Why are business analysis skills important?

Are you considering building your business analysis skills, or even a business analysis career? Great choice! And here are some things you should be thinking about.

You know the relationship between project management and business analysis is very close. In fact, business analysis, through requirements management, could even be considered to be a subset of project management. Whether there are unique aspects of business analysis that are not part of project management is outside the scope of this post. This post is about what you should know about the difference between business analysis skills and a business analysis career.

In these times of rapid change, business analysis is a core skill needed by many. It is a skill that enables you to sort out requirements for a seemingly endless flow of new projects, for interpreting evolving needs on a regular basis, and supporting short project and product life cycles.

Due to the broad applicability of this skill set among various roles within an organization, business analysis is tending to shift away from a singular career to a valuable activity regardless of your role, title or job function.

Here are two business analysis trends to think about:

TREND #1. IT project teams are building software differently, employing more agile methods.  Business analysis sits right in the middle of the processes around building software. Here are five (5) implications of this trend:

  •     Business analysis skills are central - but within a flexible skill set, not just practicing BA
  •     Many organizations will not hire someone that wants a Business Analyst role only
  •     Be flexible and play the roles needed by their team or teams; be adaptable, and you'll develop the right combination of skills and experience to provide what is needed
  •     Everyone needs to perform business analysis to some extent on the team, so the more you know about it, the more and better you can contribute
  •     Business analysis is a true team sport; it's not a solitary occupation, and thus demands more breadth of skills across teams and organizations

TREND #2. Traditional Business Analysts are growing up and out of IT project teams and using their skills successfully in other roles.  This is evidence of the breadth of applicability of business analysis skills. Here are five common areas that BAs move into:

  •     Enterprise strategy
  •     Chief Information Officer (CIO)
  •     Business architecture
  •     Management consulting
  •     Line management in large and small companies

The bottom line is this: 

If you aspire to a strictly business analyst role, you need to beware, as the trends are not on your side for such a focused role. You may find it, but the trends are showing that you are more likely to find something related to a more dynamic roles where you wear more than the business analysis cap.

If you are simply seeking to grow your skill set to qualify for a variety of different roles, you are aligned with the trends. Ultimately, you could be preparing yourself for any of the roles listed above and more, or doing something more entrepreneurial. Business analysis skills are highly transportable, in growing demand, and useful to have as your career evolves.

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