Business Analysts working with User-Experience
I enjoyed chatting with Penny Pullman on "BAs working with User-Experience" as part of the BA Summit. I have always been a believer in the need for "poly-skilled" people and have always observed a natural overlap between the disciplines of user experience and that of business analysis. Whilst many of the tools and techniques are easily shared amongst the disciplines, I find it is the mindset shift (that puts the end-user at the heart of every decision) can prove difficult for some analysts to adopt.
I met Penny when I spoke at the BA2011 conference. Penny was running a session on graphic facilitation.
Penny has now run a couple of BA Summits. These are multi-day virtual-events where experts in Business Analysis are brought in for a virtual Q&A session with the internet audience. I enjoyed the session and hope to participate again soon.
What do I call myself?
I've never liked being labeled or boxed! The distinction between UX and BA as "roles" on a project does a massive dis-service to shared understanding. So many tools and approaches are applicable to both skill-sets. An analytical mind is essential to both good BA and UX. Equally an appreciation of context, emotion and the subtleties of motivation and persuasion are essential to both good BA and UX.
I was hired by ThoughtWorks as a BA... I now lead Experience Design across the European Offices.
Next time you find a person hard to label - look deeper - you might have just found some talent...
The distinctions between "skill", "knowledge" and "role" are important. People have diverse and complex ranges and combinations of skills. Skills are transferable and (unlike "knowledge") can be applied across multiple domains and situations. "Roles" are the artificial labelling construct that is typically used in project management to resource projects appropriately and to communicate accountability.
I would highly recommend the following books where you can find more information on some of the topics discussed.