Business Analysis Trends
The new breed of business analysis has to integrate people skills, technical skills, creativity, and critical thinking throughout the product life-cycle. A business analyst gathers business requirements (or user stories) from various product owners/business/stakeholders in the organization. Then, the analyst explores this information in depth to arrive at the business problem and suggest viable solutions. The current crop of business analysts must have ONE very important skill above all others, the ability to effectively communicate with the product owners/business/stakeholders.
An effective analyst must be able to speak to all stakeholders involved in the product that the development team has undertaken. Today business analysts must clarify their roles in every project because of the variety of frameworks that are being employed in the workforce today. Every product owner/business/stakeholder must understand what the analyst does and does not do on a project to provide accurate information. The business analyst is not the project manager, ScrumMaster or developer but will have a key role in the communication and deployment of communication amongst the product owner/business/stakeholders (whole team) that are involved in the project. As new frameworks and techniques are developed new trends for business analysts are emerging. (See below)
1. A movement towards user stories and scenario-based requirements for organizations using agile, scrum, XP programming.
2. While business case studies will continue to be used, real-life, scenario-based requirements will enhance the businesses understanding of the application in development. Work Breakdown Structure charts. (previous post)
3. More use of sophisticated modeling, prototypes and diagrams like I-Rise, UML, Visio, just to name a few.
4. Although written requirements documents will continue to be used in Business Analysis, case modeling will provide more accurate approximations of business needs. Here is a list that has been compiled of the tools, open source, and license fees.
5. Extended use of technology-based business intelligence tools like SAP, Microsoft, Oracle, Cognos, etc.
Being an effective business analyst that can propose viable solutions that are 'real' to the product owner/business/stakeholders is invaluable for an organization. The days of analysts that submit documents at the end of the project is over the new breed of business analysts must be able to consult product owners/business/stakeholders at every phase of the software development life-cycle no matter what framework is being used.