Skip to main content

Business Analysis Pathways

State of the Business Analysis Field

Many organizations are phasing out titles and work descriptions such as, “Business Analysis”, and “Requirements sessions” and replacing them with combined tasks under the Agile and Scrum project methodologies. Some are asking developers, architects, and business users to define the scope, requirements and functional requirements without the guidance of a person with the title, “Business Analyst” as they are confident that other team members such as developers and architects can fill both the technical and business-based roles, while others simply do not have the resources to staff both types of positions and are asking employees to do double duty. While this may be frustrating for some employees, namely Business Analysts, it’s good news for those with a development or programming background who are trying to break into the business side or those trying to leverage their knowledge into a field of business analysis to provide value to an organization other than through their coding genius. This may also be a good thing for Business Analysts who want to take on more responsibility or advance in their career.

Programmer to Business Analyst Path

Now that you know you are ready call upon your years of experience as a developer and know that you are more than capable of not only functioning but providing value to a project team with your skill set, your first task is to find the right team in which to fit. Why not just go out there and apply for a BA job at a company that’s hiring? Sure, you can do that; however, chances are you already know quite a few people in this field already and a referral with networking is always more profitable than a cold call. Tap the connections you already have. They may include your team’s Business Analysts (if they will be open to it and not see you as a threat to their positions), satisfied clients for whom you’ve toiled over code and obstacles to create the best possible product that they currently enjoy, online avenues such as LinkedIn, etc. and even your manager. Maybe there’s a potential staffing opportunity within your group or another team that your manager can recommend you for or find someone to help groom your business analysis habits.

Business Analyst to Project Manager, Strategic Analyst, and other Analysis Paths

Now, to the Business Analysts, Business Systems Analysts, Project Analysts, etc. who are left performing boring maintenance duties bestowed upon them since they were the subject matter experts on that once upon a time, cutting edge product/application that they were instrumental in dreaming up and creating, as well as to those who can churn out “As Is” and “To Be” process flows with the precision of a butcher who can divvy up the best petite filet from that prime rib.

This group not only includes the creative types who want to continue feeding the creative desire, they know that their input based on extensive organization knowledge will be helpful and welcomed in other aspects of an organization and are ready to join a team that would benefit from their years of expertise in analyzing how and where to trim the fat, how to improve upon manual processes through automation or through policy changes. Typically, these employees yearn to be a part of something bigger than them and they have proven experience (products, services and applications) that their vision for the end stage of a product or application, as well as their ability to effectively gauge advantages and disadvantages of a process or approach will enhance any project or management team tasked with the “intrapreneurship”, expansion of business, etc.

Why should a programmer be considered for a business analysis role?

Programmers with excellent communication skills know many of a company’s systems and can articulate the pros and cons to several business questions such as whether to build or buy a solution or product, as well as integration efforts needed with regard to Third Party tools. This pool of talent can also help allocate development resources based on their years of experience. After all, these are the same individuals who in the past, have fulfilled the request of many users for various applications and products and some have been the programmers who pulled at their hair and mad-typed their way well into midnight to force a fit when a vendor application or product did not seamlessly fit the organization’s architecture. Rely on their knowledge and background. Grow them in the analysis role and you will not only have a happier employee, but a well-rounded and valuable asset on your team.

Why should a Business Analyst be considered for a Project Management, Management Analyst, or any other Analyst role?

Let’s think about the core aspects of a Business Analyst or Business Systems Analyst role. A successful Business Analyst fosters mutually beneficial relationships between multiple facets of an organization, envisions applications and products in full use at the end stage of the process even when it’s just a twinkle in the business owner’s eyes. A successful analyst is astute when it comes to his/her customers’ needs, processes, obstacles and aspirations for a particular department/team. Additionally, this person is skilled in finding ways to minimize or eradicate wasteful processes and can often see the “big picture” of where an organization wants to, or needs to go. After all, they have racked up hordes of details on efficiency and process during the years of crafting “To Be” process flows, mapping out user needs and experiences through user stories, scenarios, and usability studies. This is a skill set that not only a project team with a specific set of deliverables can employ business offices such as a project management office, strategic planning or research and accountability offices will benefit as well. After all, who best to draw up that Cost Benefit Analysis, Gap Analysis or ROI when planning to take on, or expand business? Business leaders no longer need to rely solely on current team members who are thrown into the role of business owner, sometimes begrudgingly, when someone with proven experience as a successful analyst will excel in such a role.

At a senior level, a Business Analyst exudes confidence and calmness during chaotic processes as the analyst role requires patience and the ability to wade through the muck and mire to get to the root cause of an issue, system change, or process overhaul. So, if you are looking for the next big thinker or architect to pull together a team that will plan out your organization’s next big thing, or need that creative thinker who can energize and encourage work teams, don’t hesitate to take a look at, and consider that experienced Business Analyst!

Don`t forget to leave your comments below.