In many places that we work there is a peculiar gap between the Business (specifically Product Owners, Portfolio Manager, Product Managers and the like) and teams. Yet there is one role that is being overlooked. Have we forgotten what Business Analysts do?
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit with a group of BAs and ask them what is was that they did – specifically I asked them “As a BA community, what is your ultimate goal?”
We took an hour and talked at length about the role and decided to try and get the ideas down on a 6”x4” index card and ultimately we came up with the following:
“As BAs We make sure valuable work can be delivered in priority order by facilitating discussions so that correct decisions are made and helping teams interpret requirements enabling them to produce quality deliverables”.
It came as no surprise to me that there was no instant consensus from the BAs about what their role was, because as an industry we’re not very good at setting clear objectives. What did please me is what the group settled on. Key words such as “value”, “priority”, “facilitate”, “enable”, “quality” and “interpret” are all key functions of the BA role.
Crucially, the BAs see themselves as more than just team assistants, but being analytical and often quite humble by nature, they aren’t all that good at helping others see them as vital members of the team.
Experience working with BAs tells me that it is only they themselves who have the ability to change they way they are perceived by others. I also think there are a number of simple things that can be done to achieve this:
- Be clear about what it is that you do – as a discipline you need to have a clear goal to aim for.
- Think about your brand – what is that you do? What are your strengths and what do you help people achieve?
- Do some marketing – let others know what you do and when to come and find you for advice or assistance.
Visibility is the key – unless people, including yourselves, understand what services you are offering, you will only ever be a team assistant.