I came across an interesting blog discussing the warrants and interest of farming your own food. It covered some basic yet still interesting perspectives on specialization where a farmer is probably a lot better at farming than a lawyer farming in her spare time. It also reminded me that I would probably get bored with the corn and spinach bacon salads I could grow versus the diversity of Giant Eagle and food options presented there. It was well established by first the manufacturing sector over a hundred years ago and then adopted by pretty much every other industry since that specialization is far more efficient than any other work distribution model.
While every nurse “thinks” they have just as much efficacy as a doctor and every developer “thinks” they can do BA work just as good as a BA my experience says differently. I find BA’s to be the only ones proficient at being a BA. And I have seen the extremely effective SME attempt BA deliverables; I have seen a plethora of finance experts try their hand at BA deliverables (and coding but that is another conversation); I have seen project managers try their BA kitchen talents and while they come close they still can not match the skill and efficiency of a real BA.
But that which explains best why I protect the dev team is the value proposition a BA affords to the enterprise business model simultaneously protecting the business from the dev team and protecting the dev team from the business.
Of all the duties and interest of a BA the relationship management with the business is an ongoing and important function that contributes most to highly efficient and effective technological solutions. The BA also brings an understanding – a translation – of business versus technological interest that I find few developers are capable of balancing. While the developers truly live to serve the end-user (and the best one’s actually enjoy that part of the job the most) the BA simply does a better job of user-empathy and therefore will prioritize the needs of the one over the needs of the many (sorry for the obvious geek reference) when it is necessary whereas that choice would rarely be made by a purist.
The optimal output comes about by letting the developers develop, the architects architect and the BA’s … well … manage the users, educate the SME’s, prioritize the unnecessary request, evolve the business process even where no technological changes are required, transform the training teams, facilitate for the project manager and in their spare time write requirements and design great solutions for the business.
I will take 2 good BA’s for every good developer any day of the week.
And please, don’t talk to the developers directly and don’t feed the animals. I grow my own herbs but that’s about as far as I go (actually it’s my wife that grows the herbs).