Business Analyst Interview Questions and Answers
by Venkatesan M
Q1. Can you define what is meant by a Business Analyst?
In simple terms a Business Analyst is a facilitator between top level management and Developers / Testers. Which means a BA will gather requirements from client or stake holder and understand those requirements, documents those requirements in detail steps and prepares Functional requirement specification (FRS) documents. Then those documents will be given to Developer team to start writing coding and Testing team to test the coded application.
In this process, several questions will come from developers or Testers and those questions will be answered by Business Analyst, if the BA does not know the answer then the questions will be directed to client or SME (Subject matter expert).
So in a nutshell, a Business Analyst will have to work on a continuous basis with a motive of improving the clients business.
Q2. What is the typical role of a Business Analyst, what does he do and what are his responsibilities?
This is a typical question that would be quintessential to be answered by every candidate who is appearing for the job.The most important responsibility of a business analyst, you could sum up as saying would be that of excellent communication conduit.
He or she would be required to conduct this smooth communication between the actual stakeholders and the entire team that is present. Remember, it depends upon organization to organization to answer such a question.
Thus a basic research about the company you are giving an interview, is a must. You can chose from these points when you are answering for the requirements of responsibilities for the interview.
- Thoroughly investigating various goals and small issues.
- Detailed analysis of information.
- Rapport and being in talks with a wide variety of people.
- Document findings and research.
- Evaluating good solutions.
Q3. How do you gather requirements from client? (requirements gathering)
Yes, requirements gathering is one of the most important responsibility of a Business Analyst. A business analyst day starts from gathering requirements. So what is requirements? requirements are nothing but foundation step of a any project. So gathering requirements is not a easy task as many think, if by any chance the project fails, then majority blame comes to business analyst. So you need to be very careful while gathering requirements. So how best you can gather requirements.
Listen clearly what client is saying, write down each and every step in a notebook, do not interrupt the client when they are explaining about requirements. Even if you have 100 questions, wait for your chance. Do not expect to clear all your questions in one sitting. Usually there will be few more meeting before we finalize or freeze the requirements.
While the discussions are going on, ask yourself few questions. What is the purpose of these requirements? is it a new application or upgrade to existing application? or it is migration from one technology to other technology? (example: From mainframe application to Java based application). What are the road blocks in this process? Do we have proper technical resources to implement this project? Do we have enough budget? Are we getting enough time to complete this project? These are all the common questions to ask ourselves in order to get best requirements.
Q4. What are the various common tools which would be thoroughly required to be used by a business Analyst?
The common and basic tools that may be used by any business analyst could be many.
They may vary from MS Visio, MS word, they even could be MS Excel, MS Power Point, to even MS Quality centre/to even MS test director and also MS Project. There may be other tools that may be very niche to this job. These tools may be the tools which are client specific and also some which may be supplied by the client. Being thorough in business and being very upfront about are calls for the basic need of any company.
Q5. What is a Use Case Model
A Use Case model consists of use case diagram supported by use case descriptions. The diagram shows the processes (Use Cases) in an area, and the actors (job roles) associated with them. The Use Case Descriptions give a description / step-by-step account of the process.
Q6. What are your goals as a Business Analyst?
I want to go for the professional Business Analysis certifications such as ISEB and in the near future will be striving for the PRINCE 2 certification also, which will enable me to grow in the Business Analyst career path
Q7. Give us a list of some documents which could be needed by a business analyst to treasure?
There can be many documents which may or may not be required by business analysts. It actually depends upon the need and utilization process of a business analyst.
Some of the documents which may actually be of use would be these-BRD, FRD or even more of FSD (Functional Requirements).
They can also range from Change control documents to even some documents like the Mapping documents. Knowing about the requirement of these documents at the perfect time may be the need of the hour during an interview.
Q8.What is the technique known as PESTLE used for
PESTLE is a business analysis tool used to assess the environment in which the business has to be operated. It stands for the perspectives of: Political, Economic, Sociological, Technological, Environmental, Legal. It is used to analyse the external environment and identify constraints, opportunities and pressures of the environment from those perspectives.
Q9. If dealt with a project, what would be your typical approach? When exactly would you be done with requirements?
