In this episode, Kevin Brennan shares his views on what the future holds for business analysis and what you can do to prepare for that future.

After listening to this episode, you'll understand:

  • The effect agile has had on the BA role
  • How Business Architecture fits with BA skills
  • What to do to prepare for future changes to the BA role

Show Notes

What does the future hold for the business analysis profession?

There are a lot of changes taking place in the industry right now.  A big shift is transition to agile.  Some business analysts, project managers, and other project professionals may be concerned with the move towards an agile delivery model and wonder how they fit in this new world.

A lot of those concerns are based on the belief that the tasks you’re doing today are who you are and what you do instead of thinking about whether this type of skill is needed and valuable whether you’re using waterfall of agile.

There is still a place for business analysis in agile.  Perhaps what you’re analyzing may be somewhat different.  Analyzing how business processes work and how the organization generates value will be critical to your ability to be successful.

Part of your role might be focusing on what the business is doing and working with the development team to figure out how the systems support and respond to what the business does.

There could also be a division in the role between people who are pure systems analysts who are experts on the commercial systems and those who are business analysts focusing more on the business side with process improvements and helping the business adapt to changes.



The Impact of Business Architecture

With the increasing complexity of today’s business environment, there is an increasing need for a business focused architecture.  People performing business architecture activities look at how the business operates and figures out how all of the pieces work together to achieve a positive result.

They’ll look at business processes and organizational capabilities and work to understand how to realize benefits and cost savings by seeing the enterprise as a whole.

We’ll likely see some business analysts moving up the enterprise chain and getting into the business architecture space.


The Shift from Project to Product

There is a shift in the industry to move from a project focus to a product focus.  This means that we need to see the bigger picture and expand beyond being an in-project resource.

We will need to be able to develop roadmaps and take a longer term view.  We’ll also need to integrate ideas and needs from different sides of the business.  The project will become more of a delivery vehicle.

With this shift, we see more people transitioning to product owner or product manager role.  Product roles fundamentally do business analysis work and map closely to what BAs do (with a few exceptions).


Listen to the full episode to hear all of Kevin’s advice on what you can do to prepare for future changes in business analysis.



Your Homework

Make sure you have some kind of benefits realization map or objectives that you periodically tie back to.  This allows you to see if what you’re doing links back to the original goal to make sure you’re doing the right things.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Kevin Brennan, CBAP

Kevin Brennan, CBAP

Kevin Brennan is an association executive and business transformation architect, and works as an independent consultant based in Toronto, Canada. He has been a leader in the business analysis community for over a decade, as a member of IIBA’s board and executive team and shepherding the BABOK Guide through three major releases.  Kevin has led organizations through strategic and business unit planning and execution, played a leadership role in enterprise change, developed and launched multiple products for a global audience, and managed a product portfolio through the entire product lifecycle.

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