I recently read the blog post The End Is Near For Business Analysts In Agile! by Michael Boris. Although I am fundamentally in agreement with several of his points, I believe there is room for clarification.
Does Your Organization Need Business Analysts or Business Analysis?
Whether your organization needs someone with the job title “Business Analyst” or not depends totally on what type of an organization you have. Having worked with so many different organizations in my career as a consultant and instructor in business analysis, I noticed that each has a unique way of doing things and needs support that allows those unique ways to work well. In certain circumstances the author is right. If an organization has Product Owners in charge of requirements (meaning they have truly embraced Agile software development), AND the Product Owner knows many business analysis techniques (meaning he or she knows how to define, write, and analyze requirements in a manner that effectively communicates the business needs in a language that software developers understand), I see no need for a Business Analyst role as such.
Business Analysis Techniques are Always Critical Success Factors
Although many organizations have implemented or are moving toward Lean and Agile software development, not all follow the Product Owner concept. That is common for those organizations following the SCRUM methodology. As we at BA-EXPERTS have always maintained, every successful undertaking needs someone “wearing the business analysis hat”. That individual or group does not necessarily need to have the job title Business Analyst as long as they have the skill set required for defining the company’s technological future.
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Getting and Writing IT Requirements in a Lean and Agile World
Business Analysis Techniques for Discovering Requirements, User Stories, Features, and Gherkin (Given-When-Then) Tests
A Variety of Job Titles Need Requirements Communication Skills
In summary, there is a tendency in today’s corporate world to require requirements definition skills from a variety of job titles. Some of our customers have ditched the Business Analyst position for what we call the “Tactical” and “Operational” Business Analysis. However, those organizations still have Strategic Business Analysts, albeit with different job titles (e.g., Business Architect, Enterprise Architect, etc.). The role of Strategic Business Analysis is needed more than ever in today’s complex technological world. That role analyzes business needs at the enterprise level. Regardless of whether the job title includes the term “Business Analyst”, her or his skills are critical success factors for focusing on consciously defining the future of the organization as it relates to information technology.