The Duties of Business Analysts Are Onerous and Challenging
Where are the Middle Managers? Those were the folks who used to have time to contemplate how their people could work more effectively. With the demise of “middle management” (as a result of the downsizing trend so popular a few years ago), few people in the organizations today have time to think – everyone is too busy doing their job. (NOTE: An in-depth treatment of this topic is covered in the excellent book Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency by Tom DeMarco). Actually, all is not lost. The task of contemplating how to improve workflows and make the organization more efficient nowadays falls into the responsibilities of Business Analysts.
Business analysts are expected to be able to assimilate the business processes, information needs, workflows, personel qualifications, training and backgrounds, and information technology solutions currently being used by a group of folks to achieve a specific business outcome.
Based on this in-depth knowledge (which the intrepid business analyst is expected to accumulate in 2 – 3 of days), they are then expected to:
- identify business problems, meaning understand what is a business problem and how to express it in a manner that allows for the creation of multiple possible solutions
- analyze business problems to separate preconceived solutions and symptoms from the “real” problem
- prioritize the business problems to ensure that your limited resources are spend on the most critical issues
- select the best solution from the list of potential solutions; and
- define that solution in the form of business and stakeholder requirements that the IT department (or whoever else is going to implement the solution) can understand and deliver
Mission Not So Impossible?
In many organizations, the self-same business analysts are expected to write the technical specifications for the solutions and determine how to test the solution once it is delivered. Some business analysts are even responsible for coding, implementing, and distributing the solution to the business community and then training the business users in the use of the new solution! If this sounds like “Mission Impossible”, maybe because it is.
To be effective, professional business analysts need the people skills required to work with both the business community and the IT community. They need to be a quick study to learn the terminology of the business community and they also need sufficient technology understanding to assess what the IT community proposes. In addition, they need to have techniques for performing the tasks typically associated with business analysis (problem analysis to solution definition). This is a doable job – and we can help. BA-EXPERTS offers business analysis training in all of the techniques that business analysts need to do their job.