Business Analysts have a delicate act to balance when it comes to refining existing processes. With a whole bunch of variables, stakeholders and requirements, it's a sensitive field to navigate.
Now, in no way are we implying that a business analyst's work is quite as terrifying as that of a hostage negotiator. But there is something to be said about a considered communication strategy in order to achieve a specific outcome. We're talking about extracting information from clients in order to deliver upon requirements. Or, in some cases, their demands. Sound familiar?
What Is A Business Analyst?
Going back to basics, a business analyst is a role in a (our case, software) team who acts as the first point of contact with a client or stakeholder. Their role works to thoroughly investigate problems and share their findings. This is usually done through the creation of tasks and the susbsequent communication of how to address roadblocks and other obstacles (and emphasising why this is important.)
And How Are They Like Hostage Negotiators?
- Firstly, business analysts are responsible for successfully capturing and refining business requirements. This is the 'finding-out-the-demands-and-developing-a-plan' stage.
- Secondly, business analysts are a key player in the success of the project's communication strategy. This is the 'understanding-the-needs-and-gaining-the-trust-of-the-hostage-taker' stage.
- Thirdly, business analysts ensure that the probablity of miscommunication is reduced. Miscommunication can lead to a landslide of problems further down the line in the project. We've chatted about the typical stumbling blocks found in communication processes before, and it's one of the roles of a business analyst to navigate these. This is the 'making-sure-everyone-knows-the-plan-inside-out' stage.
To Surmise: It's All About Communication
We hope this analogy of software business analyst and hostage negotiator helps underscore the importance of this role. Without someone taking a birds-eye view and championing the communication strategy, everything just goes, well, wonky.