Business Analysis - I'm 'In It' now

  • Posted on: 28 February 2014
  • By: Jay Oyster

I haven't posted much lately about my secular life. That's because my job as a Business Analyst (BA) at WellStar Health Systems has been getting more and more intensive.

This prompts me to start trying to capture my thoughts about what it means to be a business analyst nowadays. This is not an old profession. It's sort of a result of the move by IT and other organizations to go formal and certifications-based on how they do 'projects'.  Various organizations have attempted to set up Project Management Offices (PMOs) and to hire Project Managers (PMs) with formal training (usually (Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the PMI institute).)  But they've realized that there are gaps in the machine. The business analyst role was created largely to attempt to fill one of the big gaps. And as you might be getting an understanding from this intro text, much of the work of BAs seems to involve understanding an endless array of TLA's (Three Letter Acronyms.)  TLAs are the words of the priesthood. In any profession, these acronyms are the way that the high practitioners obscure and confuse everyone else about what it is that they are really doing. And BAs are supposed to step in and interpret the words of the high priests to everyone else. Well, that's part of it.

International Institute of Business AnalysisI'm going to comment on the BA profession from an 'outside the walled garden' perspective. I have not yet sought nor achieved a business analyst certification, although I've had some training in the theories, and have little doubt I can pass the test if I need to. In the BA world, the certification is mostly one of the certs offered by the IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis), such as the CBAP (Certified Business Analyst Professional).   See what I mean about TLA's?  I am a member of the IIBA. I joined last year when my employer offered to pay the annual $150 membership fee. I've even gone to a couple of meetings. It was nice to meet other weirdo's like me.

Certification for a BA has been fairly straight-forward up until now, which is why the PMI decided to step in recently and create their *own* cert for BA's. Why keep things simple? It doesn't serve their purposes.  I'm going to try to write up my thoughts about this move by the PMI in a later blog entry. It's a big topic.

So I don't have a CBAP. I'll probably go get one in the next couple months, just because it's getting harder and harder to say you are a BA without having it. Not impossible, just harder. But, given that state, it means I'm working as professional BA but without all of the indoctrinational bullshit of the certification organization overlaid. So I want to try to capture my current perspective on what this job entails before it gets all mucked up by theory.  I have considered myself a business analyst for about three years now. In that time, I've worked for four different organizations, in a fairly broad spectrum of industries, each with a varying level of project management immaturity. And more importantly, I've gone through three separate job hunts as a BA in two different states. It's a rapidly evolving profession, and even most of the people who do it don't have a good grasp on what, exactly, it is. In the next few posts, I'm going to try to capture my thoughts on that topic.