I was talking with a Project Manager recently. She said that she thinks most Business Analysts get anxious when a project, or idea for a project, is not well defined. In her organization, the initial phases of a project involve looking for business opportunities, thinking about strategy, considering if the idea is aligned with the organization’s goals. I started thinking about her observations. Is she right? Are we as Business Analysts uncomfortable with an undefined “idea” about a potential project?
As always with business analysis my answer is: It depends! I do think that some BAs may be uncomfortable with the “fuzzy” nature of the task. We do like to get things done and we like to have a detailed understanding of the business needs. Having said this, I also think that some BAs are brilliant at looking at business opportunities/problems from a high level and “thinking outside the box” about options. One of the characteristics of an excellent Business Analyst is the ability to see the big picture and to see details. Even during detailed requirements gathering and analysis we should periodically step back to see the work from a broader perspective.
The reality is that all Business Analysts are not the same. I believe that our profession is going to specialize, just as many of the IT roles are specializing. Some of us will be more big-picture thinkers and some of us will be more detail-oriented. The good news is that there are lots of opportunities for us to bring value to our organizations!