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Friday, February 3, 2017

BA - more biusiness or technical?

A recent question came up that is a common one I've been hearing for years. I had thought the concern had been put to rest, or answered once and for all. Apparently it hadn't.  The question: how much business and technical should a typical BA be? What percentage of each? Should a business analyst focus on technical knowledge or business knowledge? 
Here is my answer:

I think there has been an assumption since the BA moved from a very specific position in telecommunications companies in the early 90s to a profession related to IT that the business analyst has technical chops as well as business acumen.  I recall business analysts of the mid-90s being drafted from the ranks of "super-users" (business people who took to computers and helped the others in their business department with user problems).  IT countered by moving Systems Analysts more to the business side starting in the late 80s without giving them the name "business analyst". (I was one of those).  So as can be seen by where the BA hails from, the amount of technical knowledge will vary. 
That said, we should remember that a business analyst analyzes the business. The business analyst solves business problems.  The solution of a business problem may not include software development and maybe not even technology. Note the definition of business analysis from BABOK V3: "Business analysis is the practice of enabling change in an enterprise by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders. Business analysis enables an enterprise to articulate needs and the rationale for change, and to design and describe solutions that can deliver value."  Doesn't mention software development or technology, only solutions.

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