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New Post 9/20/2007 9:19 AM
User is offline Chris Adams
319 posts
5th Level Poster






10 Things to Change to improve the Analysis Profession 
Modified By Chris Adams  on 10/25/2007 11:31:30 AM)
There are some areas or things about the analysis profession that are great. These things should be actively managed and maintained to ensure that they don’t deteriorate or disappear. There are some things about the analysis profession that must change, or the profession will stumble leaving its future in jeopardy. Finally, there are some areas of the analysis profession where we can make significant advances to deliver greater value to the businesses we support. Ideas that can help improve the profession in a way that brings significant added-value to the businesses that we support should be nurtured.

This thread is about identifying those items that fall into each of these categories. Some of the things that are identified as part of this exercise may stretch far beyond the analysis profession. They may impact the environment that our profession and all others profession operate within. But by improving them our profession will also benefit.

10 is a nice number. Maybe we will identify more, maybe we will identify less. Let’s see where the conversation takes us!

So here are the categories:

1. Things to be actively managed and maintained
2. Things that must change
3. Things that will bring significant added-value to the profession and to the businesses we support

Chris Adams
Core Member – ModernAnalyst.com
LinkedIn Profile
 
New Post 9/20/2007 1:14 PM
User is offline Chris Adams
319 posts
5th Level Poster






Re: 10 Things to Change to improve the Analysis Profession 
Modified By Chris Adams  on 10/25/2007 11:32:02 AM)
If you keep your ear to the proverbial wall in the U.S., you with hear a lot of developers complaining about how dramatically salaries are decreasing throughout the IT industry. It is a simple case of supply and demand. More and more developer positions are being outsourced to India and eventually will get outsourced elsewhere once India is no longer cost effective. That leaves fewer job openings in local job markets with more people competing for the positions. The result; salaries drop. I am curious if the Australian, UK, and other markets are feeling the same effects, but I digress.

These days, I see more and more developers looking at business analysis and systems analysis as an out. So, why hasn’t outsourcing affected analysis to the same extent? Companies are more likely to keep their analysts close to the business users. For that reason, analysts are a bit more insulated from much of the outsourcing that goes on in the development world. But as developers move into analyst roles a new problem arises. Suddenly, a much larger number of analysts are trying to land interviews for open positions, creating a dramatic increase in supply. So what do you think the outcome will be? If you guess a drop in salaries I would say you are probably right.

So how can business analysts and systems analysts protect themselves? Obviously, we can’t keep people from switching careers, but we can differentiate ourselves. It is up to the current analysis community to demonstrate our worth as “experienced analysts” to the corporate world of bean counters and penny pinchers.

So how can we clearly differentiate ourselves from the crowd? How can we help hiring managers identify the clear advantage of hiring one analyst of the other?

First, as a community we need to better understand our own value and what we offer companies. The analysis community as a whole needs to do a better job of raising awareness of new industry standards and best practices among ourselves. Based on my experience, most of the analysis community is completely unaware of many of the recent advancements in the industry. Most analysts aren’t taking the necessary steps to increase their skills and knowledge (If you are reading this forum, then congratulations, you are a leg up on the rest). Beyond the analysts, many hiring managers don’t know what they need to be looking for either. On a percentage basis, they tend to be more aware of industry standards and best practices that the typical analyst, but not by much.

Second, we need to educate companies on the value that they can reap. The analysis community needs to do a better job of raising awareness of new industry standards and best practices within corporate organizations and how the work products produced by analysts add value to the business. Many organizations don’t understand the full value and benefit of things like Business Process Modeling. What can it do for them? How can it save them money? How can it make their business more competitive and adaptive to market changes?

Third, we need to create standard benchmarking techniques for evaluating analysts. Very few benchmarks are available to weigh one analyst against another. If you are a hiring manager who knows analysis well then you can ask questions about the analysis process, various methodologies, and standard modeling techniques. But if you are not (remember a lot of organizations don’t even have an official analysis team) you probably don’t have the interviewing skills and knowledge required to differentiate a great analyst from a mediocre one. We need standard benchmarks. Hiring managers need a way to know if they should pay an analyst $60k, $80k, or $100k based on their skills. Then they need to evaluate what level of analyst they need based on their companies’ needs. Certifications are definitely one tool to get us there, but currently there are very few certifications for analysts. I can think of one of the top of my head (CBAP). But we need to identify others benchmarking techniques as well.

In summary, we need to combat wage deflation. In order to do this we need to:

1. Effectively communicate and promote industry standard, best practices, and emerging advancements in technologies, methodologies, and techniques among the analysis community.
2. Effectively communicate and promote the value and benefits of industry standard, best practices, and emerging advancements in technologies, methodologies, and techniques to the business we support.
3. Create standard benchmarking techniques for evaluating analysts.

Chris Adams
Core Member – ModernAnalyst.com
LinkedIn Profile
 
New Post 9/20/2007 10:28 PM
User is offline Adrian M.
741 posts
3rd Level Poster




Re: 10 Things to Change to improve the Analysis Profession 
Modified By Chris Adams  on 10/25/2007 11:32:36 AM)

 One thing that we as business systems analysts need to do is become "evangelists"!

I'm not talking about touting a specific methodology, best practice, or tool!  I'm talking about our profession! 

We need to make sure that others understand the value the business analysts bring to business organizations and software projects.  And the best way to do this is by example.  We need to do such a great job that our managers, executives, developers, business stakeholders begin to wonder how they have ever managed without us.

I've done this in a couple of organizations and it works!  It's not as much about telling people about our value but more about showing them the value we bring to every project.  If the team you work for has no standards and best practices, begin to establish them.  If your organization has not identified the skills and competencies expected of the analyst - you should volunteer to do so.

In addition - we have the responsibility to continually improve our knowledge and skills.  Just as we analyze a business process, a problem, an information system to find things that need to change so must we analyze ourselves in order to identify those areas in which we need to continue to grow and improve.

- Adrian

Adrian Marchis
Business Analyst Community Blog - Post your thoughts!
 
New Post 9/21/2007 5:35 AM
User is offline Craig Brown
560 posts
www.betterprojects.net
4th Level Poster




Things that must change 

Quality of work needs to improve; and that means project success.  

The right requirements set is not enough, you also need the right solutions, well executed, validated and implemented.  

BAs are critical parts of each of these steps. Following a mandated corporate process or SLDC models won’t get you to the successful end state. You need to sweat the project.  Be passionate about what is right (wither a good dose of commercial sensibility to keep yourself on target.) 

And its no good blaming sponsors, stakeholders, PMs or developers for the failures. We fail as a team.

 
New Post 9/21/2007 6:19 AM
User is offline Craig Brown
560 posts
www.betterprojects.net
4th Level Poster




Things to be actively managed and maintained 

Coaching, mentoring and sharing skills and knowledge.  

 

If you are an experienced, talented BA share your experiences and knowledge.  Go find some junior BA or someone wanting to become a BA and coach them, mentor them, help them grow into excellent BAs.

 

 
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