You are your boss, so plan how your efforts will begin from start to the end. You will tell them the exact points and also convince them how and when you would be finished with the job.
You will be able to meet a set of clear and what is called as approved requirements that would represent the business need and would have been completely vetted by the solution team.
Q10.What can you tell me about “Porter’s 5 Forces”?
Porter Five Forces is a framework to analyse the level of competition within an industry, based on the 5 forces of: Suppliers; Buyers (customers); Rivalry with those already in the industry; Threat of new entrants to the industry; and Product substitutes which may threaten competitiveness. It can be used to understand the competitive environment in which an organisation operates and to influence organisational strategy. The originator of this technique is Michael E. Porter of Harvard University.
Q11. If the requirements are changing rapidly in the world, then how will you be able to organize yourself and also be competitive with other business analysts?
If you are applying for the job of a business analyst where all that your employer needs you to do is be fast and a little pumped about it.
You will have to show you are with the pace. Your requirement, which will also change, will be completely inhabited by you.
In no way will you make your employer feel that you were not able to cope up with the changes. Also be able to convince your employer with minimal words, what the requirement would be.
Q12. What do you think are your strengths as a Business Analyst?
I think that I have following strengths in my past profile as a business analyst:
The right mix of functional and technical knowledge , Ability to communicate effectively between the development (whether internal or third party vendors) team and the end users. Strong levels of persistence and quick learning capability. Finally Adaptability to the work environment as desired.
Q13.What is a “Swim Lane” diagram
A business process model using swim lanes is the most popular process modelling technique. It shows a sequence of tasks performed by a particular actor or department, triggered by a specific event.
Q14. What do you think are your weaknesses as a Business Analyst?
I believe in turning my weaknesses into strengths, so I strive towards having a calm and cool attitude. Also, I would like to at par with the latest technology in the market but it is not always possible.
Q15. Fundamental questions like what is business validation and all?
A business analyst candidate is supposed to be clear with his fundamentals and basic questions like these.
Business validation is the process when you required the validation of actual verification of the client’s requirements. This must be as per the required and eligible signed off agreement.
A complete business impact analysis of every requirement is very much needed.
During an interview, it is like the hard and fast rule that you be in a position to convince your employee that you know everything and you should be able to do that very well.
Q16. What is a User Story
A User Story is a format for a requirement derived from Extreme Programming and widely used by Agile teams. It is a requirement stated from a user point of view, with the format:
As a <user role>, I want
<requirement> so that
Q17. Tell me how has your qualification helped in your job/ work experience?
It is one of the important question to be asked to someone who is doing business analysis job.
If you are applying for a job that requires you to be a business analyst, you will need to be smart enough to convince your employer on “how your particular qualification is going to assist you in doing better in the required job”.
Be it an MBA, a BMS degree or anything else, you must very well know how to be able to convince the employer to tell him that you will be able to do the job skilfully.
Q18. What is the motivating factor which you expect from your role as a Business Analyst?
Believing that the work done by me is contributing in the organizational growth and success is my utmost motivation. It is a feeling of knowing that the work done by me has contributed towards the company’s good results, and being a part of that achievement, howsoever small my part might have been gives me great pleasure. I know for sure that if the company is performing well, then it will definitely down the line look after it main resources. its employees and I would be a proud party to that!
Q19.What does INVEST stand for?
INVEST stands for Independent, Negotiable, Valuable, Estimable, Sized Appropriately and Testable. It is a way to check the effectiveness of User Stories by building them to these criteria. Bill Wake is the author to note in association with this.
Q20. Why did you choose this profession?
A very typical answer to these questions could be different for different people.
Some can say innate interest, some can say for the money or some can also say that it was the closest job to staying close to business and not directly investing your energy in it.
However, a very good answer to the question could be to say you always had an eye for good business.
You can narrate examples how you solved case studies in classroom and enjoyed doing them, how you have an eagle’s eye as far as understanding and decoding business is concerned. Always stick to the point while answering such question.
Application usability is the quality of the system that makes it suitable for its end users. In other words, it allows end users to achieve what they need to. It concerns not only the right functionality in the system but the user interface through which this is presented to the user. User Experience (UX) is a job-role in its own right with its own professional standards.
