Wearing Many Hats – The Modern BA
Over the years, I have seen Business Analysis evolve as a profession across industries more than I could have imagined. In all honesty, it`s no longer about simply sourcing requirements and helping baseline them, rather it`s far more than that. In the world of Agile and Digitization, a Business Analyst is expected to be agile and do more than what was once expected of the role. Organizations have become increasingly demanding and expect business analysis professionals to be able to carry out a mix of tasks and activities.
As a matter of fact, it is getting increasingly difficult for organizations to properly come up with a clear job description. What astonishes me is that in some organizations a Business Analyst is expected to carry out some of the activities of a Project Manager as well, whereas in others the Business Analyst may play a Scrum Master role as an extension of their core BA responsibilities.
One would agree that the PM or a Scrum Master role in some ways tightly intersects with the BA role which is why we see are seeing a hybrid set of responsibilities coming up for business analysis professionals. Listen to Paul Crosby, CEO and Founder of the League of Analysts delve deeper on this topic in IIBA’s podcast the Hybrid Business Analyst.
So, you must be wondering, how? Let`s uncover them.
- Stakeholder and Delivery management are two very crucial aspects for any project to succeed and the contributions of a business analysis professional become vital.
- In Waterfall projects the PMs are more reliant on BAs as far as the project status is concerned.
- A Business Analyst is a good negotiator and these skills come into the forefront during crucial and difficult conversations with a variety of stakeholders.
- In Agile Scrum projects the focus is on job role and not job titles. Scrum doesn`t prescribe job titles because doing so would require radical change which would be difficult for many organizations. According to Scrum, the people playing those roles can have any job title. For example, Product Owner can be played by a Product Manager, a Business Analyst, or a CEO. Scrum Master can be played by a BA as an extended responsibility depending upon the bandwidth of the individual.
- The job title is specific to the organization and their context not to Scrum. Organizations can decide on who is in which Scrum role based on what works best for their organization specific and their number of stakeholders.
On one of my projects I personally experienced a BA playing three roles simultaneously for the same project. i.e. the Scrum Master, Developer, and the BA role. To be quite honest, he did a pretty god job at that. So where are we heading? Are we going to see a whole new generation of BAs in the near future equipped with an altogether new set of skills? Perhaps, yes as adaptation is the key in the evolution process in any field and it`s no different for a Business Analyst.
So, the question really becomes how do we adapt to this change? Here are some useful suggestions I have found through my experiences:
- Leaner, faster, agile: The business analysis professional shouldn`t be bound to any specific job description and be willing to go beyond the call of duty. Technology is increasing our ability to do things at an exponentially faster rate. Time to market is getting shorter and shorter. Business Analysts that can adapt themselves seamlessly to the increasing demand for quickness and agility will survive and thrive. Those that do not; will not.
- Understand the concepts of digital and skill oneself up in this digitized world i.e. familiarizing oneself with concepts of AI, ML, RPA, etc.
As the role of the business analysis professional continues to evolve it is important to continuously learn and develop your skill set. Stay up to date by reading the latest whitepapers and blogs and listening to podcasts and archived webinars. Participate in conversations in IIBA’s LinkedIn Group and attend online Chapter events to grow your network.
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