If you are managing a business analysis team and come from a different professional background, you may wonder what business analysts are supposed to do – literally. How do you know they are productive? How much time do they need to complete tasks? What are they doing in those meetings? What is there to do between the meetings?
It’s a broad topic worth a good, grounded discussion. The image below is just a glimpse into the types of activities required to discover, understand, analyze, capture and validate requirements.
BA’s research, analyze, communicate, and make things happen.
During the discovery phase, they search for information, discover unknown details, ask a lot of open-ended questions, listen and observe.
They engage in many conversations, seek sources of information, investigate, learn and describe what they’ve discovered, capturing it for further analysis.
Then, they use their business analysis skills to analyze this information. Some of it may not be relevant to the problem and will in the end be discarded or parked for later.
Some will turn out to be unclear or insufficient and will call for more business analysis activities to understand the process and the issues.
Business analysts will review, compare, break down complex concepts and will try to figure out the cause and effect. They will measure, query the data, define terms and elaborate on the rules and dependencies.
This is where a lot of magic happens and where professional BA training is crucial.
As BA’s lead these activities, they are not doing it in isolation. They will be constantly working with different people and groups – communicating.
With some, they will explain and communicate what they’ve discovered and seek understanding, approval, or additional information.
With others, they will collaborate to discuss, clarify and validate, get what else might be missing, brainstorm possible solutions, design features or possible compromises.
This is were analysts synthesize and create something new – synthesize business requirements, visualize future improved process, design and model solutions and their components, draw diagrams and wire frames.
They facilitate meetings to make decisions and reach a common understanding of business requirements.
They contribute to planning, prioritizing, execution and implementation of change.
To summarize, business analysts are among the most versatile professionals engaged in business projects.
Follow the “Effective BA Practices” series to learn more about developing business analysts into powerful resources to help your organization change and thrive.