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New Post 8/18/2009 6:17 AM
User is offline Mike
1 posts
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The BSA Team - where does is best fit within an organisation 

I work for a medium size employer and we have a team of Business Systems Analysts. Presently we report up through the head of the Project Management Office and ultimately up to the Head of Technology and Operations.

I've recently been asked my thoughts if  the reporting line was changed, so we became managed by the Quality Assurance Manager. I've fairly mixed feelings about it to be honest, but wondered how other people's teams were structured and how it worked. What's your story?

New Post 8/18/2009 11:06 PM
User is offline Adrian M.
755 posts
3rd Level Poster

Re: The BSA Team - where does is best fit within an organisation 

Hi Michael,

You're raising a great question! There are many models on where organizations place the business systems analysts.

There seem to be three key questions raised when making such a decision:

  • Business side (report through the line of business such as operations, sales, etc.) vs. IT side (application development groups, technology PMO, etc.)
  • Centralized (one large group of business analysts such as a BA Center of Excellence) vs. Decentralized (many BA teams reporting to various departments and units)
  • Dedicated management (the head of the business analysis group is at the same level as other functional heads: development, QA, PM, etc.) vs. Shared functional management (when the business analyst team reports to a head of another functional such as Software Development, Quality Assurance, Project/Program Management, etc.)

Personally, I've been mostly involved on teams where the business analysts were:

  • On IT side, decentralized, with dedicated management.  Meaning that the BAs were in the software development side of the house but there were many teams each in charge of one or two products/projects and each one of those groups had its own team of BAs who's manager/lead was a peer of the development manager, QA manager, etc. OR
  • On IT side, decentralized, with shared management.  Same as above except that the entire team was made up of technical consultants which some did BSA work, some did Dev work and everybody did QA work.

There are benefits and drawbacks to each model with many organizations using a hybrid for example having business analysts on the business side who work with the business to identify opportunities and solutions on the business process/operations side as well as having business/systems analysts on the IT side focusing on requirements and solutions for IT-centric projects.

Hope this helps!

- Adrian

Adrian Marchis
Business Analyst Community Blog - Post your thoughts!
New Post 8/19/2009 11:53 AM
User is offline Craig Brown
560 posts
4th Level Poster

Re: The BSA Team - where does is best fit within an organisation 
Modified By Craig Brown  on 8/19/2009 1:54:14 PM)



There are some good reasons why QA and analysis can go together, but if you internal alarm bells are going off there is probably something wrong.


Is the BA group being marginalise?  Have some BAs built up a bad reputation for the rest of you?

Is it politic? Does the head of PMO need to be punished or the head of QA rewarded for some reason?

Os is it simply team size or funtional/skill alignment?

New Post 9/10/2009 3:51 AM
User is offline KIERANC
22 posts
9th Level Poster

Re: The BSA Team - where does is best fit within an organisation 

Hi Michael,

Really the only way to put your mind at ease here is to ask some questions informally around your organization. In many ways the role of the BSA and QA have a lot iof similiarities although it is more common to have seperate reporting lines for these groups.

BSA's and QA's do share the same analytical approach but look at things from slightly different standpoints albeit both are focussed on the Business and Technical Requirements. 

I suppose the main thing is that the professsional role and influence of your group of BSAa is not being challenged. The only way to be sure here is to do a bit of digging around your organisation to see what the preception is of your group is.  If there are some not so good perceptions of the BSA role (for whatever reason) as a group you may need to think how you can change that perception and raise the profile of your group. To my mind the BSA and QA roles are equally important but quite distinct in what they bring to any organisation. The Reporting lines should reflect this. 


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