I was chatting to a friend the other day who explained to me that his company does not have anyone working under a Business Analyst title. I thought to myself “that’s strange, how can an IT consulting firm negate the professional role of business analysis”. I was assured that the company has been around for more than two decades so they are obviously using a business recipe that works.
The reason why this company does not formally have any BAs is because business analysis is a process that is performed by various team members where it is needed. The solutions architect might do some business analysis. The product consultant will do some requirements gathering but he is not a BA, he is a product consultant. An enterprise architect is also responsible for some BA tasks.
The problem I find is that the BA role can be so broadly used. Some places are too generous when they use the BA title. Other firms ignore the profession altogether!
I felt a bit frustrated that the profession that I’ve spent years trying to get into is not yet defined professionally let alone understood by the public.
Who is a Business Analyst and what do they do?
When I’m asked this question in relation to my role I think the best way to explain it is in common simple terms.
A business analyst is someone who likes to communicate between two different groups. They can be seen as a translator. A business analyst is often presented with problems to solve. They might not resolve the problem entirely but they are the first ones to think about the problem enough to start crafting a solution.
The reason I got lured into the profession was in my first year at university whilst studying a Bachelor of IT. I didn’t care so much for software programming but I was disturbed at the percentage of IT projects that fail. I thought to myself, “why aren’t people working on this to improve the statistics”? I later found out that errors in the analysis and design phase proved critical to project performance.
Being an introverted thinker, I always enjoyed solving problems of all types. I also like talking to people. I use to get in trouble throughout schooling for being a chatter box! It taught me to listen to people though. To understand that not everyone comes to the same conclusion in the same fashion.
To combine my problem solving passions with my interest in conversations, I almost felt that the BA career was made for my exact skills set.
So I am surprised and a bit concerned when the BA role is misinterpreted, so much so that it is not even used. I hope all IT firms that don’t hire BAs are travelling ok. There is so much specific BA work to do with every project that I thought every other IT practitioner would be too busy to perform the BA roles adequately.
How important is it to have a specified BA in your IT team?