I’ve been reading and observing for a long time how organizations tend to remove the title Business Analyst, specially in the context of agile environments. I’d like to reflect on this matter in this article.
According to The PMI Guide to Business Analysis, published in december, Business Analysis provides a great value when it comes to business necessities, managing risks and reducing re-working, minimizing the flaws in the products and getting the satisfaction of the stakeholders.
Almost nothing. Any organization, in any sector, would consider those values necessary and indispensable. And, in fact, that is the situation: we find Analysts of Strategy, Portfolio, Data, Systems, Processes, Technical Analysts… we also find Product Owners, Product and Project Managers and members of the development team that are, at least partly, responsible of making a Business Analysis.
The necessity of a good business analysis to succeed in projects and initiatives of change is increasingly recognised. Nonetheless, it is never the responsibility of a single person, but it is distributed in different roles, specially in bigger organizations. Some of those roles have a more strategic nature, but other are more specialized and there are even hybrid roles where business analysis is only a part of the role’s functions.
And therefore, does it exist a definition of who is the business analyst? IIBA and PMI agree on defining it as “any person that realizes a business analysis”. Ok… but, how can we describe it in detail?
My opinion is that an analyst is not defined by the techniques or methods that they know, but by their skills. In other words, analysts are not valued by defining good requisites, but by delivering solutions that are in accordance with what is asked, suitable to answer business’ necessities. We have to consider the business analyst more as a communicator, as a product consultant, as someone with enough ability of influence in all fields: business, technology, with clients and suppliers… more than an analyst, a Business Influencer.
The trendy word! According to Wikipedia, an influencer is “a person that has credibility to certain degree about a specific theme and, by their presence and influence in social media, they can become advisors of interest for brands. They are able to set trends and to create changes in the consumption habits.” We find a good definition of what a business analyst should be by changing some words. For example, organization for consumption habits. We also have to acknowledge their influence not only in social media (without denying its influence, including in corporative and public media) but also in any field of communication inside and outside the organization.
I think that is the key concept, independently of the title, to realize with success the function: a certain degree of credibility, presence and influence, skills to set trends… as analysts we have to work in our credibility inside the organization, in the business and with our technical teams. We have to improve our communication skills, interaction, easiness, and our ability to create confidence and familiarity.
To achieve this, in addition we have to be always alert for new trends, ideas that may come up and that we can channel towards real transformations of our organization. We have to listen, to create trustworthy professional relationships. To make the most of the opportunities to learn that every project gives. The analyst, ultimately, as a change agent.