Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 170 total)
  • What do ‘Business Analysts’ do?
  • doris5000
    Member

    There are quite a lot of them involved in this work project at the moment. They sit at the side of meetings and don’t say much, but do have posher laptops than anyone else.

    I presume they’re doing something important, but what?

    What do they do in your organisation?

    Premier Icon ajaj
    Subscriber

    They prevent the business people from explaining what they want to the developers. See also product owners.

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    Analyse…. Business.

    Or:

    Premier Icon bikebouy
    Subscriber

    There are quite a lot of them involved in this work project at the moment. They sit at the side of meetings and don’t say much, but do have posher laptops than anyone else.

    I presume they’re doing something important, but what?

    What do they do in your organisation?

    Titles in the title.

    Ask them, indulge yourself.

    Learn about other parts of the organisation and what others do..

    It’s educating.

    But I guess you’d rather come on here and ask the question instead of building up relationships in your own workplace.

    Says a lot really.

    strike
    Member

    “They sit at the side of meetings and don’t say much” that’s because WE are we’re busy listening, taking notes and analysing!

    When ever anyone asks me what my role involves as a business analyst, my fast/easy answer is that I am the go-between between the business and IS.

    What do ‘Business Analysts’ do?

    They identify the next lot of people to get “streamlined”

    “They sit at the side of meetings and don’t say much”

    “….much like lions, silently gazing at a herd of wildebeest, to identify the weak and the injured”

    IHN
    Member

    I’m one, have been for pretty much twenty years.

    They prevent the business people from explaining what they want to the developers.

    A good one will help the business people to work out what they really want, and make sure the developers understand that too, rather than developing what they think the business people want.

    A (probably weak) analogy; imagine someone wanted a house built but had no experience of building a house; would it be better for them to talk straight to the brickies or talk to someone like an architect who can help them tease out exactly what they want to get from the house.

    I think I’m pretty good at it and my clients seem to think so too. There are, however, many who are bobbins. In my experience permie BA’s are generally the latter, contractors generally the former.

    A (probably weak) analogy; imagine someone wanted a house built but had no experience of building a house; would it be better for them to talk straight to the brickies or talk to someone like an architect who can help them tease out exactly what they want to get from the house.

    Clearly, you’ve never had a conversation with an architect 😉

    Premier Icon Gaz.dick
    Subscriber

    Business Analysis is such a wide term now!

    Ideally, they should help gather requirements, write criteria in which devs should follow to build. whether that’s stories, Acceptance Criteria or Design documents.

    As above, can act as a go-between Devs and business; translator, design, analytics – a bit of everything really!

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    my fast/easy answer is that I am the go-between between the business and IS.

    🤷🏻‍♂️

    doris5000
    Member

    But I guess you’d rather come on here and ask the question instead of building up relationships in your own workplace.

    Says a lot really.

    perhaps it does. in my reading, it says that I am daunted by these big rooms full of high rollers with opaque job titles that I get summoned to a couple of times a year, and that I’m embarrassed to ask questions like that, for fear of emphasising my obviously junior status.

    I was admittedly flippant in the OP, so perhaps I gave a different impression, but it was a enuine question.

    xraymtb
    Member

    It’s what I do.

    The main thing for my role is making sure ‘improvements’ are based on actual data and not just the whims of someone in the operation. Almost every company I’ve worked in has suffered from people that think they know what is wrong and what will fix it. Usually they are wrong.

    A good one will be able to identify root cause, define the scale and impact, understand if a solution will work, and to what extent, then be able to communicate that to both the operation and to developers. A bad one will take whatever the head of a department says they want and in a roundabout and complex way misrepresent that to a developer so the solution neither works nor gives anyone what they want, never mind what they need.

    DT78
    Member

    rather than ‘go-between’ I use the phrase translator.

    bad ones just sit and write down everything verbatim and then chuck it over the fence to the devs. Bascially well paid Dictaphones.

    good ones help develop the business’s thinking, and often have experience of the domain the change is needed in so can help with influencing sensible type requirements, and are respected by the dev teams for the insight they can bring (and the prevention of hospital passes)

    Premier Icon beej
    Subscriber

    OP – If the most junior person in a large meeting came up to me afterwards and asked what I did (with my posh laptop), I’d probably offer to arrange a time to sit down and explain over coffee/tea/beverage.

