Staying with problems, means that we keep on asking how we can solve those problems.
The American life coach and performance strategist, Anthony Robbins often says that successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.
This seems like a very obvious statement and yet people seldom follow this advice. Sometimes we tend to somehow revert to run-of-the mill questions, like: “…can you tell me what you do?”, or “…describe the steps involved in this process?”, or “…what do you think the problem is?”
Why is that? Are people afraid of ruffling feathers? Would it be too confrontational if people ask questions that really expose core issues or problems? Are we concerned that asking questions that stakeholders are not able to answer? Or are people merely lazy to apply their minds and reduce the number of questions to the real core, important, maybe even tough questions?
Fact of the matter is, that if you are performing any kind of analysis, you need to become very comfortable with asking difficult questions. Questions that make people uncomfortable and questions that might even potentially expose unpopular answers.
The intention of asking questions like these, is certainly not to create discord or tension, but rather to get to core issues at hand.
The experts across the world who were involved with the writing of the latest version of the BABOK®  on behalf of the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA ), included a variety of techniques were questions are pivotal. Among these widely used techniques are:
Apart from spending some time preparing quality questions, we should also spend some time thinking about the approach to follow when asking such questions. HOW you ask the questions are critical to your success. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care”. This is especially true if you are going to ask potentially tough questions.
It would be wise to establish rapport before blasting the interviewee with your questions. If people feel threatened, they will not answer your questions truthfully and these answers will not be of any value anyway. Body language, tone of voice and establishing trust are all important factors to take into account during such a session. But more than that, putting yourself in the shoes of the person being questioned, is equally important. Creating an ‘us’ and ‘them’ will not be conducive to getting to the bottom of a problem or to creating an effective solution.
In his book,  “Just Ask!”, Bill McGrane says that success can be as simple as asking the right questions. He goes on to say that if you create a climate of acceptance, where people feel accepted, understood and relaxed, your chances of getting valuable answers increase dramatically.
To be a great analyst, you’ll need to ask great questions. In order to ask great questions, you’ll need to remain inquisitive. So I leave you with this thought:
Never let go of your willingness to wonder, of the power of curiosity. Just imagine … you can make a fulfilling career out of simply being curious and learning more… by just getting good at asking questions…
Are you interested in learning more about becoming a good, or even better Business Analyst?
Then I highly suggest you enroll for our BA Career Coaching.
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