPOC method, find it interesting but don't have any current activities to apply it towards. Then months or years later, they see the perfect application for it. 

From their mindset, they will likely google SIPOC and get some refresher information from articles and videos. Then they begin to apply the SIPOC method in private on some of their internal deliverables. Feeling good about it, they decide to give it a go in a stakeholder workshop for requirements gathering. 

It is true that doing a thing many times will have some incremental value over doing it a few times. However, there is a threshold when you don't learn much more about a thing just because you have done it two dozen times instead of a dozen times.

So the most valuable skill to have is more of an attitude about adapting to the situation at hand. Even though you have no idea how you are going to do it now, you are confident that you will be able to find a way to conquer those challenges that seem to be overflowing with uncertainty and risk.