    Most people are quite nice, it can be daunting to ask initially but it’s a great way of finding out more about your company and could even lead to something interesting.

    Premier Icon stumpy01
    Subscriber

    My mate is a business analyst and every time I ask him what he actually does on a day-to-day basis in his job, he mumbles a bit & then changes the subject.

    I am not sure if he just doesn’t want to talk about it, doesn’t actually know or is really a bin collector & doesn’t want to admit it…. 🙂

    doris5000
    Member

    A (probably weak) analogy; imagine someone wanted a house built but had no experience of building a house; would it be better for them to talk straight to the brickies or talk to someone like an architect who can help them tease out exactly what they want to get from the house.

    no that is quite useful, thanks. Makes sense. In this analogy I am probably a cook or, uh, someone who otherwise will be using the new house for their work….

    Premier Icon w00dster
    Subscriber

    I’m in the IT side, have a number of Business Analaysts working for me. Invaluable role to be honest. We are a large enterprise organisation. The technology team need clear well defined requirements, this can’t come from an individual, especially in cross functional applications. A business analysyt will look at the entire user journey and will understand the totality of proposed changes. This will then be documented and articulated in a manner the technical team understand. During a project they will also be able to perform the opposite function, breaking down the technical solution into a way that each of the business areas can understand.
    IT are a support function of the business, a good BA will ensure that the tail does not wag the dog, but still understand the technical constraints IT will be working within.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    My mate is a business analyst and every time I ask him what he actually does on a day-to-day basis in his job, he mumbles a bit & then changes the subject.

    Perhaps he’s a Tory MP and just uses ‘business analyst’ as a cover….

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    Ideally, they should help gather requirements, write criteria in which devs should follow to build. whether that’s stories, Acceptance Criteria or Design documents.

    Isn’t that just Product Management?

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    I like your explanation best xraymtb.

    Can we swap you for the one we’ve got here?

    IT are a support function of the business, a good BA will ensure that the tail does not wag the dog,

    Welcome to my world.

    kcr
    Member

    As a one-liner, I would describe Business Analysis as making useful information available to the right people.

    Organisations have lots of information floating around, but it is often poorly documented, confusing or ambiguous, and frequently hidden from the people that need it. Business analysis is about cutting through that to identify what is really required and documenting it in a way that everyone can understand. This frequently involves translating between different parts of the business who have expert knowledge about what they do, but are not necessarily good at communicating this information to people outside their area.

    They prevent the business people from explaining what they want to the developers. See also product owners.

    Exactly the opposite of this. BAs turn business aspirations into something concrete that developers can work with, and ensure both parties have agreed the scope of what is being delivered, and what is not being delivered.

    More generally, particularly as a contractor, Business Analysis is a bit of a jack-of-all trades problem solving job, and you could be working on any stage of a project, from inital requirements through to delivery. None of the projects I work on are exactly the same, and my job usually changes even within the life of a single project.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    Based purely on the comments on this thread, it sounds like they’re prime B-Ark material. (-:

    At least they’ll get good haircuts…

    IHN
    Member

    Isn’t that just Product Management?

    Not quite, but the whole adoption of Lean/Agile/SaFE/Scrum etc is having quite an effect on the traditional role of the BA. A lot of very traditional BA’s are struggling with the new ways of working.

    IHN
    Member

    In this analogy I am probably a cook or, uh, someone who otherwise will be using the new house for their work….

    So the BAs should be talking to you about what you need to cook, how often, for how many people, how often you may have days you have to cook for miles more people than usual, how many people are cooking alongside you, how often you order your ingredients, how much storage space you need, what appliances you use, what appliances you think you need and why etc etc…

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Sometimes, the name ‘business analyst’ is given to some poor gradaute who is given a load of documents about a business and has to plough through making what they think are ‘requirements’ for a project. Those people I pity.

    A really good BA though, they are the ones who take charge of the process of figuring out what the project actually needs to be, rather than what all the involved parties imagine it should be. They should make everyone think the right way to get the results they want.

