In this episode, Kitty Hass explains the evolution of the Business Analyst role and what you need to do to be successful in the 21st century.

After listening to this episode, you'll understand:

  • How the BA role has evolved in the last 20 years
  • Why the typical task of documenting requirements is no longer enough
  • What skills you need to be successful in today’s complex environment

Show Notes

In the later part of the 20th century, Business Analysts were looked upon as team members.  They were certainly not seen as leaders.

It was seen as a tactical role and BAs spent most of their time analyzing and documenting requirements.

The amount of time spent on strategic analysis, competitive analysis, and facilitating discussions on how the organization can innovate was less than 10% of their time.

Being seen only as a documenter is demoralizing and limits the value that a BA can bring to the organization.

The linear, waterfall approach at that time assumed we were smart enough to define all of the requirements upfront.  The methods we were using were deficient for the complex, fast-changing environment we were in.


The Real Problem

It’s not just on time and on scope for a project anymore.

We’re less than 30% successful in our projects in terms or on time, on budget, and with a satisfactory result.  The cause is twofold; we have gaps in strategic, value based business analysis and we have gaps in complex project management.

Shoring up these gaps can add countless wasted dollars to the bottom line.


The Challenge of the 21st Century

The 21st Century challenges us to change.  With the growing complexity of today’s business and technological environments, we can’t influence positive change without bringing together differing points of view.

We need to move out of our past tactical role and focus more on strategic level thinking across the organization.  This requires an understanding of the business domain and the changing business environment.

We also need to shift our communication style (both verbal and written) to a more collaborative and iterative style.  Focus less on large, complex documentation and more on just enough to develop a shared understanding.

The International Institute for Business Analysis (IIBA) issued a research and impact study in 2016 that showed the evolving role of the Business Analyst.  The study showed that we need to evolve from requirements manager and documenter to Agile adaptive adoption and innovation influencer.

The skills that you will need over the next three to five years are strategic thinking, strategic analysis, leadership, creativity, and innovative thinking.  Additionally, you’ll need your current sills of critical thinking, domain knowledge, competitive awareness, investigative techniques, and knowledge of technology your organization uses.


Radical Collaboration

Don’t underestimate the power of collaboration.  You are expected to be able to bring together a group of smart people to solve big problems.

You must be able to get the right experts in the room and know how to facilitate a discussion to understand the opportunity and determine the path forward.


Listen to the full episode to discover what organizations need and how to be successful in the 21st century.


Your Homework

Your job is to manage the value of what you’re delivering.  For each release, you should understand the cost, the value to the customer, and how we’re going to measure success.  This includes having an overall business case for the effort.

Focus your development on leadership, innovation, and understanding the new enterprise roles.


Links mentioned in this episode:

Kitty Hass

Kitty Hass

Kathleen Hass and Associates, Inc.

Kitty Hass is the leading expert in Strategic Business Analysis and Complex Project Management. She has written nine books, dozens of influential articles, and given lectures at corporations throughout the world. She is a professor of Strategic PM and BA Practices at Villanova University and a keynote speaker at conferences around the world.


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