The Role of the Business Analyst

question cube

There’s an article at RQNG with a very interesting discussion thread – do we need the role of a business analyst?

The Article

What is a Business Analyst? is the article at the Requirements Networking Group site. The article is written from the perspective of a hiring manager. Without drawing too hard of a line in the sand, the article tells us that different companies interpret the role “business analyst” in different ways. They identify several common BA activities, ranging from process analysis and requirements management to testing. They sum up with some tips about what they look for in resumes, and how to prepare for BA interviews. The best piece of advice is recognizing where your BA strengths line up with the needs for a particular BA position.

It’s almost as if people were hiring for “engineers”, and if you are a civil engineer, you won’t be a good fit when the company is looking for a nuclear engineer.

But the really interesting part (and actually, the part I read first) is the discussion thread.

Discussion Thread

A very interesting debate has evolved in the discussion thread – should there even be a formal BA role? Scott Ambler proposes that specializing generalists are much more employable, and reduce the risk of a company using a serialized process and outsourcing your job out from under you.

We definitely need people with analysis skills, the issue is that people with just analysis skills (or just design skills, or just programming skills, …) aren’t as valueable as generalizing specialists.


If your organization is moving towards a specialized, serial strategy you need to ask yourself how long it will be until they start offshoring, something BAs are not immune to.

Scott Ambler (comments in context of a discussion)

The value of the BaBOK is also questioned and discussed.  As you can suspect, there are some significant contributors to our field(s) making some very insightful comments. Really some fun stuff. Instead of trying to recap it, we’ll just send you there. Go check it out.

3 thoughts on “The Role of the Business Analyst

  1. I have been musing on the topic of Business Analysts especially in the IT management context. Answer is, Yes, hiring for “engineers” is not enough… you need to ask for civil engineer or nuclear engineer. Similarly asking for a BA alone is not sufficient, the BA should also be a Functional Analyst (in your business)

  2. Hey Mohan, thanks for reading and commenting! I completely agree. I’ve worked with a few clients who also emphasized domain expertise. Over-emphasized, in my opinion. I would rather have someone who can think critically, than someone who “already knows everything.”

    Mavens can be effective at requirements validation, but knowledge alone does not an analyst make.

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