8 November 2010

Measuring business analysts

Hi readers,

Today I was asked a question to which I didn't have a ready answer. Maybe you could help.

What measures of analysis/analyst work will most help BAs focus and improve their contribution to project outcomes.

And if you have recommended metrics, what would you say is a good score?

Some examples that spring to mind include number of change requests and BA work as a % of total effort. Any better ideas? Do these ones suck?

Thanks for your help!

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  1. This probably depends a lot on the organization and what the BA actually does, I think. How many flavors of BA are there? Interesting question either way, Craig.

    Josh Milane

  2. I had to ask the same question once..

    To your metrics I suggest to add qualitative metrics:
    - Satisfaction of the protect team with the completeness and clarity of the requirements
    - Satisfaction of the stakeholders with the requirement specs and the result of the proyect.

    Javier Sáenz

  3. Craig, I recently published an ebook titled "Measuring the performance of business analysts" that readers may want to check out.

    The website also has examples of measures that real life organizations are using for their business analysis practices.



  4. Hi Craig,

    I highly recommend Adriana's book -- it's a great resource for identifying performance measurements.

    There are also a few posts over on my blog about the topic -- unfortunately there is just too much information to synthesize in a single comment as the comments on these posts where rather extensive (and very valuable).



  5. Thanks guys for sharing.

  6. Hey Craig,

    Metrics are useful in measuring the impact of change, improvements that have been made. At IAG, we do focus on one metric that we know improves when a company starts to use our process, and that is indeed a large reduction in the number of change requests after requirements are done, due to actual missed or incorrect requirements (change requests don't always involve requirements).

    As such, it can be considered a measurement of using better process. Is that the same as measuring the effectiveness of a single person? I don't know, never having done performance reviews (although I have suffered from being reviewed many times over the years).

    My thoughts are that people in any job have to know what the work is, and be sufficiently trained to do it. Over time, one or two metrics may emerge for which a value is expected to maintained by a successful practitioner; it may indeed be x number of change request per y number of functional requirements discovered/documented. If a person maintains or improves on that metric, then you have a BA worth rewarding with increases, bonuses, etc.. If a person can't meet the metric, the first option would be remedial training and/or direct mentoring. I do not envy managers who have to deal with people who still cannot perform after that.

    Now, managing people is not science, not just math. Metrics must be chosen carefully. I think reduced change requests has merit, but it has to be based directly on the BA's work. If anything can interfere with that, like arbitrary setting of requirements by stakeholders, then the metric is invalidated... so choose and measure wisely.

  7. Laura, thank you for your kind words about Measuring the Performance of Business Analysts (which can be found at http://bealprojects.com).

    David, you bring up a good point (and one I discuss in my ebook): measures need to be put into context in order to ensure that external factors that can affect individual performance (such as process, management and stakeholders issues) are isolated and BAs are not held accountable for these uncontrollable factors.

  8. Consensus on the "tread carefull" warning!