Are you wearing a Business Analysis Hat?
Are you wearing a “Business Analysis Hat”? You may still find yourself performing Business Analyst activities even when it is not your job title.
For a great deal of my career my job title has been “Something… Analyst”. I have found myself performing analyst activities even when “Analyst” has not been mentioned in the job description. Lots of people tell me they have had similar experiences.
Rigid demarcation or flexible roles?
Some organisations have rigid demarcation between roles. In these organisations just reading someone’s job title tells you what they do: Business Analyst, Project Manager, Developer etc.
In smaller, less structured organisations, everybody “mucks in” to do the work.
Even in the more rigid situation, Analysis is an activity overlaps with others. Analysis clarifies what needs to be done. Business Analysis is not so much a question of who is doing it, as what they are doing and what tools they are using. Anyone can find themselves wearing a Business Analysis Hat!
What kind of Business Analysis?
One of the classic metaphors used for Business Analysis is a bridge connecting “Business” and “Information Technology”. Business Analysts use metaphor a lot. We spend a lot of time saying:
- “This is a bit like that”, or
- “This represents that”
When we do this we are trying to “facilitate” communication between the two sides of the bridge and helping each side understand what effect they are having on the other side. “Facilitate” is one of the buzz-words you may hear a lot!
This facilitation role has several aspects, which are not mutually exclusive. Some of the activities I have seen are:
- Managing “Requirements” – Put what “The Business” asks for into a formal structure. These “Requirements” are used by “Information Technology”. “The Business” understands the solution in terms of these requirements.
- Encapsulating IT – Summarise the complexity of “Information Technology” so “The Business” can make informed decisions.
- Working with Numbers – Use IT tools to understand aspects of “The Business” and present those insights to the business.
What kind of tools will you use?
Analysts use “soft skills” and “documentation skills” but they also make extensive use of “models”. You will hear mention of:
- Process Models
- Data Models
- Use Case Models
- and several more.
Understanding what the different types of model can give you and choosing the appropriate model for you situation can make communication more effective. I plan to explain some of the different models and notations in later blog posts.
Business Analysis facilitates communication between The Business and Information Technology. Analysis clarifies what needs to be done. Almost anyone can find themselves “wearing the Business Analysis hat”!
Communication is not only in one direction. Analysis uses many kinds of model and using the model which is appropriate for the situation can make communication more effective.