50+ Business Analyst Interview Questions

Business Analyst Interview Questions

Analysts are becoming more and more critical as technology is becoming to take a larger chunk of our overall operations. From the acquisitions of other startups to advance the balance sheet, to the early analysis of business potential before investing heavily into a particular area of interest. All of these things go through analysis. Product leaders, finance leaders and operational leaders inside a business rely on the knowledge of analysts both from an internal perspective but also an external one. Helping to make powerful decisions for the company while working inside it, and analyzing the interest of the business from others around it. A business analyst these days needs to have a firm grasp of business operations, software development methodologies and financial projection models in order to assess the strengths and weaknesses of a business. Below are some great business analyst interview questions and answers to get you started with your process.

Business Analyst Interview Questions & Answers Table Of Contents


1. What is the role of the business analyst in an organization?

• The main role of the Business Analyst is finding out the needs of the firm and finding their problems or even predicting the future problems to a particular level while suggesting the suitable solutions for the same and driving through the achievements of the organization.
• Business analyst roles may vary from one organization to the other and even from one domain to the other.
• The business analyst when it comes to a project may play the role of the Business Planner, data analyst, organization analyst, system analyst or technical architect.
• The main skills of the business analyst include getting a grip on the system engineering concepts, technical knowledge and certain leadership qualities not to mention, verbal and writing communication.
• The role of the business analyst can vary as per the needs of the employer considering some of them are limited to IT projects and few of them extend their responsibilities to areas within marketing, accounting and finance.

2. What is Business analysis?

This is the sequence of the activities implemented for assessing the business requirement needs. It is also to fit the required solution to allow for the success of the business. The business analyst then performs these sequences of tasks.

3. What are the professional and industry standards that are followed by the business analyst?

Industry standards, which have been set for the business analysts to follow, are the OOAD principles and Unified Modeling Language. This is a common language utilized by the business analysts all around the world for the purposes of drafting the functional requirements.

4. Why excellent communication skills are needed for a business analyst?

The business analyst is one that sits with the client and understands their point of view. They then tell the relevant personnel within the organization what has to be done and so the business analyst needs to have an excellent set of communication skills.

5. What is the difference between the data model and an entity relationship diagram?

The data model is the model that illustrates how the data is stored and utilized. It has three main areas which are the;

• Integrity part: the rules governing the structure
• Manipulation part: Operators used to select, query and update the data
• Structural part: how the data can be structured

6. What is the educational qualification that is required for the business analyst?

A business analyst does not necessarily require a particular educational qualification. If they are, a management graduates though that would present an added advantage because it would allow for better communication skills. One of the significant things the business analyst needs to have is sufficient business knowledge or acumen. Unless they understand the business process of the client in and out, they will not be able to draft the requirement in a proper manner.

7. Who are the end users for the Output produced by the business analyst?

The output is used both by IT and non-IT people considering the former use the document as the key for building the application. Non-IT people utilize the document where they would see the prototype of their application.

8. What are some of the significant points a business analyst has to take care of while preparing a business plan?

During the creation of a business document, the business analyst has to make sure that they start from small problems. The business analyst is not to jump to the big problems right away. They need to keep the business sponsors and IT personnel within the loop as well. The objective is to make certain the document clearly states the assumptions, limitations and exceptions. Sometimes there is a need to consider the legal issues. The business document needs to be written in the right manner for the sake of usability and for future projects.

9. How does one define a requirement?

The requirement is the capability possessed by a solution for solving an issue to attain an objective. The requirements are input to different stages of the Software Development Life Cycle and they have to be documented properly as well as validated by the business stakeholders and users.

10. What is the requirement elicitation strategy?

This depends on the type of the project. The business analyst can take advantage of direct collaboration occurring with the client, has facilitated workshops, interviews, and observes the end users. As such, it is possible to use approaches, which give concise information like scenario and simulation construction.

11. What are the major qualities of a good requirement?

The golden rule of evaluating the quality of a good requirement would rely on the SMART rule. The same is also used within research, a requirement ought to be:

• Specific: the requirement needs to be specific so it can be properly documented.
• Measurable: it should be possible to measure the success criteria of the requirement through tangible parameters.
• Attainable: the objectives of the requirement need to be feasible considering the available resources.
• Relevant: the requirement should be in line with the projects business case.
• Timely: the requirement has to be bound within the constructs of a deadline to increase verification or accountability.

