The conceptual role of the business analyst has evolved over the years. Unfortunately, in my opinion it has not evolved enough in either the minds of most business analysts or in the minds of those who employ them. For far too many the role of Business Analyst is still one that is focused only on project work and for most of those it is one that begins and ends with requirements.
But that concept of the role of the Business Analyst is one that I emphatically disagree with. I believe that it inhibits the application of business analysis skills to situations where they could benefit the organization and which thus reduces the value the business analyst can provide to an organization.
While the IIBA has attempted to change this view with the new definition of what a Business Analyst does in BABOK v3.0, I think that definition also misunderstands and short-changes the role that the business analyst can play in an organization. I believe that even the newest IIBA definition continues to tie business analysis (as both a function and a job) too closely with the project environment. And that this close conceptual tie to project work is holding back the profession and limiting its value.
So with this article I want to build on the concepts I started putting forward in April 2016 with my post “Have we mis-identified the core purpose and value proposition of Business Analysis?” I want to put forward for discussion a new perspective of business analysis that I hope will both broaden and clarify the concept of what a business analyst does, and how it can provide value to organizations.
I want to do this not only because I believe it represents a needed change for the field, but because I feel that that the recent entry of the PMI into the business analysis arena, and especially their role definition for business analysis, threatens all of the progress made over the last decade in moving the concept of business analysis away from a requirements focus. And that if those of us who practice business analysis can’t make a broader, clearer, and more robust definition of business analysis the default understanding of the field; we may soon be back to being thought of as just “those people who write software requirements”.