The role of the Business Analyst – poll results

 

Business Analyst

I wrote a post in Bulgarian about the role of the business analyst in a software development team and I put a poll to survey how the people in the software development business in Bulgaria evaluate it. Now the poll is closed and I am giving you the results.

Question: How do you evaluate the role of the business analyst in your team?
Total votes: 27 (little but I still have few readers).

Answers:

  1. Very important role. The BA investigates the customer’s needs and represent them before the team – 14 votes (52%)
  2. All roles are equal. The BA is responsible for the functional (requirements) specification, which the developers implement – 6 votes (22%)
  3. We don’t need such a person. The developers do the client’s business analysis themselves – 4 votes (15%)
  4. What is a “business analyst”? – 3 votes (11%)
  5. He just hangs around here and looks silly. He cannot write a simple JavaScript – 0 votes (0%)

 

poll-chart

 

How to interpret the results? Obviously, the first thing that has to be noted is the small number of the votes. For me, the main reason is the fact that still very few people visit my blog and most of them weren’t impressed by the poll. I think I will open it again in the future when there will be more visitors to my blog.

Anyway, the good news is that despite the few voters, the results show that the position of the business analyst exists in the software teams nowadays and it is appreciated positively. No matter if considered as very important (answer #1) or considered equal to all the others (answer #2), the business analyst takes his/her well-deserved place in the software team (totally 20 votes for both answers, which gives around 74%)

Answer #5 is rude and represents the vulgar and arrogant attitude of some developers to the surrounding world that doesn’t write code. I am glad that nobody voted for it. It probably means that this attitude was already buried in the past.

Answer #4 is a little silly. How can you be a self-respecting developer and not know what a business analyst is? I put this answer on purpose with the intention to be chosen for fun and to make the poll more colorful. I believe that this was the intention of the three guys who voted for it. And if they really don’t know what this is – keep on reading here – there will be more posts devoted to the job of the BA.

The most interesting answer for me is answer #3. It has a double meaning. There are companies, on one hand, that work on small projects or such that work on products and don’t use project principles at all. In such companies, every developer, having been working long time on the same product and having been communicating with the field experts from the business area being automated, gradually begins to gain exactly that knowledge and experience, which make him or her a business analyst. And if you add the aspiration of the company for more exploitation of its employees we come to a natural merging of the role of the BA with the role of the software developer in one person.

However, there is another interpretation. The team (or the company) could consist only of “great programmers” – people who think they know, understand, and can do everything. It was the ideal of the past socialist society in Bulgaria – so called “multi-dimensionally developed persons” – people who believe that a developer should be skilled in every aspect of the software business and there is no need of a narrow specialization in particular areas like business analysis, project management, testing, user education, etc. The developer can do everything!

I really would like to know what were the reasons to vote for this answer. I hope some of the voters will post a comment about it. And if you have an opinion about the role of the business analyst in your team – please, share it with me. It will be useful.

2 Comments

  • Craig says:

    Hey Mike

    Interesting survey. Was it Bulgaria in particular you were interested in? I expect the result is about what you would bet anywhere.

    Maybe next time you do this survey you could promote it on developer discussion boards for a higher response rate

  • Mike Ramm says:

    Yes, I supposed that the results would be the same all over the world but I was interested how the role of the BA is appreciated in Bulgaria and to compare it with my expectations.

    The great thing is that it is a common understanding now in Bulgaria that it is an important role and it contributes significantly to the project’s success.

    It was not so long ago when there were no business analysts at all in the Bulgarian software companies and it was considered as developer’s responsibility. Now we have a significant progress and we began to understand the specific qualities a BA should have and how they differ from developer’s ones.

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