Introduction to business analysis

Success is not achieved by hard-work but by perseverance.

Over the past several years, one job title which has emerged out as the most prevalent is Business Analyst. When I started my career in 2007, I had a mindset that the business analyst must be those people who are the owners of any business, but as the years rolled and as I became more familiar with the IT industry, I came to know more about the business analysts and the task they perform.

business analysisOne should understand that the business analysts are not by birth but by the process. If I refer IIBA BABOK to explain business analyst, the definition would be like, “A business analyst works as a liaison among stakeholders in order to elicit, analyze, communicate and validate requirements for changes to business processes, policies and information systems”.

But business analyst is not only bound to this definition. He is the one who has lot more things to do well in time with quality. While most organizations have the designation “Business Analysis” and hire a high-profile “Business Analysts” to fulfill the demands but there is always a lack of clarity about the work should be given to business analysts. There are always many questions in the mind like, who are business analysts? What is business analysis? What do business analysts do? What should be the minimum qualification to be a BA? Etc.

In the glimpse of these unclear questions organizations are always in a dilemma in order to whom to hire as a business analyst. Business analyst’s posts can be filled by former product user, a subject matter expert (SME) or a senior developer involved in developing the product, a PM who has always been there to understand the requirement or a person having only business background having limited computer skills. But there are always many other dedicated IT professionals who worked as analysts for any product. If I give my example, I have been given a role of Business Analysts after gaining experience in Business Process Management application. This application was new to our organization and thus I had a lot of scope to develop my business analysts’ skills in order to understand the functionality of the application and the tool on which the application was built. One thing which I believe is most of the times is unacknowledged when we talk about BA and i.e. “customer service”. A BA is not just a liaison between the stakeholders but a bridge to support the customers. Customer satisfaction is one thing which a BA should develop in him.  Customer service itself is a broad area which varies from conflict management, stakeholder management, building rapport before the stakeholders and not the least building comfortable environment for all the members to perform.

Some BAs will feel that the last point which mentioned above is kind of PMs job but I feel like if a BA is a liaison among different stakeholders, it is his duty to develop a comfortable zone for all the teams to perform.

Laura Brandenburg a passionate business analyst, a mentor and an author quotes, “Business analysis is not about completing deliverables but about the process”. In simpler words we can say a BA is a person who follows all the processes in performing any tasks. One should understand no two different tasks can be completed by using one process; this is the BA who defines the best process to complete the task.

business analysis1Now the question arises who can be a BA, the answer to this question is any person can be a BA, each and every fellow has the analysis skills in him but the one who figures out them in the lesser time is the Business Analyst. Some people say that a BA should be technically sound to understand the technicalities of the project but I believe that the one who can understand and convey the requirements in easiest way can be a BA. Then it doesn’t matter whether you are a developer, a scrum master or a Project manager.

Let me tell you a very short but motivational story of a golden eagle which I heard in one of the workshops held for team building.

There was a man, James who likes the tracking and photography. One weekend he was out with his camera to shoot some morning pictures, he found a very big tree with a very big nest in that. He became very keen to know what was there in that nest so he decided to climb the tree. He climbed that tree and found a big egg in that nest. He became very excited and took that egg and came down. He decided to take some more pictures so he kept that egg in his bag and started taking pictures. Suddenly he found a hen was hatching her eggs. He took the pictures and suddenly an idea came to his mind. He kept that big egg there and went out from there.

Some days later young chickens came out from the small eggs and a small bird came out from that big egg. Seeing the world first time that bird was very excited. He came out of that shell, roamed around and saw some young chickens and was very happy to know that they are his siblings. Time passed and that bird grew with those chickens. One very bright day that bird saw a golden eagle in the sky, and thought if he could fly that high in the sky. He discussed the same with those chickens but the chickens knew their reality. They know they can’t fly that high. They told the same to him and advised him not to think that in the future.

flying golden eagleNow the question to you, what you think that bird would have done:

1. Tried to fly in the sky.

2. Died of thinking that he was a chicken could not fly.

I am sure 90% of the people who have heard this story should have polled for point 2. This is because we only think what others portray before us. We never think of changing the ways. We never think of our own caliber and strengths.  Now it’s your call, which option you want to choose.

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