A business analysts ‘tools of the trade’

I’ve been asked by a colleague how they can up-skill from their current position to become a business analyst. This is part 1 of the answer and it relates to the “tools of my trade”. I don’t anything too fancy with any of these but all play an important part in almost all the projects I’m involved in. The first four seem like obvious statements but tools don’t always mean technology..

  • Pen and Paper: Workshops and meetings
  • Whiteboards: Workshops and meetings
  • A3 sketchpads: Workshops and meetings
  • Post-it notes: Workshops and meetings

This next batch a core to all projects I have worked on;

  • MS Outlook: Email, tasks, calendar
  • MS Word: Functional Specifications, Requirements Documents, Business cases
  • MS Excel: Requirements catelogue, Bug tracking,
  • MS Visio: Process Models, Use Case Models
  • MS Powerpoint: Stakeholder relationship diagrams
  • MS Project: Project plans (when I am playing the Pm role)
  • Autonomy iManage: Document repository

These are occasional tools I use depending on the project.

  • BizAgi Proccess modeller: Process modelling design
  • Balsamiq: Wireframes and UI design
  • Freemind: Mindmaps, brain storming
  • Smartboards: Workshops and meeting, brain storming
  • OCS/Lync: Commuincating with project members and business specialists in disperate locations

Obviously there are many other tools out there, depending on approach, commercial vertical, budget and experience. Please add a comment with the tools you’re currently using and your background as it would be good to see what people are using.


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