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Top 10 Requirements Management & Development Trends for 2012

To achieve organizational goals in the challenging economic environment of 2012, effective requirements management and development (RMD) – also known as business analysis – will demand a broader perspective in order to drive full business impact.  Business analysts will need to take a three-dimensional approach to fully capture requirements, which organizations recognize as the foundation of successful project and contract delivery.  This theme underlies the 2012 Top 10 trends for RMD, which were determined by a global panel of senior executives and subject matter experts.


  1. Demand for greater organizational efficiency will increase demand for business architecture, business rules and business process experts 
    Unrelenting economic and financial pressures perpetuate this trend from 2011 as organizations are realizing that it’s all about business efficiencies and not necessarily technology.  Organizations will first look inward to make improvements before making more technology investment outlays.  Organizations will again rely on business analysis to examine business architecture, rules and processes that will enable these internal improvements in efficiencies. 
  2. Federal, state and local government agencies will invest seriously in the role of business analysis
    Government agencies have finally seen the light that poor articulation of requirements is at the root of many of their functional ills.  Taxpayers demanding “more bang for their buck” will have all levels of government seeking better RMD to fulfill their missions. Calls for agencies to be more efficient in serving the public, more collaborative working across agencies, and more accountable for ensuring that procurements are delivering what they are supposed to will make business analysis indispensible to their success.
  3. Agile methods will continue to gain traction
    Agile practices show no signs of letting up in their dominance as the leading framework on which to base quality deliverables.  Business analysts (BAs) and project managers will struggle to fit their title into the Agile space, but will need to realize quickly that it is not about them—it’s about the end state.
  4. Emergence of a hybrid role of project manager and business analyst
    The drive to create greater organizational efficiencies will spur the global emergence of a project role that mixes the project manager and the business analyst.  This evolution is inevitable as organizations will increasingly question whether they can afford to fund multiple resources working toward the same end goal.  The widespread adoption of Agile practices (see Trend 3) that break down titled positions will further drive this trend.
  5. Business analysts will enhance skills to make their business case to stakeholders
    Far too many talented BAs have been missing the mark in their interactions with stakeholders and it’s time they polished their delivery.  In 2012, BAs will need to step up their game, not only in presentation and communication skills, but being proactive in articulating the value of the projects they propose in order to make effective business cases to stakeholders. Optimally, BAs should take on almost a leadership role that will force them to increase their level of interaction as well as the level of people with whom they interact to really sell the benefits of the product—and the contribution of business analysis—to the organization. 
  6. BAs will need to measure results to prove results
    This trend continues in 2012 as BAs will be under enormous pressure to quantify their work. Unless they apply their skills in elicitation and requirements management—graphical modeling, cost estimates, risk analysis and other measurements—they and, ultimately, the organization will not be able to quantify the BA’s impact on the business.
  7. Centers of excellence will continue to spread
    The resurgence of centers of excellence predicted for 2011 is continuing to proliferate in 2012 as organizations look to a centralized and focused group of specialized individuals to manage very complex enterprise-wide engagements.  We will see even more articles and white papers on the subject and growth in these centers as organizations focus on business architecture, business rules and processes to drive improvements (see Trend 1).
  8. BPOs to invest in the development of their business analysis practices
    Recognizing the opportunity to improve project outcomes and mitigate risks with better requirements while selling value added services, business process organizations (BPOs) will increase their investment in developing business analysis capabilities.  India will emerge as the shining star of this trend through their global customer reach.  Bonus trend:  More business analysis certifications will come out of this country than any other in the world.
  9. Rise of tablet tools for business analysts
    BAs will put the awesome visual power, functionality and portability of tablet tools to work in their practice, particularly in client interactions. This will prove to be a sweet spot for software vendors as demand increases for analysis tools, educational tools, modeling, mapping and other applications we didn’t even know we needed.
  10. IIBA Building Business Capability conference will gain prominence for professional development
    The International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®)BBC conference will double in attendee size and attract more delegates from all over the world as the business analysis discipline continues to mature, define specialized niches of practice and gain recognition among practitioners’ organizations.  The advancement of the BA profession will elevate the BBC conference to a position of prominence among all project management events.

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Glenn R. Brûlé, CBAP, CSM, Executive Director of Global Client Solutions, ESI International, brings more than two decades of focused business analysis experience to every ESI client engagement. As one of ESI’s subject matter experts, Glenn works directly with clients to build and mature their business analysis capabilities by drawing from the broad range of learning resources ESI offers. A recognized expert in the creation and maturity of BA Centers of Excellence, Glenn has helped clients in the energy, financial services, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, insurance and automotive industries, as well as government agencies across the world.