Is “Business Analyst” a Job Role Facing Extinction? NO!

Is “Business Analyst” a Job Role Facing Extinction? I keep seeing this question popping up on discussion forums and it is getting tiresome.

I find the question naïve and the following was my answer to a thread on LinkedIn today:

Business analysis is an essential skill in any change initiative. Firstly, you need to have a business model in place before you can even choose a technology. This work is done by dedicated business analysts. Even on Scrum projects, you cannot run sprints where there is no defined business model. When you get down to software development, if you are running a Scrum project where there is no BA role and software developers are collaborating directly with users in order to implement elements of the business model, all parties need to apply business analysis as a skill in order to ensure the business need is understood.

Developers who maintain a solution mindset when talking to the business will build the wrong solution because they will not have understood the need. Business analysis as a skill will always be needed on software development projects and the business analyst as a role will always be needed in defining business models.

Moreover, not all projects are suited to Scrum, I would say most would follow a risk-based RUP-type methodology, where there is a defined BA role.

Is the BA role becoming extinct? Far from it.

Even technology companies like Pegasystems who have traditionally championed developers’ talking directly to users without BAs in the middle are now acknowledging the need for Pega Business Architect. Why? Because it is all very well saying in theory that developers should be able to talk to the business in business terms, but in practice (in my experience), most developers find it very difficult to shake off the “solution mindset”. This is why even Pegasystems have defined the Pega Business Architect role (by which they mean business analysts, because the Pega BA does not get involved in the business architecture, but rather in requirements analysis).

Does that clear this question up now?

Kind regards,

Declan Chellar

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