Often, a BA is expected to wear many hats. Depending on the day, he or she may be expected to be a systems analyst, product manager, business architect, and management consultant. While most BAs have experience in these areas, disciplines outside the business analysis world offer valuable lessons.
BABOK® has several examples of outside disciplines, and we’ve added a few of our own. The more disciplines you’re familiar with, the more effectively you can do your job as a BA. One of the most important requirements of a good BA is having a broad base of knowledge to draw from, both within your company and outside it.
Of all the people on the project, you are the one who needs to be well rounded and have an understanding of the moving parts.
Teachers know how to motivate others, reward for a job well done, and educate. Often, business analysts are more tech savvy than people savvy, so spending time watching a teacher work with her students can be a valuable experience. Part of your job is educating your clients and team members, so who better to learn from?
Subject matter experts come in many shapes and sizes outside your client company or your own company. A subject matter expert is anyone with expertise in a topic relevant to the business need or solution scope. You’ll find SMEs everywhere.
For example, if you’re working on a solution for a tech company that works with doctors’ offices, visit one and talk to the receptionists, the nurses, and the doctors. All are SMEs for this particular project.
Implementation experts design and carry out solutions. In the example above of the doctor’s office, it could be your company, a local tech company, or the doctor’s son who is the end implementation expert.
Software developers and system architects may be part of your team, or they may be SMEs for the particular project you’re working on. Each one has his or her own approach, so any time you can spend a few minutes with a developer or architect, take it.
Organizational change management professionals help business leaders and employees accept and open their minds to change, and they are experts at overcoming resistance. They are sensitive to the company culture and history, which helps them use the best approach to adopting new solutions.
Trainers are much like teachers, but they are the tech-savvy folks who will train the end users in how the solution works. Their approach may be more businesslike and technical than a teacher’s approach, so spending time with trainers is valuable.
Project managers delegate the work required and ensure that a project’s goals are met while balancing other aspects of the company’s objectives and the project, including human resources, financial concern, and risk.
When you know the requirements for testers on your project, you’re halfway to project acceptance. When you spend time with testers, you’ll have an idea of their mindset and their testing methods. That will help you to structure the project and shape the solution to easily pass testing.
Which other disciplines do you work with during projects?