What is Business Analysis?

Per PMI’s Business Analysis for Practitioners Practice Guide, business analysis is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to: 

  • Determine problems and identify business needs;
  • Identify and recommend viable solutions for meeting those needs;
  • Elicit, document, and manage stakeholder requirements in order to meet business and project objectives;
  • Facilitate the successful implementation of the product, service, or end result of the program or project.
In short, business analysis is the set of activities performed to identify business needs and recommend relevant solutions; and to elicit, document, and manage requirements. 

Who Performs Business Analysis Activities?

Anyone, including but not limited to project managers, developers and testers may perform business analysis activities regardless of their title.  While it is certainly possible for someone to perform business analysis outside the context of a project or program, PMI’s focus in business analysis is within the realm of projects and programs.  

Benefits of Business Analysis and Requirements Management?

PMI surveyed more than 2,000 practitioners to compile the Pulse of the Profession 2014 Requirements Management Report which determined the #2 reason why projects fail is poor requirements management.  The following are some of the astonishing highlights from the report:

  • 37% of organizations cited “inaccurate requirements gathering” as a primary cause of project failure
  • When projects do not meet their original goals and business objectives, inaccurate requirements management is the primary cause of that outcome almost half of the time (47%)
  • Only half of organizations (49%) report that they have the necessary resources in place to properly perform requirements management, leaving the other half of organizations lacking resources
  • Only 46 percent of organizations report using a formal process to ensure unbiased requirements validation for projects
  • 87% of organizations recognize, to some degree, that improvements are needed in the performance of requirements management in the organization
  • 53% of organizations reported an increase in the demand for business analysts
  • 52% of organizations would like to see an increase in the integration of requirements management and business analysis with project management
  • Only 46% of organizations believe there is good collaboration between their project managers and business analysts.  Yet, 68% of organizations indicate this collaboration is essential for project success
The full report can be found here: PMI's 2014 Pulse of the Profession Requirements Management Report

How Can We Help?

Organizations are realizing the value of collecting solid requirements and therefore the value of having resources with the expertise to do so.  It’s also no secret that a project is almost doomed to fail if the project manager and the business analyst are not on the same page.  

With the launch of the newly trademarked Project Management Institute - Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA) certification, we are here to provide resources to those who wear the business analyst hat at any point in the project lifecycle or those interested in business analysis in general.  Many of us do conduct business analysis activities as part of our role even if our titles are not business analysts.    Sometimes it is even the same resource that is tasked to play both the project manager and business analyst roles on smaller scale initiatives.  We will address the community’s needs by focusing on how we can apply business analysis concepts in our environments.    We will also focus on improving the collaboration and touchpoints between BAs and PMs to a seamless integration of the BA role to maximize best practices to ensure the benefits for projects are realized.

We will provide value to our community by:

  • Encouraging sharing of best practices in the business analysis space
  • Providing additional opportunities for professional development
  • Opening multiple channels of communication for our members to connect with us and each other
  • Helping PMs and BAs work together, improving project successes