"We Are All Professionals Here"
Is business analysis a profession?
Part 1: Yes, of course business analysis is a profession
Over the past several months there has been an upsurge in the continuing discussion of “who are we?” among business analysts on the boards and blogs of the Internet. Intertwined in those discussions and debates is the recurring discussion around the professional status of business analysis. My immediate response, as you might have guessed from my previous writings here and elsewhere, is affirmative: “of course business analysis is a profession, why is there even a doubt?”. After discussions with many others in the field I realize that there may be some validity in the debate from both sides. So I have summoned my inner schizophrenic to engage in a debate. Part 1 below presents the argument for the position that business analysis is a profession to be equated with doctors and lawyers. Part 2, which follows, presents the opposing viewpoint. In the meantime, I have been giving myself black eyes and calling my own lineage into question among other epithets as the debate with myself grows heated. Read on and see what you think about the professionalization of the business analyst.
I recently had a friend who changed jobs, moving from a Business Analyst to Operations Analyst. I asked if she was going to our IIBA chapter meeting, she informed me that she had not planned on it since she wasn’t a Business Analyst anymore. In another conversation a friend was telling me that she knew a friend that was on the Board of Directors of their local IIBA chapter. When he moved to being a Data Analyst he felt that he no longer was a Business Analyst. It never ceases to amaze me how many people don’t feel that they are a Business Analyst because their job title is not Business Analyst, or some derivative thereof.
I am equally amazed when I get into conversations with people about agile; how they start talking about Scrum and it quickly becomes apparent that they believe that Scrum is the only agile methodology. I think Kent McDonald put it best:
“Scrum is to Agile
Kleenex is to facial tissue.”
Agile is an approach to software development based on iterative and incremental development to drive quicker delivery time of the solution. There are many methodologies that support the agile approach, Scrum being the most widely accepted, but not the only one. Other methodologies, such as Lean, Crystal, Kanban, Extreme Programming (XP), Agile Unified Process (AUP), Adaptive Software Development (ASD), and others support the agile principles. However, many are only aware of Scrum and believe it is the only agile methodology.
There is a lot going on in your organization, all sorts of things that you need to wrap your head around. The challenge is that you first need to truly understand the issues and determine how to address them.
This is where Issue-Based or Goal-Based strategic planning is used.
Issue-Based planning is probably the most common planning process for tactical managers to use. It starts with a review of the organization's mission, vision, values and guiding principles; this ensures that management is practicing aligned thinking and has the right mindset to dig deeper and solve business problems.