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30 terms you must know as a Business Analyst

Business analyst is a generic term for various roles in Company. Activities that are covered with this role are related to the improvement of processes & operations, products/services and software. The general trends and practices are indicating that the people who are working as business analyst on projects are shifting more frequently from one industry to another. This is because, no matter the industry, there is a significant amount of activities that Business Analyst is performing at the high level of abstraction.


"Business analysts are responsible for discovering, synthesizing, and analyzing information from a variety of sources within an enterprise, including tools, processes, documentation, and stakeholders." - The BABOK® Guide

Since BA could be very wide term and could cover variety of activities, it could be useful to group some of the most common activities. This way a more clearer image could be provided about which type of activities a certain role is performing.

1. Business organization and model analyst

  • defines/help in defining the Company's policies

  • documents systems.

  • defines/help in defining organizational schemes.

2. Business process analyst

  • participate in the standardization of the organization’s workflows.

  • document business processes.

  • helps business by defining and highlighting areas for process improvement.

  • perform various data analysis.

3. Systems analysis / Product analyst

  • identifies gap between the business and the technology solutions.

  • assists in Integration and Testing of new solutions.

  • requirements analysis.



For all business analysts, no matter which group of above mentioned activities the role is covering, there are some common terms that are used in everyday work. Below is the list of 30 terms that Business analyst should be familiar with. The list is not final, of course, but definitely covers major topics related to the BA.

  1. Activity - A unit of work performed as a part of process.

  2. Attribute - A data element with a specified data type that describes information associated with a concept or entity.

  3. Baseline - A point-in-time view of requirement that have been agreed upon to serve as a basis for further consideration.

  4. Business Need - A high-level business requirement that could be a statement of a business objective.

  5. Business Rule - A specific, actionable and testable directive that is under the control of the business and supports a business policy.

  6. Cause And Effect Diagram - Diagram used to identify potential factors causing a specific event.

  7. Cost Benefit Analysis - Analysis containing the comparison of the: (1) financial and non-financial costs of making a change or implementing a solution and (2) benefits gained.

  8. Data Flow Diagram - Illustrates specific group of processes, along with the flows of data to and from those processes.

  9. Decision Tree - Illustrates conditions and actions in sequence.

  10. Defect - A deficiency in a product or service that reduces its quality or varies from a desired attribute, state, or functionality.

  11. Domain Subject Matter Expert (SME) - A person with specific expertise in an area or domain.

  12. Enterprise Architecture - A description of an organization’s business processes, IT software and hardware, people, operations and projects, and the relationships between them.

  13. Feature - A cohesive bundle of externally visible functionality. Each feature is a logically related grouping of functional requirements or non-functional requirements.

  14. Impact Analysis - Assesses the effects that a proposed change will have on a stakeholder or stakeholder group, project, or system.

  15. Indicator - Identifies a specific numerical measurement that indicates progress toward achieving an impact, output, activity or input.

  16. Methodology - A set of processes, rules, templates, and working methods.

  17. Model - A representation and simplification of reality developed to convey information to a specific audience.

  18. Process Map - A business model that shows a business process in terms of the steps and input and output flows across multiple functions, organizations, or roles.

  19. Product Backlog - A set of user stories, requirements or features that have been identified as candidates for potential implementation, prioritized, and estimated.

  20. Root Cause Analysis - A structured examination of an identified problem to understand the underlying causes.

  21. Scenario - A series of actions or tasks that respond to an event.

  22. Sequence Diagram - A diagram showing the objects that are participating in interactions and the messages exchanged between them.

  23. Stakeholder Analysis - Analysis of identifying the stakeholders/group of stakeholders who may be impacted by a proposed initiative and assess their interests and likely participation.

  24. SWOT Analysis - Analysis that is covering Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats related to one organization/system.

  25. Timebox - A fixed period of time to accomplish a desired outcome.

  26. Use Case - Represents the description of the tasks that the system will perform.

  27. Use Case Diagram - Diagram that is capturing all actors and use cases involved with a system or product.

  28. User Acceptance Test - Set of test cases performed by users to make decision whether the delivered system/software is acceptable.

  29. User Story - A high-level, informal, short description of a solution capability that provides value to a stakeholder.

  30. Verification - The process of checking that a deliverable produced at a given stage of development satisfies the conditions or specifications.

As previously said, these are not all of the terms that one business analyst should be familiar with, but are definitely very important and most commonly used in practice. More information about business analyst role, about certification, job titles and average salaries, you can find here.


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