Analysis of technical writer and business analyst skill sets

Sue Woolley
by Sue Woolley

Last month I put forward the view that technical writers can make great business analysts because the skill sets are very similar, and by employing someone who has a background in technical writing you have the advantage that you will always get great written artefacts.

Today I want to go into a bit more depth on a comparison of the skill sets.

These are roughly taken from the two professional bodies of knowledge, the BABOK V3 and the Australasian TCBoK.

Core skill sets

Business analyst skill Similar technical writer skill
Business analysis planning and monitoring Project management and organisation
Elicitation and collaboration Interviewing
Research and analysis
Requirements lifecycle management  
Requirements analysis and design Research and analysis:
Strategy analysis Process improvement
Solution evaluation  
  Design, structure and layout of information
  Editing and quality control
  Output and publishing
  Visual communication

Personal attributes / competencies

Business analyst Similar technical writer skills
Analytical thinking Analytical thinking
Problem solving Problem solving
Business knowledge Domain knowledge
Communication skills Writing
Producing presentations
Interaction skills Client management
Tools and technology Tools and technology (some the same, some different)

You can see from the table that there are gaps in both directions, but there are a lot of similarities too.

Surprisingly, written communication only rates about half a page in the BABOK, 1/1000 of the content. Incredible!