Q22. What can you do for us that other prospective candidates cannot?
I am confident on being the best fit for this role as my principles are I believe to be in line with the company vision and mission. I will bring to the organization my technical know-how as well as my functional expertise, striving to achieve success for the company.
Q23. What is the difference between re-insurance and insurance claim handling?
Such tricky questions can be asked with the sole purpose being too out the candidate in a big worry-cycle.
The answer the employer expecting is a direct answer which you as a probable candidate can mess up if you are tensed about it. Remember an interview is there just to know how confident you are.
Thus, it is very necessary that you are completely aware about the difference that exists between Insurance claim and re-insurance claims.
Basically an insurance claim is something that is settled in company whereas a re-insurance claim would be a thing that is settled by Reinsurance Company.
Q24. What is a functional requirement; What is a non-functional requirement?
Functional Requirements: These are requirements which define what the solution will do (or give the user the ability to do)
Non-functional requirements: sometimes referred to as “Quality Attributes”, these specify how well the system needs to perform against certain criteria. These criteria are attributes such as performance, security, usability, compatibility which are contributory to its success. They are a required characteristic of the system.
Q25. What is UML? What are the tools which are generally used by business analysts for UML diagrams?
UML is Unified Modeling Language and is a worldwide standard for diagram-based object-oriented modeling. Class diagrams, Use case diagrams and Activity diagrams are usually used by business analysts during their functional documentation and requirements analysis process.
Usually, business analysts use any of the following tools for UML diagrams:
MS Visio, Rational Rose, Sparx Systems, Enterprise Architect
Q26. What others question the employer could ask that the employee would have for him or her?
As a business analyst, you also would be required to ask certain questions about your job to the client.
Generally a job brief does not necessarily fulfill all the requirements of knowing the details of the job and then you end up asking the interviewer.
Here you are required to ask questions like demonstrating your ability to ask better, thoughtful and some really intelligent questions that would be required in the interview. You must necessarily try to pose questions that pertain to your job.
You can ask him or her about the salary details, appraisal hike graphs and how it is done and something about perks in the company.
You can also clarify with him or her about the criteria of leaving the previous job and coming to you. You can tell them what you expect from the job and various requirements.
Q27.What is Kano Analysis?
The Kano model is a theory of product development and customer satisfaction developed in the 1980s by Professor Noriaki Kano, which classifies customer preferences into five categories.
The original paper is in Japanese. However, these categories have been translated into English using various names (delighters/exciters, satisfiers, dis-satisfiers) or (Will, Want and Wow factors).
The Kano model offers some insight into the product attributes which are perceived to be important to customers and those which they take so much for granted that they would not be excited by their presence, but would be dissatisfied by their absence. Kano’s model focuses on differentiating product features, as opposed to focusing initially on customer needs.
Q28. What are some of the challenges you have faced as a Business Analyst
As a business Analyst, one has to be an interface between the users and the technical team and provide regular support. Some of the major challenges which a business analyst has to face in his profile are:
There should be clarity regarding the requirements as they lay the foundation of the project. In case of any gaps, there can be huge repercussions.
There are several software methodologies, technologies, documentation standards in the market and they keep on evolving. The business analyst has to be on top of such methodologies and trends to be successful in the profile.
The business analyst Is regarded as the knowledge house regarding domain knowledge and has to keep on updating himself with the industry and company know-how to keep himself at par.
Q29. What can you tell me about MoSCoW prioritisation?
MoSCoW is a time-dependent way of looking at requirements priorities in terms of:
- Must Have
- Should Have
- Could Have
- Won’t Have this time
It is fully described as a part of the DSDM Agile Project Framework but widely used by other agile approaches.
Q30. How will you mentally structure and physically prepare yourself when there is a huge workload?
A business analysts’ job can be tough. Many businesses who hire full time employees want their business analysts to be taken for a full day period.
They will be required to be in office for long hours and sit and analyses the functioning of the work very carefully.
They are thus required to be able to chart out and find the nuances with the business chart of a client and be able to develop some story or some graph out of it. This must be done quickly. This is the healthy requirement of a business analyst.
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