I suspect many people reading this article will, at some time in their career, have had the challenge of explaining what business analysis is. We’ve all had that dreaded moment when we meet someone for the first time, explain we’re a Business Analyst, and we’re met with a blank stare (often with a slight look of confusion… ‘Business…what?’). I am sure that we have all developed our own elevator pitch to explain the value that good business analysis enables.
In the dim and distant past, it was common to hear people use the ‘bridging’ analogy of analysis. Perhaps you’ve heard (or even used this) yourself. There are many variations, but one that is commonly used is:
“Business analysis is the bridge between the business and IT”
Whilst this statement has its uses—it is certainly very succinct and conveys at least some of what good business analysis can achieve—in reality it describes only part of the BA role. And there is a danger that this analogy may be setting misconceptions.
The Trouble With The BA Bridge
To explore the trouble with the ‘bridging’ concept, let’s take an example outside of analysis. Imagine you saw an advertisement for a private doctor’s surgery. The advert has an authoritative looking doctor smiling, and a number to call to make appointments. Beneath the telephone number, there is a strapline: