Tuesday, 08 January 2013 03:15

A Business Analyst's Lucky 13 Best Friends

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Who are a Business Analyst's best friends? Who would like to be and Why?

Who are the people we interact with most on the job?

What is it that makes these relationships work and serve our end goal of providing value to the organization?

As Business Analysts we face changing project situations that challenge our skills and relationships with many stakeholders. He have an opportunity to serve our stakeholders and team members in many ways to add value to the solution being delivered.

We are often labeled as the ones that gather and document requirements. In reality, we are the critical link in the middle of a complex group of interrelated people, roles, and processes. Our role is in the prime position to ensure all these pieces are connected and aligned to maximize value to the organization.

How are we viewed by all of these people we work with? How do we want them to view us?

I would like to start a series about the "best friends" of BAs - all the major roles that BAs interact with. The roles I am currently targeting for this series are:

  • CIO - Chief Information Officer
  • BA Manager
  • Project Manager
  • Product Manager
  • QA & QA Lead
  • Developers
  • Tech Lead
  • IT Application Managers
  • Business Sponsor (Director/VP Level)
  • Business Subject Matter Expert or Domain Expert
  • Business Manager
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Project Controller

With each role (and more with your ideas), I would like to start a series in 2013 about:

  • How does each of these roles benefits from the BA role
  • What makes a top notch BA from their perspective
  • What frustrates these roles most from a BA
  • How to say "no" to these roles
  • How to influence these roles to give you what you need
  • How to communicate the value of the BA to these role

To start us off, here is a brief summary of each stakeholders needs from a BA, as we move through 2013 we will visit each in detail with the questions above.

  • CIO - Chief Information Officer
    CIOs need a lot from BAs, one thing I will focus on is the need for BAs to collaborate and build great relationships with the project team and stakeholders so that the right requirements, solutions, priorities and risks are identified to maximize the value of the solution to the organization.
  • BA Manager
    BA Managers not only need BAs to serve clients and projects in maximizing solution value, but also need BAs to work together with peer BAs to share best practices, lessons learned, risks, cross functional impacts and risks. They need BAs to be continuous learners of their field, mentor each other, and help grow the BA talent in the organization.
  • Project Manager
    PMs needs BAs to collaborate on scope, planning, risks, and stakeholder communications. Scope creep arguably the biggest fear PMs have of a BAs work. Risks and stakeholder communications and collaborating on these is cortical to a PM managing the scope, cost, and schedule.
  • Product Manager
    Product Managers are focused on marketing and product usage and development. Some focus on one more than the other. They need BAs to help understand markets, users, provide options and alternatives, and collaborate to truly understand the product features that they are looking at implementing.
  • QA & QA Lead
    QA teams need to understand the details and big picture requirements. They need BAs to provide understandable requirements with context. Context is key to QA teams planning their test approach to maximize risk and the value of the QA process.
  • Developers
    Developers typically have two concerns about requirements from BAs: Requirements are too vague or they are too detailed. What gives? Too detailed means that BAs are not providing enough context and/or are providing too much design details without looking at options and alternatives. Too vague means that requirements are lacking critical details about the Who, When, and Why.
  • Tech Lead
    Context and non-functional requirements are king for Tech Leads, they are looking at architectural options to effectively produce potential designs to meet the need. Tech Leads are also looking for capability driven requirements statements to ensure that they can leverage existing technologies.
  • IT Application Managers
    Context and options/alternatives are important to these Managers. They are looking to know what pieces of the solution requirements will their teams need to be potentially involved with.
  • Business Sponsor (Director/VP Level)
    These executives need high level pictures and visuals about the solution and impacted areas, people, external players, data and processes. Also knowing key risks are critical to their needs.
  • Business Subject Matter Expert or Domain Expert
    SMEs need to know where their detailed knowledge fits in and where there are still gaps that they can fill in. They are full of detailed knowledge but don't always know when to give what knowledge. So a framework with context to help determine where detail goes is very helpful.
  • Business Manager
    Business Managers want to know the big picture and how it will impact their teams. WIIFM - What is in it for me? How will this help my team, impact my team or change my team. With this focus they can better participate and collaborate on requirements.
  • Administrative Assistant
    Admin Assistants of the executives you are working with need to know why your meetings are important to the executive they are supporting. Why do you need the executive in the room? This helps them determine the level of importance the meeting has compared to other meetings the executive is scheduled into that day and time.
  • Project Controller
    Project controllers need to understand your true status towards milestones on the project plan, your risks and any insight into the project risks you can provide as well is issue resolution paths and ideas. They are trying to manage a lot of details, often without much context. Your view into estimates, timelines, risks, and issues helps them manage them and help you collaborate with the PM better.

Don't forget to leave your comments below.

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Angela Wick

TopContributorAngela Wick, is Founder of BA-Cube and BA-Squared. She is passionate about teaching practical BA skills for modern BAs. With over 20 years’ experience she takes BA skills to the next level and into the future! Angela is also a LinkedIn Learning instructor, BA and agile BA trainer, highly rated speaker and workshop facilitator, and contributor to many industry publications. www.BA-Cube.com www.BA-Squared.com Twitter: @WickAng

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