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The Top Ten Business Analyst Trends for 2016

2080-business-analystLast year’s TwentyEighty Strategy Execution’s trends for business analysis focused on bedding in the BA role within projects and within organisations. Each year TwentyEighty publish trends and predictions for both project management and business analysis – and new for this year strategy execution too. In this article we take a look at how the business analysis profession is changing.

>> Download The Top Ten Business Analyst Trends for 2016

The Business Analyst’s Career

In last year’s Business Analyst Trends the focus was all about the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®) increasing their visibility and in turn this was seen as a boost to the BA community with a clearer Business Analyst’s career path emerging in larger organisations. As we look to the rest of 2016, the role and title of Business Analyst will reduce however the techniques and tools of a BA’s work will live on:

The techniques and tools of BA will be applied more, but there will be fewer with the job title of business analyst and more with titles such as process
analyst, knowledge engineer, project director, client service director and client relationship manager.

Yet many organisations will still covet the existing Business Analyst role – “a tactical, check-the-box” process driven individual. Yet a overaching theme of this year’s trends is about taking a shift away from being an order-taker or liaison between stakeholders, to an increased focus on being an agent of change, communication and collaboration. I suspect there will be a few challenges ahead for business analysts wanting to make the shift.

Relationship Building is a Key Strength

Last year , the Business Analyst trends covered the behavioural skills that were needed more than ever – especially around managing stakeholders, having difficult conversations and not running away from conflict situations. Last year there was definitely a feeling that Business Analysts needed to increase their visibility and effectiveness as “BAs will continue to be ignored”.

If Business Analysts want to see a paradigm shift in their role to one where their value to the organisation is in no doubt – that means working effectively with business leaders and executives – and project managers and their teams.

Those practicing the discipline will embrace the approach that being a strong business analyst requires more than just being an order-taker for requirements. It means establishing trust with stakeholders, and persuading them to embark on a journey of discovery together.

Adaptable Tools and Techniques

In 2014, Business Analysts were embracing Agile, not just as way to deliver projects but also as a way to rethink their own requirements gathering and analysis work. The emphasis was on gaining an Agile understanding as a framework or a philosophy. In 2015 it was all about the flexibility of both Agile and the more traditional approach of waterfall. This year it’s all about agility with a small ‘a’.

Today’s business climate requires project-based work be executed with more coordination and agility than ever before.

The agility comes in moving away from intensive document writing to visual modeling, online repositories and real-time collaboration – flexing and adapting to the need to work in geographical-dispersed and virtual teams. Agility is also needed in the bread-and-butter techniques like requirements gathering:
With about 45 percent of all approved requirements never actually being used, business analysts will use communication tools and techniques like design thinking and agile approaches that allow requirements to emerge and evolve over time.

Benefits Management Hits Business Analysis

It’s consistently ranked as one of the most difficult aspects of bridging the gap between strategy and execution – benefits management. Everyone agrees that understanding what the return on investment is and whether programmes and projects actually deliver the intended benefits for the organisation sounds easy in practice but is difficult to do in reality.

Business analysts will also be asked to focus more on business benefits rather than project outcomes:

Delivering and optimising business benefits will take higher priority than the traditional project goals of delivering on-time and within-budget. Projects will provide better solutions that deliver benefits for years to come.

Business-Analysis-Trends-2016To see the full trends for Business Analysis for 2015:

TwentyEighty Strategy Execution’s full top 10 trends for business analysis for 2016 include:

  1. The shifting role of BA toward communicating, instead of documenting
  2. ƒƒGoodbye to the business requirements document
  3. ƒƒWider adoption of a professional BA approach to increase organisations’ agility
  4. ƒƒBuilding better business cases that set up projects for success and avoid ones doomed to fail
  5. ƒƒMore focus on business benefits, less on project activities
  6. ƒƒIt’s not just about software, it’s about the WHOLE solution
  7. ƒƒBusiness analysis will help deliver better results from IT investments
  8. ƒƒMore business analysis, fewer business analysts drive career opportunities
  9. ƒƒYet many will continue to expect the “same old, same old” from business analysis
  10. ƒƒDon’t expect to get all the requirements up front

You can read the full report on the website: Business Analyst Trends for 2016

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About Nadine Rochester

Nadine Rochester
Nadine is the EMEA Marketing Director at TwentyEighty Strategy Execution

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