12. When do you know that you have attained all of the requirements?

Once the requirements have all been gathered, the client can validate them. It is only upon the approval of the business users that the requirements are seen as completed. At the same time, it needs to be validated that they:

• They align with the business case of the project.
• They are elicited from each of the stakeholders from the main stakeholders of the project.
• When they can be done with the resources which are there.
• When the stakeholders are in consensus with the requirements as elicited.

All of the requirements that pass above four criteria are considered as formal and final. These requirements are documented and so they become a part of the scope of the project.

13. What are some of the documents that are prepared by the business analyst?

During the course of the project the business analyst is constantly looking to assist technology in order to achieve the business requirements of the enterprise and during this pursuit, they prepare a number of documents which include the following:

• Requirement management plan
• Project vision document
• Requirement traceability matrix
• Business requirement document
• User stories
• Use cases
• Functional requirement specifications

14. What are some of the best practices to do when writing a use case?

• Capturing both the non-functional and the functional requirements within a use case
• Including the use case diagrams with the use case
• Including the User interface details/ notes within the use case

15. What would a typical day at the business analyst position seem like?

This is meant to ascertain the working experience of the interviewee and the manner that they are able to handle several things and the perception that may be had concerning the position. The right answer is as follows: the business analyst should know there is no typical day because of how varied their work is during the course of the normal day. The interviewee should show their experience by explaining how they would respond to the emails or online correspondence, meeting with the experts in the particular fields, and clarification of the business flow to the technical team as well as discussing with the project manner on the status of the project.

16. What are some of the tools, which are very helpful to business analysts?

The process performed by the business analysts is termed as Business Analysis. The tools include rational tools, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, MS Project, PowerPoint and the ERP systems.

17. What does the term benchmarking mean?

This is the process of measuring the quality of products, policies, rules, programs and several other measures of an organization against the standard measures or against the other companies. This would be utilized in order to measure the performance of the company in order to compete within the industry. The main objective of benchmarking would be finding out the different areas of improvement within the firm. It is also to analyze how the competitor companies are achieving their particular goals.

18. Distinguish between a risk and an issue.

A risk is just a problem or something, which can be predicted earlier so an improvement plan is used for handling them. An issue on the other hand means the risk, which happened. The role of the business analyst is not to give a solution for the issue but to suggest a plan to control the damage, which has already been incurred. This ought to be marked as one of the precautionary measures for the other projects.

19. What is a misuse case?

This is done by the user, which may cause a system failure. It could be malicious or intentional. Considering it is misguiding the system function flow, it would be said to be a misuse case.

20. How would one handle and manage difficult stakeholders?

Dealing with difficult stakeholders is one of the harder tasks for the business analysts. There are several ways that one would handle these situations as some significant points would have to be noted;

• Identities the problematic stakeholders from the group then listen and concentrate on their perspective with an air of patience. You need to be polite and do not close the conversation off immediately.
• Generally, the stakeholder is going to be difficult because they may not be comfortable with a number of things within the project. Therefore, it would be advisable to listen to them and answer their questions in a diplomatic manner.
• Find a way of meeting them personally in order to have a one on one discussion. Through this, one will be able to show their commitment toward them.
• Try to find and resolve their motivations such as the source of their worry for the budget for the project or them being disenchanted with the way the project is heading, that may not be according to their vision.
• Continuously engage with the problematic stakeholders and then make them understand their contribution gives a lot of value to the project.

21. Which are some of the diagrams that the business analyst needs to know about?

• Activity diagram: this shows the flow from one activity to the other. The activity would be a reference to the operation of the system. • Data flow diagram: graphical representation of the flow of information into and out of the system. This diagram shows how the data may be shared between different firms.
• Use Case diagram: this diagram shows the set of actions the systems may do with one or more users for the different systems. The use case diagram is also known as the behavioral diagram.
• Entity relationship diagram: the entity relationship diagram is part of the graphical representation of the entities, not to mention the different relationships between them. This is one of the data modeling techniques.
• Class diagram: this is a structural diagram, which shows the structure of the system through illustrating the objects, classes, methods or operations and so forth. The class diagram is a fundamental block for detailed modeling that is used for programming.
• Sequence diagram: this describes the interaction between the objects like the way they operate in and what time sequence the messages from one particular object to the other.
• Collaboration diagram: it represents the communication happening between objects through showing the messages which flow among them.
• Entity relationship diagram: the ER diagram is a graphical type of representation of the different entities and the relationships, which connect them. This is used for data modeling.

