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Sunday, July 31, 2011


The business analyst's world is about words. Words make up the requirements. Words occupy interviews and meetings to obtain information. The information itself is usually words, occasionally interspersed with pictures or diagrams. Much of our analysis is done by analyzing words. Words are variable and ambiguous and vague and many times describe the wrong things. They even lie. They are, however, what we have. We tried pictures once, and discovered that drawing pictures, while less ambiguous, was also much less efficient as a means to communicate.
With all this emphasis on words, and the corresponding frameworks of grammar, punctuation, oration, and exposition, is it any wonder that technologists trained in the black and white world of bits and bytes have difficulty navigating the verbal ocean? Technologists want clear, unambiguous, concise expressions of solutions, wants, needs, and the like so they can convert the words into software and applications. In the role of translator, that's what the business analyst does: play word games of reduction, precision, and exactitude. The business analyst takes a vague notion of a barely conceived idea and turns it into a model and a plan that will eventually become a best selling web site or an innovative medical device that saves lives. It's all in the words.