Vicki James, PMP, CBAP, PMI-PBA, CSM

formerly of Professional Project Services, LCC

So You Want to be a Business Analyst…Or Perhaps You Already Are (Part 2 of 3)

BA_part2Last week I posted Part 1 with discussion on what a business analyst is.  You may be more confused than before on what it is you are. I will quickly clarify a few points by addressing a couple of common questions.

Question 1: I am a project manager that is responsible for business analysis on my project. Is this wrong?

Answer:  It depends on the project and the situation. If it is a small project with a small team and you are familiar with the business then it may make sense. The test is if you are effectively and efficiently juggling managing the project (planning, tracking, risks, stakeholder management, etc.) with the business analysis tasks (eliciting requirements, creating models and documentation, working with stakeholder to prioritize, translating for the technical team, etc.). However, if you are not able to manage both roles effectively within a normal workweek it means you are working two full-times jobs, rather than two half-time jobs. Getting a BA on your project will allow you to focus on one job and lead the project, project team, and influence stakeholders much more easily.

Question 2: I have worn many hats on my projects.  How do I know if I am a business analyst?

Answer: The answer lies in where you natural aptitude and desire are. Answer the three following three questions to help you find the answer. (Disclaimer: this is not a scientific aptitude/skills test)

1)   When it comes to solving a problem, I tend to want…

  1. To lead a team discussion to find potential solutions
  2. Research what other companies have done and see if any of those solutions would work in our situation
  3. Put a likely solution into action

2)   When I waiting for service in a long, slow line I tend to…

  1. Think, “Where is the manager?” These people need to be motivated to work faster.
  2. Watch the processes to see if I can identify a change in process or a tool that would speed up the service.
  3. Look for the manager so that I can tell him to bring more people on to serve

3)   When told to do something that I do not quite understand I respond by…

  1. Clarify what is needed and begin a plan of action
  2. Question who, what, why, where until I understand the value or negotiate for a task that does make sense to me
  3. Do what I am told. I can make anything work and it’s not my job to question the reason

Here are the results to this three-question assessment. If you scored mostly

  1. You have an aptitude for project management. You prefer to lead others through proactive planning and motivation to allow a team to accomplish great things.
  2. You have an aptitude as a business analyst. You like to solve puzzles by taking the time to get a thorough understanding the core of the puzzle and analyze many solutions to know your recommendation is indeed the best.
  3. You are a doer. “Get ‘er done” is your motto.  Time spent planning and analyzing is time that you could have been actively doing something to make the situation better. You recognize there may be a different or even better way, but getting something is place is the contribution that makes you feel valuable. You would be a great technical lead.

You may truly have a mix of aptitude and preference of these roles. That is okay. However, you need to define your role for each project and stick to it. This allows you to focus on your responsibility and give the autonomy to others on the team that they have earned and deserve.

Continue to Part 3 for steps on making the shift from someone who does business analysis tasks to a business analysis professional.

Image courtesy of chanpipat /

2 responses to “So You Want to be a Business Analyst…Or Perhaps You Already Are (Part 2 of 3)

  1. Pingback: So You Want to be a Business Analyst…Or Perhaps You Already Are (Part 1 of 3) | Professional Project Services

  2. Pingback: So You Want to be a Business Analyst…Or Perhaps You Already Are (Part 3 of 3) | Professional Project Services

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: