Business Analysts, Which Side of the Fence are You From?

One size does not fit all when it comes to the role of the business analyst!  Two important facts when it comes to performing business analysis work in an organization: (1) your job title does NOT always describe what you do and (2) job titles are like hats, and one person may wear many hats on a particular project.

Business analysts come with a plethora of job titles and skill sets.  If business analysis is walking the fence as a liaison between technology and the business, then folks who practice it can come from whichever side of that fence.  Few business analysts actually begin their careers as one, me included.  Some folks start on the technology side of the house, and often progress through more technical job titles such as systems analyst or requirements engineer.  Other folks start on the business or user side of the house and may have job titles such as process analyst or product owner.

The International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA™) has a great model for understanding your business analysis skills and knowledge, and evaluating your strengths and weaknesses.  IT is a little more complex than my “what side of the fence are you from?” model. Access to this model is free for IIBA™ members, so have a look and see where you stand!

Their Business Analysis Competency Model, Version 2.0 takes a closer look at the role of the business analyst on today’s projects and initiatives.  This model classifies business analysts using three categories: generalist, specialist and hybrid.   The generalist role is effective across a wide range of techniques and able to adapt to a range of project circumstances.   The specialist role uses a limited set of business analysis techniques with great skill and expertise, often working on complex business problems.  The hybrid role combines business analysis competencies with other professions, such as project management or testing.

It’s always good to understand what makes for a successful business analyst.  It isn’t just knowing what tasks to do, it’s the behaviors you employ to execute those tasks that really makes the difference!

Serious project managers seeking to enhance their knowledge, skills and professional credibility target should consider sitting the IIBA™ Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP™) certification exam.  Learning Tree offers an excellent certification course for folks interested in becoming a CBAP™ along with an entire suite of courses devoted to mastering the skills of business analysis across the project and product life cycles of your organization.  

Susan Weese

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