Below are couple of sample, real and typical job descriptions of business analysts, posted on career classifieds. What strikes you about these, at a casual glance? -
1. Sr. Business Analyst in a financial publishing house - "
- Collaborate with internal and external customers, software engineers, etc. to interview, research, analyze, and derive business, functional, and non-functional requirements for products.
- Translate business requirements into detailed functional and non-functional specifications.
- Contribute, as required, to the "look" and "feel" of the product including screen design, on-line text, and/or graphical user interface (GUI) consistent with company standards.
- Participate in the design and testing phases, including design and testing of prototypes and orchestration and sign-off on acceptance test results to ensure design integrity"
2. A pure play IT Business analyst -
- Lead and facilitate the elaboration process for new system projects
- Analyze and design solution recommendations for system modifications/enhancement to meet the needs of the end users.
- Develop system requirement specifications for system projects and large strategic projects
- Act as an liaison between end users and IT departments
- Develop test plans and participate in system implementation of new or revised systems"
Do you see anything missing in the above? Of course, one could argue that the description is just as that particular firm wants it to be, and every firm has its own "right" role definition. Be that as may, and in general, even if one may say that the definition of a BA varies across the industry, are the descriptions still complete?
Below is my mindmap of various areas that I think every Business Analyst needs to be looking at. The third level down (Brown) may be defined in context and specific to the prevalent practices, but are not the first two levels fairly generic? If a BA is not doing these, then can the resulting software product still be good? Consistently .