    The example I always used to give was as follows:

    Customer: All dates input into the system should be valid.
    BA: What do you mean by valid?
    Customer: You know, valid dates, like not the 99th of Octember.
    BA: Are dates in the future valid?
    Customer: No. Well, yes.. sometimes. But not always.
    BA: What about dates in the past?
    Customer: Of course!
    BA: So is 12th June 1685 valid?
    Customer: Obviously not.
    BA: So when is the cut-off point for valid dates?
    Customer: Oh er.. Hmm.. I don’t know.
    BA: So, we need to decide that. Also – if someone enters a date, then what do we do?
    Customer: Raise an error message obviously.
    BA: Where? On the form page?
    Customer: Sure.
    BA: But that means you won’t be able to enter it into the system.
    Customer: Perfect.
    BA: But you want to send them a letter telling them that the date is incorrect. So it has to be stored in the system.
    Customer: No but.. oh.. right.. hmm

    And so on. If you don’t have someone really good at the BA role, who might not have the BA job title – then your project is pretty much doomed. Seriously. People love to quote the B-Ark, but remember that in the book all the clever smug people back on Golgafrincha were ultimately wiped out by a disease contracted from a dirty telephone.

    Note I am not a BA, but as a developer and architect I’ve learned how important good ones are. And how destructive bad ones can be.

    IHN
    Member

    but as a developer and architect

    Everyone in IT’s a bloody architect these days 😉

    IHN
    Member

    Good BA vs Bad BA:

    Customer – I want a boat

    Bad BA – What kind of boat?

    Good BA – Why?

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    Everyone in IT’s a bloody architect these days

    Me too!

    Premier Icon thepurist
    Subscriber

    Good BA vs Bad BA:

    Customer – I want a boat

    Bad BA – What kind of boat?

    Good BA – Why?

    Worse BA -“I think they said they need a goat – we got any camels they could use?”

    DT78
    Member

    So the BAs should be talking to you about what you need to cook

    and they should be talking to the business about whether they need to employ a cook at all, or whether it would be more beneficial to find another approach to meeting the outcome (which is presumably people being fed)

    Premier Icon failedengineer
    Subscriber

    Do all these Business Analysts and ‘Developers’ exist in say, Germany?

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    and they should be talking to the business about whether they need to employ a cook at all

    Certainly not with any tenure, a zeros hour contract would be much better. Plus do they really need a rest room and toilet facilities, money to be saved there….

    IHN
    Member

    Do all these Business Analysts and ‘Developers’ exist in say, Germany?

    Not all of them, no.

    doris5000
    Member

    So the BAs should be talking to you about what you need to cook, how often, for how many people, how often you may have days you have to cook for miles more people than usual, how many people are cooking alongside you, how often you order your ingredients, how much storage space you need, what appliances you use, what appliances you think you need and why etc etc…

    I see – so far I have been speaking to the Business Improvement Manager about all that, and had assumed her role was roughly what the BA role has been described as here. Which is partly why I was wondering what the BAs did. But it’s a big project so I can well see the need for more than one person to do that.

    Premier Icon jimdubleyou
    Subscriber

    Everyone in IT’s a bloody architect these days

    Can you send some of em my way – most of ours are crap (or need a couple of assistants).

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    Since we don’t employ any BAs, or at least anyone with that title, how does one become one? What is the career progression?

    As for how I ended up as an ‘architect’, I can’t recall other than one day my then boss gave me a new job title with the word in it and I must have said ‘OK’ or something like that. Other than that, nothing actually changed. I do have ‘architect’ imposter syndrome where I assume all the other ones know what they’re doing. Maybe I should become an ‘Analyst’, I could do with a shiny new laptop 😉

    IHN
    Member

    how does one become one? What is the career progression?

    Many (like me) come from a dev background – developer to systems analyst to business analyst (that’s not supposed to imply a hierarchy BTW)

    Many of the ‘architects’ these days are what we used to call systems analysts.

    Premier Icon oikeith
    Subscriber

    I’ve just applied for a role titled Agile Business Analyst at my work, hopefully I get to join the BA community on here!

    Premier Icon thepurist
    Subscriber

    hopefully I get to join the BA community on here

    What???  Is that another section like the Premier Forum?

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Subscriber

    this thread has really given me a laugh. No offense intended but those who know what BAs are, explaining it in incomprehensible gobbledegook really helps!

    One key thing surely should be the ability to explain things in english that normal folk can understand

    “cross functional applications.”
    “experience of the domain the change is needed in so can help with influencing sensible type requirements”
    “whether that’s stories, Acceptance Criteria or Design documents.”

    None of those phrases mean anything to me and I cannot even tease out the meanings.

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 170 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.