Where I'm Coming From
In my last blog post I embarked on the flip side of digital transformation and lectured about the importance of ethics. I also talked about me being a Business Analyst. After that blog post was published I asked myself: "Why should this be so important to us?" Then I realized, the Business Analyst role - at least in The Netherlands - is not a static, predefined role with a fixed set of tasks and responsibilities; no matter clients asking for a limited set of skills, methodologies and knowledge.
A Business Analyst is basically reinventing or redefining his/her role every assignment, over and over again. The last couple of years I have seen a relative shift from clients hiring BAs predominantly because of their vast domain knowledge and to a lesser extent methodological expertise, to hiring them because of their behavioral skills. That’s where the ethics blend in. Clients ask a Business Analyst to act as their trusted advisor. This requires the BA to have life experience in addition to professional experience.
The Seasoned Professional
"How to qualify?", that is the question. Luckily, you don’t need to be Hamlet to answer this question. As a Business Analyst I am usually asked for my analytical mind with thorough understanding of the client’s business domain, both legacy and future challenges. This allows one to quickly absorb complex information. Also, my strong understanding of IT solutions and their internal operation, enables bridging typical role misunderstandings, for instance between an Analyst and a Developer. This makes designing smart solutions easier. Being proactive and having a customer focused attitude helps to get priorities right.
In addition to that, and increasingly as agile paradigms like SCRUM spread, I am being asked to represent the client. To take stakeholders by the hand into a new digital adventure. Manage, organize and structure the backlog and sometimes even facilitate the team’s internal processes. Being proactive and energetic motivates team members to deliver additional business value in an agile way. Being a team player and acting in an organization-sensitive way, but also having an independent mind completes the trusted advisor blueprint.
Typically, people that fit aforementioned characteristics excel in project roles like Business Analyst, Functional Analyst and Information Analyst, but also Functional or Technical Designer, not to forget Functional or Technical Tester. Your trusted advisor can also be a Functional or Technical Consultant, and in the agile spectrum, a Scrum Master or even Product Owner.
Typical Business Analyst Role Play
What makes the Business Analyst role so special? In John Kottcamp’s periodical marketing technology update, he stressed the importance of us, Tahzoo employees, to help our clients being successful in using marketing technology, hence being successful in business. Technology, sometimes intangible for our clients, is ever advancing, but being successful is more than effectively applying (new) technology. Business profitability is about more than just positive figures on a balance sheet. Being successful in business is also about the human factor. It is about building sustainable relationships with customers and employees. People like to associate with companies that stand out and that are nice to work with. The person playing the Business Analyst role “owns” this play field and in doing so, contributes to their client’s success.