19 August 2008


Andrew sends us this link.

Apparently only 15% of business analysts come from the business side of the business-IT divide.  In my experience it's where most of the best ones come from.

What about you?  What do you think?

(By the way - our survey is almost over.  Where do you work? Business or IT?)

Article: In-house app development fraught with waste!


  1. In my very humble opinion, I think you need a business analyst who understands the business and the technology. I don't believe they need to be an expert in technology but they do need to understand some basic concepts of software design, network design, security, etc.

    I have a post kind of brewing in my head about this topic that was inspired by Andrew's comment on "Why Reverse Engineer Requirements". Looking back at the additional comment, I think it is pretty clear that people agree that a BA needs to be some kind of Subject Matter Expert but not necessarily a Technology Expert.

    I'll try to get my thoughts in order and put that post out there tonight or tomorrow.

  2. Anonymous7:56 am

    From the article:

    A study by the boutique consultancy Voke finds corporate software development in a state of dysfunction marked by budget woes, protracted project lengths, and dissatisfied end users.

    But at the same time, enterprises are placing higher value on business analysts, who serve as an intermediary between line-of-business employees and development teams

    The further the developer is from his end users the worse the end product will be. It's the simple game of telephone. By the time requirements pass from the user to the BA to the developer much is lost. The artical is ironic because it suggests that an even bigger trend toward using BAs will help solve the problem - the trend towards using BAs IS the problem.

    The idea that a developer can be soley focused on technology and not need a deep and through understanding of the business he is modeling is false. The only 100% complete design document is a print out of the source code. The developer is designing and re-designing with each line of code he writes. If he doesn't know what he's doing the end product will be a train wreck. Instead of BAs there should be subject matter experts. And the job of the subject matter expert should be to make the developer as much of a subject matter expert as possible. The developer and the subject matter expert can the collaberate on an english language version of what he's going to build (or if appropriate write a user manual prior to building). At least the lead developer (architect?) on the team needs to be able to do this - but the other developers should be learning these "ba" skills as well. They aren't worth much without them.

  3. Anonymous12:24 pm

    George has a good point - although most of us have seen plenty of projects developed without business analysts gone awry.

    Perhaps the issue is not business analysts per se - but rather core project teams grown beyond the level where team members can communicate easily and informally all through the development process.

    Personally I'd rather have a business analyst who can write clear, concise, understandable requirements that the customer, tester and developer can all accept. Such BAs can come from both sides of the house (IT and pure business).