Don’t be that Poor, Lonesome Business Analyst4 min read

Many of the Business Analysts I had the chance to work with in my short career were excellent BAs. They were dedicated team players and were appreciated by their stakeholders. They were knowledgeable and recognized as experts in their organization. They had everything to succeed as Business Analysts!

However, they had one big shortcoming: they were performing Business Analysis as a one-man show.

While working like that poor, lonesome Lucky Luke has some advantages, it also has major drawbacks when it comes to performing Business Analysis tasks. Teamwork with your own colleagues is important not only for that official peer-review activity in your organization’s methodology. It’s a mindset that needs to be in every dimension of your work.

You think I’m wrong? Let me show you what you’re missing!

The lonely Business Analyst is more prone to bad requirement quality and omissions

Performing all Business Analysis tasks alone gives you some power as the only source of information on requirements. While it can help you to better manage the scope & changes to your project, it makes you more vulnerable to errors in your requirements (ambiguity, incompleteness, consistency, traceability, etc.). These quality issues are easier to spot and fix when you get challenged by another BA.

Another vulnerability the lonely BA might face is the complete omission of some requirements. This situation is trickier than quality since it can take a long time before it’s acknowledged by your stakeholders. The later it’s found in the solution delivery process, the costlier it might be for the entire organisation.

Working continuously together with other BAs ensures that these vulnerabilities are found as early as possible to everyone’s benefit.

The lonely Business Analyst spends more time looking for information

One of your role as a Business Analyst is to gather information from different sources. However, the biggest challenge in this situation is often to find the right information sources to optimize your work.  Wrong sources can make you waste your precious time in the best scenario by requiring you to validate inconsistent sources or rework on previously gathered data.

In the worst scenario, it can also lead you to bad or outdated information that could be translated in wrong requirements, hurting the whole solution.

The lonely BA might be able to overcome this, but usually at a high price.  Working with your BA colleagues will quickly guide you to the right & best sources to perform your work.

The lonely Business Analyst doesn’t benefit from new stakeholders’ trust

Working with new stakeholders can be challenging as you usually don’t have that trust relationship which helps you get through hard times in your Business Analysis activities. This often means that the lonely BA needs to spend more time working with these stakeholders to get their collaboration & approval in the best case, or simply establish his basic credibility as a BA in the worst case! As a result, his activities take longer than expected.

It also means that some of these stakeholders might hold from him more sensible information that they could have shared with a more trusted BA, which brings us back to the drawback explained earlier.

These trust issues can usually be overcome by working with other BAs in which your stakeholders are confident, even if it’s just at the beginning of a relationship. By only showing their support for your work, your colleagues can make a big difference in your stakeholders perception of your own work.

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The lonely Business Analyst misses the opportunity to quickly improve his business & domain knowledge

Business and domain knowledge are critical to be an effective Business Analyst (even the BABoK says so!). However, it takes a long time to get proficient in both, and there are not many shortcuts you can take to accelerate the process.

The lonely BA has no other way than to accumulate experiences to get this knowledge. While time goes by, he can’t rely on it to guide his activities & thinking, making him vulnerable to inefficiencies brought by the lack of appropriate information.

But guess what? By working closely with other Business Analysts, you can leverage their business & domain knowledge to power up your own activities. It also gives you a great opportunity to increase your own knowledge faster through their experience.

Do you recognize yourself as the lonely BA? It’s not too late to start working as a team with your Business Analyst colleagues. Start the virtuous circle now and be ready to harvest the benefits!

Learn how to get closer to your team!

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  1. Nick Tibbels says:

    I agree with these points, particularly when you are inexperienced on the domain subject matter.

  2. Mark Messinger says:

    And yet, how often are projects funded to permit BAs to work together, in teams? Answer: Far less frequently than ought to be the case.

    Eric, a clipping of this article goes into my archive, to help support the argument that more BA resources are necessary. Most of my work is project work and I find, more often than not, the project’s budget doesn’t allow for more than one BA – or the project schedule requires that BA resources be distributed in such a way that it’s rare more than one BA can attend the same requirements gathering session.

    • Eric Provost says:

      You have a good point Mark. The “project doesn’t allow it” argument also came up in some discussions on LinkedIn.

      However, isn’t it the responsibility of the BA to identify the resources he needs to succeed (including other BAs)? The project might not approve it, but at least, you will have identify it (and it could be used in a retrospective manner later in the project to highlight some flaws in the project).

      I would also be curious to see if numbers exist to support my claim (ie the more BAs are assigned, the better) with some evidence. Don’t hesitate if you have something to share 🙂

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