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Are you a Generalist Business Analyst

June 15, 2010 13 comments

A Generalist Business Analyst or a Domain Specific – Choice is yours

I restate what I just mentioned in excerpt, that this content is purely my opinion and does not reflect a viewpoint of any organization or group I am associated with. This post is a result of my observation within the IT Industry and tales of my Business Analyst friends in various organizations working in a specific domain and non-domain (generalist)  projects. Being a Business Analyst in financial sector (and also having worked in multiple domains like Oil and Gas, Automobile, US Taxation, Credit Risk etc), I am always attracted to understand the shortcomings and benefits of working as a domain or non-domain specific business analyst. I am not advocating than one is better and the other is bad, but today I will try to pen down the pitfalls that a generalist Business Analyst may be required to take a heed of  and later talk on same lines for domain specific business analyst in another post:

1. If a Business Analyst is not carrying a domain knowledge, then while having requirement discussions with business, he would merely act as postman without contributing much to the analysis of the requirements given by business (as he does not have the required business understanding). A good business analyst is considered to be bridge who stands between the technical and business communities, but in this scenario the bridge may get converted into a communication barrier.

2. If you are a generalist Business Analyst, business people will never accept you as you cannot talk to them in their language while gathering requirements. If you do not know that particular domain, you can never ask desired questions to carryout a constructive requirement gathering.

3. I have seen a few instances when a generalist Business Analyst is shun off by the technical team and being a generalist Business Analyst is considered to be a demotion. What causes this problem to roar for a generalist Business Analyst is that he can neither take the technical queries raised by business nor the business/domain related queries raised by technical team.

4. In words of a close friend of mine, the biggest hurdle for him being a generalist Business Analyst is that every time he starts a new project, he starts as a fresher in terms of domain. None of his previous project’s domain knowledge is carried forward to help him in the next assignment which forces him to burn midnight oil each time during a project change to get used to the new domain.

5. Many people have complaints that they find themselves difficult to sell without being affiliated to a domain and they are not saying anything wrong. Take a case, if a part of your body is ailing, you prefer to go to a specialist doctor and specialist doctor’s career always (or mostly) flies better than a general physician. Likewise, it is true in all professions and Business Analysts are no exception to it.

6. Again from the experiences of a friend, the task of a generalist Business Analyst is very vague. Most of the time he does not understand what deliverables are expected out of him because of unfamiliarity with the domain and this problem also causes inaccurate effort estimation that is required to carryout the complete task.

7. Being a generalist Business Analyst, always gives a sense of acting as a facilitator (struggled hard to find this respectable word). You can never move up to the ladder of strategy builders or core consultants.

8. During hard times, like one of the 85 financial crisis we just passed through, when you do not have much options but to work on whatever comes your way, a domain specific Business Analyst can easily get into the shoes of a generalist Busines Analyst (and can sell himself as a generalist as well if requried), but the reverse is not so easy.

Your suggestions are most welcome if my understanding needs to be improved on any of the above mentioned points.

Regards

Anupam

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एक दिवस फिर बीत गया !

June 4, 2010 5 comments

एक दिवस फिर बीत गया !

आज पुनः फिर एक दिवस, आशा-हताशा संग बीत गया,
सौदामिनी संग दिन शुरू किया, कालिमा संग ये प्रश्‍न रह गया,
किस उद्देश्य को पूर्ण किया, और ना जाने क्या छूट गया,
आज पुनः फिर एक दिवस, आशा-हताशा संग बीत गया |

तरल तरंगो में बहता, भीषण थपेड़ों को सहता,
ढृढ खड़ा क्रुद्ध सिंधु में, कब तक सहता उनका प्रतिघात,
तरंग-शिलाओं से टकरा, कण-कण जर-जर बिखर गया,
आज पुनः फिर एक दिवस, आशा-हताशा संग बीत गया |

अनस्तित्व निरंतर करता, प्रयास प्राण के भेदन का,
रुद्र बन मैं तांडव करता, कभी तो विराम लगाने का,
या कभी बन तरुण तपस्वी, साधन कर सांकल लगाया,
आज पुनः फिर एक दिवस, आशा-हताशा संग बीत गया |

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