BI Analysts with Experience in Programming and Development

This is the continuation of the transcript of a Webinar hosted by InetSoft on the topic of "Top Trends for Business Analysts." The speaker is Rick Smith, Senior Business Analyst at InetSoft.

Nowadays most of the times employers are expecting business analysts to have experience in programming and development. They are expecting them to share the developer’s load if required now. To what extent is that correct?

If you asked some North American analyst probably you might find them in violent disagreement that programming may not be a requirement. I say the more knowledge and more experience you have the better to help propel it forward. I would caution, however, business analysts with rich programming backgrounds are likely to not be objective observers.

So there are pros and cons. I think if you got it, great, if you don’t, then you would probably be a little bit more objective than somebody with it. The poll came in.

We got 41% saying yes, second place is 25% that we are using the hybrid and waterfall initiative. After that we have No, and last we have we’re thinking about it. So, but ‘we’re thinking about it’ is 14%, so it’s a little more negative. Thanks everybody for contributing. I am very pleased to see that with the numbers, so here we go.

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Hybrid Role of the Business Analyst

So let’s talk about the hybrid role of the project manager and the business analyst. I think the reality of it is we’re starting to see resources shrink, and again I go back to the idea of doing more with less. I have traveled the world and worked with customers that are starting to see this, and they may not necessarily just be exclusively PM and BA.

We started talking about software development there, but permanently there is the project manager and the business analyst and I am actually okay with this for the sake of efficiency and increased profitability, but here is the caveat before everybody gets their hackles up.

A caveat is the smaller the project the better. Obviously, the larger the project the more complex the project, the greater the risk. There is more likelihood that there is going to be more budget, more dollars that are going to be allocated to afford resources, but if it’s the case where we are working on a very large project, very complex, with a high level of risk then you know having a single person playing both roles is a very dangerous thing to do.

Small to medium size projects are probably a safe bet, and even with the challenge that I have in saying that, is that medium is a very subjective term, and that is highly dependent on the level of risk aversion that the organizations has. At the end of the day, the PM/BA role I think is here to stay. I think we’re going to see it. We’re going to continue to see it. A lot of my friends and colleagues that I work with play that dual role. I think it’s okay so long as we have a great deal of support from our cast members. We have a work like balance thing and are more confident in how we can execute this is very sticky situation. So be aware it is here. I think it’s here to stay.

So the next polling question is ‘does you organization support dual roles of Projects Managers and Business Analysts? I would say it would be a 50-50 response because I have worked in a few organizations where the analysts are kind of put in a little cubby hole in the back and ignored and other ones they are right at the top with of the president or CEO. So I honestly think it will be a 50-50 split.

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The poll came in at 59% for yes and 41% for no. Those of you who are acting in that dual role, take plenty of vacations. You deserve it. It’s a tough role, and you can tell your boss I said that. Just don’t tell him where I live. So, here we go ladies and gentleman. Business analysts will have to add to their competency tool kit their ability to demonstrate business leadership by articulating business value and impact to the organization as a whole.

And the truth is there are a couple of things that are go into the thought behind this slide. First, and first foremost they are metrics, metrics, metrics, and measurements. I have been a big preacher of this over the years, and I think it’s becoming increasingly more critical that business analysts demonstrate quantitatively the value of that which we are producing in the context of business analysis.

So, in other words, where are our activities increasing our return on investment? Where are we increasing efficiencies? Where are we improving the means by which we are procuring goods and services? So that’s the first thing.

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