If I wanted to be a project manager, I would have become a project manager.
Business analysis is a great area to be in for anyone just starting their career or for anyone that has been in the IT field for many years and is looking to expand their knowledge base or learn new techniques. Business analysis is in almost every aspect of the Systems development life cycle (SDLC) and is its own specialized career found in almost every industry in the world. Business analysis is not a stepping stone for project management but will give you valuable skills if that is where your career path takes you. When I discuss my career path with people, I often have to tell them. “If I wanted to be a project manager, I would have become a project manager”.
So what exactly is business analysis?
Business analysis is the analysis of business. Just kidding, but not really. Since the start of my career, I have worked for various telecommunication, software, and consulting companies, and the practice of business analysis for all of them has been relatively the same. A person (usually the business analyst) will meet with a customer, project sponsor, or stakeholder to determine, define, and document business needs and requirements and then help those requirements become technical specifications that will be used in the development of software or for the support or upgrading of existing software. Analysis is required to determine what is really required for a business instead of just going with the wants of the people that make the decisions or pay the bills. For example: Changing the colour of a software GUI from green to blue because the owner of the company, because blue is their favorite colour, may not seem reasonable because it does not provide any additional functionality to the software and will cost the company money to implement, test, and roll out to the customer. On the other hand, if the company was rebranding and their corporate colours changed then it may make sense to alter the software GUI to reflect their new look to help their customers recognize their brand on the market.
A Business Analyst will elicit, document, and analyze requirements and use their knowledge and available tools and techniques to identify business needs to determine solutions to business problems. A Business Analyst can use process improvements, various methodologies, and best practices to help complete organizational goals.