22. Discuss scope creep.

It is also referred to as requirement as a term that denotes the uncontrolled changes within the scope of the project without an apparent increase in the other resources of the project. Scope creep is a risk to the operation and tends to be caused by improper management and documentation pertaining the requirements of the project not to mention poor communication between the stakeholders of the project.

23. How does one avoid scope creep?

This is a hindrance to the success of the project and may be avoided through:

• The clear documentation of the scope of the project.
• Following proper means of change management.
• Informing the effects of the change to the parties affected before making the change.
• Refraining from additional features to the functionalities that are already there.
• Documentation of the new requirements within the project log.

24. What is the difference between an exceptional and an alternate flow of a use case?

Alternate flow concerns the alternate actions, which performed apart from the basic flow, and these may be considered as the optional flow though the exceptional flow would be the path that is traversed in the event of an error being thrown. In an example, on a login page, the ‘Forgot password’ is the alternate flow and the system that shows the ‘404 error’ when the correct username and password are entered represents exceptional flow.

25. What is a flowchart and why is it important?

The flowchart shows the complete flow of the system through the means of symbols and diagrams. It is important as it makes the system easy for one to understand for developers and nontechnical type of stakeholders.

26. Give a definition of Use Case Model.

The use case model illustrates a sequence of events and provides a stream of actions of any process that is performed by actors.

27. Do you believe that an activity diagram is important and give the reason why this is the case?

The activity diagram is about the activities within the system. The main objective of the activity diagram would be illustrating different events taking place within the firm in different departments.

28. What does SWEBOK mean?

This is Software Engineering Body of Knowledge.

29. Discuss GAP analysis.

This is a process, which entails comparing and determination of the difference between two processes or things.

30. Define Agile.

Agile refers to an approach, which uses a number of lightweight methodologies like Rapid Application Development, SCRUM and Extreme Programming. Each one of these methodologies focuses on the development of the iterative solutions.

31. Are you familiar with different SQL series?

What are the different parts of an SQL Statement? It is not mandatory for the business analyst to have advanced technical abilities though it does help when they are knowledgeable when it comes to SQL and relational database technology. This question would illustrate familiarity when it comes to understanding of SQL. The SQL statement has three parts including the Data Definition Language or the DDL, the Data Control Language and the Data Manipulation Language.

32. Give a difference between the Fish model and the V Model.

The fish model results in more time wastage when it comes to dealing with requirements as compared to the V model. The fish model is also more costly than the V model. The Fish model is generally more popular though when there are zero uncertainties concerning the requirements.

33. Which model happens to be better than the Spiral and Waterfall models?

The selection of a life cycle model for a project can be based according to the limitations, scope and type. It is mostly dependent on the culture of the organization, their terms and conditions, the policies and the processes concerning the development of the system.

34. What does INVEST mean?

Invest is to mean independent, negotiable, valuable, estimable, sized appropriately and testable. Using the INVEST process, project managers and the technical teams are able then to deliver the quality of the product and they would be able to provide quality service.

35. What are some of the steps included during the development of a product from the basic concept?

• Market analysis: this refers to a business plan where the attributes of the market have been studied effectively such as the way the market changes and behaves in a dynamic manner.
• SWOT analysis: this concerns a process through which the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and threats of the organization would be identified.
• Personas: there are typical users of different websites or intranet who represent the objectives and attributes of different large groups of users. The personas would replicate the real users within functional design.
• Competitor analysis: evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the external competitors.
• Strategic vision and feature sets: the process of developing the goals at the present and planning to achieve the same during the future through moving towards the vision.
• Prioritizing features: each of the features of the product, which is to be developed, would be prioritized by the management in order to assist the development team.

36. What is Pareto analysis?

Pareto analysis refers to a technique in decision making which is for quality control activities and can be utilized in the tracing of resolutions for different defects. Thus, it is grouped as a method for decision making according to the statistics that with a small number of selected inputs, it is possible to have a great effect on the result. This is also known as the 80/20 rule considering as per the analysis, 80 percent of the benefits or the project is achieved from 20 percent of the work.

37. Discuss Kano Analysis.

Kano analysis is a significant technique, which is used in the classification of different client requirements of new products. Kano analysis basically deals with the needs of the end user for the product. The characteristics of the Kano analysis include the following:

• Threshold activities: these would refer to the properties that the customer requires to be available within the product. • Performance characteristics: these would show a number of extra attributes which are not necessary for the product but they can be added for the enjoyment of the customer.
• Excitement attributes: these would be the properties, which the customers are not aware of but they are excited at the time they find these properties within their products.

