Do you even know what a BA does? Part 2

I just saw an advertisement for a position with the following headline:

  • Team Leader / Manager /Business Analyst

At the bottom of the page it listed the required skills:

  • C#/.NET, Documentation, Application Design

This tells me that the hiring manager thinks a BA is a programmer who can write a sentence. If the significance of this is lost on you, allow me to clarify:

C#/.NET
Familiarity with a particular solutions technology is a “Nice to Have” in a BA because it helps if the BA is familiar with any design constraints. However, the solutions design is not the BA’s job. This is not simply a case of being a “jobsworth“; it is important for the person in the BA role to stay focused on the business need and leave the technical solution to the design lead.

Documentation
Could this be any less specific? What artefacts should a BA be able to produce? Some examples:

  • Business Case
  • Business Activity Model
  • SWOT Analysis
  • PEST Analysis
  • Stakeholder Analysis
  • Business Process Model
  • Conceptual Data Model
  • Logical Data Model
  • Request for Proposal
  • Statement of Project Scope
  • Requirements Catalogue
  • Requirements Traceability Matrix
  • Data Dictionary
  • Business Rules Catalogue
  • Functional Specification
  • Screen Specification

I’m not convinced the word “documentation” covers it.

Application Design
This is another “Nice-to-Have”.  Application design is not the BA’s responsibility and a hiring manager who thinks it is should not be managing a project.

If I were to write a set of required skills for a position of Team Leader / Manager /Business Analyst, my list would include the following:

  • Process Modelling
  • Logical Data Modelling
  • Requirements Management
  • Stakeholder Management
  • Change Management
  • Mentoring

And I would be looking at the candidate’s CV (resumé) for evidence of relevant experience and certification.

Takeaways:

  • Hiring managers / agencies: know what competencies and qualifications are relevant to BAs.
  • Hiring managers / agencies: stop thinking that business analysis can be done by programmers who know how to use MS Word.

Kind regards,

Declan Chellar

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9 comments to Do you even know what a BA does? Part 2

  • Krishna

    It’s really weird !..Looks like just copy & paste from some sources and forgot to modify it 🙂

  • Anand

    Declan, it also states clearly that the Business Analyst is just viewed as a ‘ROLE’ in any organization to bill the customers and not as a professionals who can bring value to the organization.

    Business Analyst as a profession requires lots of crystillization. Most of the time BAs are taken for ‘granted’ and used as content creaters or document generators!

  • Gopal

    Declan,
    It has been rightly called out by Anand saying “Just” document generators
    In the recent days, this ROLE has become more open to all that anyone can become a Busines Analyst for a highly paid remuneration… and hence, companies have started looking for such BAs with more Tech knowledge….Not sure where it is leading ….
    Something worst in store ??
    Regards
    Gopal

  • Jyothi Siripurapu

    Declan,

    Yes, I totally agree with you as I find plenty of these kind of job decriptions in Odesk. After speaking to hiring managers I found that they pefer all rounders. That is instead on taking one resource for team leader, business analyst and manager individually, they want one person who does all the work. Hence these kind of job decriptions.

    The main thing that drives is the *budget* allocated to the project. Instead of hiring specialized resource for each resource, they prefer one person handling all roles to cut the cost as specialized resources are expensive.

    This is one of the reason that many BA’s lose focus and change roles. Being in BA role for past 6 years, I know how tough to stay focused in business analysis and explaining to hiring mangers on what does a BA do? My observation was some of the hiring managers do understand, but *budget* is the main driving force for them.

    • Jyothi, I agree that at a certain level, people should be all-rounders. A senior analyst, senior designer or senior tester should all be capable of managing a team. In fact, the ability to lead and mentor a team should be part of the definition of “senior”, in my opinion.

      However, my issue is not with “roundedness”, it is with the assumption that in order to perform the BA role you need programming skills and documentation skills. The former is just wrong and the latter is so vague as to demonstrate total ignorance of the skills a BA really needs.

      When a hiring manager understands what a BA actually does, this is reflected in the language of the job advert. In the example I gave, only ignorance is demonstrated.

      Regards,

      Declan

  • Scott

    This document’s title is “Part 2” but where is Part 1?

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