An effective business analysis practice does not exist in a vacuum. Business analysis requires intense collaboration between diverse groups of people with different interests and approaches.
Business analysts are responsible for making this collaboration. They facilitate – make the communication easier.
To make a BA practice successful, we should discard the narrative that business analysis is part of IT organization, that the BA’s are on the IT side. Business analysis should never be “on the other side of the table” from the business.
Business analysis capability must serve business, first and foremost. Information technology is an enabler required to support required business capabilities.
When a company starts a new initiative, it will have business goals. To make the change successful, business analysts must work alongside business stakeholders, being their listening ear, advisors and apprentices. And they must earn stakeholders’ trust.
Through immersion and job shadowing activities, BA’s can learn about the real business process – not the one that’s been recorded in standard operating procedures a few years ago.
Through interviews and information collection, BA’s build business knowledge.
Through frequent conversations, BA’s nurture friendly relationships with business stakeholders that are vital to their collaboration.
BA’s listen, ask, learn, and try to understand. They will create artifacts and models that reflect this understanding – and help stakeholders articulate their needs better and more precisely.
They need to be like therapists who try to help figure out “what exactly is wrong, and what will make you happier, and let’s see what we need to do to achieve it.”
If you want to build a successful BA Practice, you must nurture this mentality – both within the business analysis team and with business executives.
The close collaboration of the business analysis team and business stakeholders – both strategic and operational – can bring one more key benefit.
It helps develop a foundation of enterprise knowledge management: understanding of business data, business rules and processes across the organization and as they change with each project.
So that every initiative is executed from the vantage point of understanding the business, supported and enabled by appropriate technology.