38. How would you go about doing a system vendor evaluation?

If you are applying for the position of a business analyst, some of the things you would have to be involved in possible include;

• Treasury system evaluations such as Murex, Summit, Charles, River and Simcorp • Core banking system evaluations from Temenos, Olympic and SilverLake

System vendor evaluations may entails the following:

• Research and compilation of a list of the suitable system vendors
• Defining the detailed criterion for evaluation a list of vendors
• Defining a high-level evaluation in order to reduce long lists to short lists, which entail three to five vendors
• Developing a request for proposal in order to send the shortlisted vendors
• Evaluating the vendors according to detailed evaluation criteria
• Inviting the vendors for a demonstration and submitting the responses to the RFP
• Selecting and awarding the chosen vendor

39. Give a definition of SaaS.

This is short for Software as a device. It is a term related to cloud computing. It is different from the other software bundles because one does not need this software to be installed on their machine. All you need is a web browser and internet connection in order to use it.

40. Define application usability.

This is the quality of the system, which makes the system useful for the end users. The usability of the system is good in the event that it is capable of achieving the objectives of the user.

41. Define OLTP systems.

OLTP stands for On-line transaction processing. These systems are capable of doing database transactions and they are supposed to provide good speed for the database type transactions. These systems are mainly utilized for data entry and the retrieval of data from the database.

42. What does FMEA mean?

This means Failure Mode and Effects Analysis. It is a failure analysis, which is mainly utilized within product development system engineering and operations management. This analysis is done in order to ascertain the different failure modes and their level of severity within any system.

43. What is the 100-point method?

This technique is utilized for assigning priority to different steps within a process. Each member of the group is meant to assign points to different steps. In the end, each of the points for each step would be calculated. The step that has the highest points then has the highest priority.

44. What is SQUARE?

This term stands for the Security Quality Requirements Engineering. It is part of the software engineering steps, which particularly focus on the documentation of the security needs of the system.

45. What are the components of the UML

• Structure: attribute, class , component, interface, object, package and actor
• Behavior: event, message, operation, state, method operation and use case
• Relationships: association, composition, depends, aggregation, generalization

46. What would you do if the client claims that the analysts cannot directly talk to the users?

In the event of this, then you can explain the purpose of your talk and the reason why it is important to talk to the users in a direct manner. You can explain to them that it is going to be high risk to the project if the analysts cannot talk to the users in a direct manner. The client would then give access to the indirect users but explain the quality of the requirements is not going to be good. Hopefully the client is going to agree by that time or it would then have to be flagged as a higher risk in business requirement document and highlighting during the meeting with the project sponsors and the project manager. It is the duty of the project manager or the sponsors to give a person access to the direct users.

47. Write short notes on configuration management and version control within the business industry.

By definition, version control is fundamentally a subset of configuration management. It is particularly concerned with the handling of changes that are there in the previous documents as opposed to configuration management, which basically handles the individual components.

48. Where did you utilize Rational Rose & Requisite Pro?

When creating different modules of requirements for different type functions and finally collect together to make a single requirement document, you use Requisite Pro to do this. You can also use Rational Rose for creating the business model as the visual representation.

49. What are the different software methodologies?

SDLC, RUP, SEI-CMM, Six sigma, SWOT, Cost benefit analysis, Risk analysis and Gap analysis

50. What is OOAD?

This is termed as object-oriented analysis and designing in full. It is utilized in coding the object-oriented languages such as c++, Java and SAP Basis.

51. What is UAT?

This is known as User acceptance testing. If the UAT fails then that means the business analyst did not understand the requirements given adequately.

52. Give a definition of the Pair-Choice technique.

The Pair-Choice approach is utilized in order to give particular priority to different items in a process. It is mainly utilized when the distinctive stakeholders are involved within the project. This technique asks the group for comparing each of the items with the other and selecting the one that has the highest priority.

53. What is the BCG matrix?

This is known as the Boston Consulting Group Matrix, which has been developed for the purpose of analyzing a number of business processes and new product offerings from firms. It is useful as a tool, which can be utilized within portfolio analysis, product management, brand marketing and strategic management.

54. What is the difference between swimlane and pool?

Swimlane refers to group activities on the activity diagram while a pool is a dedicated activity to a particular individual.

Additional Business Analyst Resources

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.


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