I attended the Project Summit/BA World in Boston this week. Once again it was great to be with so many individuals who understand the importance of business analysis work. Most of the same challenges that we have been talking about for a couple of years still plague organizations: lack of understanding of the roles of PM and BA; not enough time allowed for analysis and requirements development; difficulty getting time commitments from business stakeholders; and lack of authority and career growth opportunities for business analysis positions. Although many people still say “users don’t know what they want,” more and more people are recognizing that business analysis work is the key to helping users understand what they need and how best to solve their business problems.
I spoke with a few forward thinking managers who see the BA role as one that will improve our organizations significantly. They talked about the role of the business analyst being the person who looks at the project within the context of the big picture. BAs ask the ”why” question before diving into a project and want to make sure that the project result will be in alignment with the organizational goals. This broader perspective is one that PMs sometimes do not have. They are given a project and work to get it done. The BA is the person who raises the red flag when the objectives of the project seem outside of the enterprise objectives or don’t make good business sense. A business analyst who sees the “forest” and the “trees” is a very valuable resource whose expertise and skill set are really coming into the fore front of many organizations.