Business Analysis: Eliciting and Managing Requirements

What does a Business Analyst do?  Well, on a simplistic level, it’s pretty simple:  Business Analysts gather requirements and organize them.  But it does get more complicated than that.  Who does Business Analysis, and is it in combination with other jobs?  What are the left and right bounds of the Business Analysis function?  What do Business Analysts need to know?  This article explores these questions. 

This is the first part of a series of four articles on “Business Analysis”, where we explore various aspects of the field in practice today.  This article, Part 1 in the series, “Business Analysis:  Eliciting and Managing Requirements”, looks at the left and right bounds of what a Business Analyst does.  Part 2, “Business Analysis Certification”, looks at the opportunity for certification and benefits of doing it.  Part 3 “Business Analysis:  Stakeholders Within the Organization”, focuses on the variety of stakeholders for the products that Business Analysts produce.  Finally, Part 4, “Business Analysis Best of Breed Tools”, dives into the key capabilities of the tools that Business Analysts use. 

The Business Analyst is involved in the design or modification of business systems or IT systems; interacts with the business stakeholders and subject matter experts in order to understand their problems and needs; and gathers, documents, and analyzes business needs and requirements.  They may do it in the context of a project, a program, or even an organization-wide context.  They may get involved before a project has even been selected, or may only be involved when the project is progressing. 

Certifications in Business Analysis

Let’s take a look at what the two leading certifications in the Business Analysis field say you need to know in order to pass. 

For the PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA) certification, a candidate is tested on their knowledge in the following areas: 

  • Needs Assessment 
  • Planning 
  • Analysis 
  • Traceability and Monitoring Evaluation 

For the one of the IIBA Business Analysis certifications, a candidate is tested on their knowledge in the following areas: 

  • Business Analysis Planning and Monitoring 
  • Elicitation and Collaboration 
  • Requirement Life Cycle Management 
  • Strategy Analysis 
  • Requirements Analysis and Design Definition 
  • Solution Evaluation 

Based on these knowledge requirements, I would say that it’s about more than just requirements gathering and requirements management.  In fact, there are individuals within organizations that are totally focused on Business Analysis across the organization.  There are others who focus on Business Analysis on projects and programs only.  Still others perform multiple, or hybrid, roles where they perform Business Analysis in conjunction with other roles such as project/program management, quality assurance, testing, change management, design, systems analysis, process improvement, and consulting. 

At the outer edges of the profession, and also at the highest levels, Business Analysts perform enterprise level Business Analysis, or may be part of Business Analysis Center of Excellence or Business Analysis Competency team 

Can you differentiate now what a Business Analyst does? 

This post is part of the series: Business Analysis

This series of four articles looks at the requirements of a Business Analyst and the performance of this job in Business Analysis.

1. Business Analysis: Eliciting and Managing Requirements
2. Business Analysis Certification
3. Business Analysis: Stakeholders Within the Organization
4. Business Analysis: Best of Breed Tools