Those of you who follow my ramblings know that I have been a strong proponent for Enterprise Analysis and the strategic value of the Business Analyst within the organization. My views can be ascertained from my previous articles:
Yet, as the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®) grows in recognition, I find that many organizations, especially SMBs, do not utilize the BA role for strategic value. Most organizations have BAs and use them in their traditional tactical role on projects in requirements gathering and solution validation; but very few organizations utilize the BA role for Enterprise Analysis.
As the framers of the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK®) sit down to write version 3.0 of the BABOK® Guide and continue to work on the Enterprise Analysis extension to the BABOK® Guide, I hope that they put particular emphasis on this very important BA role. Perhaps companies will take note and start to utilize their BAs to help the organization achieve its strategic goals.
The BABOK® Guide does mention tasks that a BA may perform under Enterprise Analysis, including but not limited to Capability Gap Analysis, Market Research and Feasibility Studies. However, it falls short of describing how the BA should perform their strategic duties. The BA having performed the Enterprise Analysis task(s) builds a business case, resulting in a Business Case document, for a solution to resolve a business need of the organization identified during the Enterprise Analysis activity. This business case is presented by the Project Sponsor to the project review board (governance body) for approval to proceed with the project. The Enterprise Analyst (EA), having performed the up-front analysis that resulted in the business case, should sit in support of the business case and the Project Sponsor. He/she should be available at the presentation to answer any questions the governance body may have concerning the business case.
The EA also works with the governance body to ensure that every business case brought up for approval has traceability back to the organization’s strategic goals and objectives and that the most optimal mix of projects get approved that best contributes to the organization’s strategic goals. This would be a portfolio of projects that do not conflict with each other and advances the organization the best in achieving its strategic goals.
When we see organizations utilize the EA role more effectively perhaps we will see better project success rates in the Standish Group’s CHAOS Report.