Thursday, January 10, 2013

Business Analysis - what is it, anyway?

Way back in college I had a an economics professor who was a bit radical. I took his Intro to Economics course, and the first thing he said is " The only thing I am not allowed to change is the name of the course, but  what I will be teaching is totally different than what the course description says." And that is what he did.

I say that because sometime between then and now I started this blog and called it "Business Analysis". At the time it seemed to be the best name for attracting readers for what I would write.

Since then, one of the ongoing discussions out here in the interweb is, just what is Business Analysis? What does someone called a Business Analyst do? My usual rejoinder is to re-use of some Bill Clinton's words: "It's the Requirements...dummy." OK, I leave out the "dummy" unless i really know who I am talking to, but that is the essence. Suffice it to say, my answer (repeated many times, which you could see across many linkedin BA groups) has not  settled the issue. And that's OK, one must not assume their opinion will matter to everyone, especially when they have not paid for it (like buying a book or attending a conference).

(An aside: I was in a tourist shop somewhere and it had a little laminated sign that said "Everyone is entitled to my opinion." I bought and put it on the wall in my cubicle... when I still had one.)

So, to get to a point here, I wish I could change the name of this blog to something more specific to Requirements, but so far I find that is not possible on this platform, and I don't want to start a new one and lose followers and such. That is a technical problem, but it illustrates that I want to be more specific about what I post about. I think that could be summarized with a title like "Requirements Discovery". Until I (bother to) sort out the tech thing, just think of that name when you come by this blog.

So, if you are reading this post because of it's title, I will admit that I did not specifically answer the question; I can only opine on what I think it is: that its core is Requirements Discovery, Description, and Documentation and, despite what else a Business Analyst is asked to do (project manage, test, etc), BAs are the only people/role that has this focus.I don't mean to restrict the scope of what anyone thinks Business Analysis is, but I say if you are not doing Requirements work, then you are probably doing something other than Business Analysis.

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About Me

Ontario, Canada
I have been an IT Business Analyst for 25 years, so I must have learned something. Also been on a lot of projects, which I have distilled into the book "Cascade": follow the link to the right to see more.