The great efforts of groups like the IIBA notwithstanding, Business Analysts still face an image problem. Many people either don’t know what we do; think we exist as stenographers or order takers; or worse just think we get in the way. We could blame Tom Smykowski from Office Space, or we could take a look in the mirror. Stand in a room full of business analysts and you are bound to hear the phrase “gather and document requirements” a nauseating number of times. Folks, we can do better. We are in a unique position to drive our organizations to greater success, if only we could apply our business analysis skills in the right direction and at the right level.
The purpose of this blog is to share my thoughts on how those of us who perform business analysis activities can position ourselves as leaders in our organization. Not necessarily leaders of others, but leaders in the quest for improved organizational performance. In other words, how we can go from business analysts that are dealing with requirements to business advisors who are providing solutions.
I discuss the tools and techniques commonly associated with business analysis, but the focus is mainly on when to use those tools. Many others have done a fantastic job of describing how to do them, and I would be wasting my time duplicating their excellent work.
I discuss tools, techniques, and lessons learned from other fields that are just as helpful, if not more so, to performing business analysis as those commonly accepted good practices. I may spend a bit more time talking about how to use those tools and techniques because they may not be too familiar to some BA’s. I also discuss when they are the most appropriate. Business analysis practitioners are more effective when they have a broad knowledge base and know when to apply some uncommon approaches to solving complicated problems.
This blog is not just for people with the title of business analyst or performing the role of business analysis, and I’m not interested in justifying the position of business analyst and trumpeting that every company and every project has to have one. I’m more interested in exploring all the situations and occasions where business analysis can be helpful. Proper application of the tools will speak for themselves as to their worth.
Not too long ago I heard a leader in one organization refer to business analysts as a role that just got in the way and belong only in large companies. I believe this is largely due to the image problem that I mentioned above, and also realize that impression is enforced by many in the profession who focus so much on the means (a requirements document) that they lose complete sight of the end – solving their customer’s problems. I hope through this blog to dissuade people of that impression through helpful discourse on how to solve problems of many different organizations big or small, through business analysis practices, tools, and techniques.