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Product design and design thinking are major buzzwords today mainly with IT services delivery and product development companies. It is fast encroaching on the job role of business analysts and UI / UX engineers. But is it the same? Will the business analyst role become obsolete? Is there life beyond product design for a business analyst? Is everything lost for a business analyst who failed to ace a product design job interview?  This article intends to clear the air between business analysis and product design and to discuss about the endless possibilities for a business analyst. What does a Business Analysts Do? IIBA® defines the business analyst as anyone performing the role of an analyst in an organization. They further emphasize the fact that it can be anyone playing the analyst role including an HR analyst, finance analyst, market analyst, UI / UX engineer, Quality assurance engineer, legal consultant, management consultant, process consultant and so on. BABOK™ Version 3.0 defines business analysis as follows.  “Business Analysis is the practice of enabling change in an organizational context, by defining needs & recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders. Business analysis enables an enterprise to articulate needs & the rationale for change, & to design & describe solutions that can deliver value.” The main objective of any organization is first of all to maintain its current financial position and then to thrive and improve to a more superior state. Organizations face a many a constraint from the environment or the context that they are operating in which may include PESTEL factors and threats posed by the industry as explained through Porter’s 5 forces.  The business analyst is a catalyst that identifies and facilitates this need for change. The business analyst is expected to study the context and the different factors, study the resources and capabilities of the organization along with its strategic objectives to recommend solutions that can deliver superior value to the key stakeholders.  The solution that the business analyst recommends can be a product, service or even a simple change in the business process. So, it is obvious that conceptualizing, defining and designing a product is just one facet of the role of a business analyst. The business analyst can get involved in studying existing business processes of a manufacturing organization, understand the pain points and problems faced on the workflow and suggest solutions to overcome those problems. Similarly, a business analyst may study the trends and patterns in consumption of a brand, study competing alternative products in the market and suggest improvements to the product or the marketing strategy. A business analyst can even be an advocate to a company CEO or the board of directors where he if equipped with sound business and technical knowledge can become a trusted advisor and thereby propose new business opportunities and business cases. So as we can see, there are endless possibilities to play a role of a business analyst. So, Who is a Product Designer? Product design can be identified as a subset of solution design. It stems from the broader concept of industrial design that is the application of concepts of product design in a mass scale. The role of a product designer is to combine their knowledge about business, technology and engineering to design functional products that are useful to the end users. One of the major schools of thought in terms of product design is the Stanford School of design. Product design according to them is the process of empathizing, defining, ideating, prototyping and testing the product. It is a human-centered design process where the design thinker is first of all expected to understand the problem they are about to solve as their own. Through techniques such as persona mapping, user journey mapping etc. the designer identifies and frames the design problem. Then multiple ideas are created to give a suitable solution for the problem the then moves to the stage of prototyping of the selected idea. The workable prototype is demonstrated to the user where actual testing of the product is made with real users and feedback incorporated in a quick and efficient manner.  Hence, we can see that the product designer role is to do with defining and developing a product as a solution to a problem faced by a stakeholder within a certain context.  So in conclusion, do not worry if you are unable to ace your next business analyst interview. You may have failed just one product design related business analysis job opportunity.  Try for other business analysis opportunities that you are interested in. if you are interested in doing product designer type business analysis work now you know one place from which you can get the required information – The Stanford School of Product Design!!  
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More Edges to Business Analysis

194
More Edges to Business Analysis

Product design and design thinking are major buzzwords today mainly with IT services delivery and product development companies. It is fast encroaching on the job role of business analysts and UI / UX engineers. But is it the same? Will the business analyst role become obsolete? Is there life beyond product design for a business analyst? Is everything lost for a business analyst who failed to ace a product design job interview? 

This article intends to clear the air between business analysis and product design and to discuss about the endless possibilities for a business analyst.

What does a Business Analysts Do?

IIBA® defines the business analyst as anyone performing the role of an analyst in an organization. They further emphasize the fact that it can be anyone playing the analyst role including an HR analyst, finance analyst, market analyst, UI / UX engineer, Quality assurance engineer, legal consultant, management consultant, process consultant and so on.

BABOK™ Version 3.0 defines business analysis as follows. 

“Business Analysis is the practice of enabling change in an organizational context, by defining needs & recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders. Business analysis enables an enterprise to articulate needs & the rationale for change, & to design & describe solutions that can deliver value.”

The main objective of any organization is first of all to maintain its current financial position and then to thrive and improve to a more superior state. Organizations face a many a constraint from the environment or the context that they are operating in which may include PESTEL factors and threats posed by the industry as explained through Porter’s 5 forces. 

The business analyst is a catalyst that identifies and facilitates this need for change. The business analyst is expected to study the context and the different factors, study the resources and capabilities of the organization along with its strategic objectives to recommend solutions that can deliver superior value to the key stakeholders. 

The solution that the business analyst recommends can be a product, service or even a simple change in the business process. So, it is obvious that conceptualizing, defining and designing a product is just one facet of the role of a business analyst. The business analyst can get involved in studying existing business processes of a manufacturing organization, understand the pain points and problems faced on the workflow and suggest solutions to overcome those problems. Similarly, a business analyst may study the trends and patterns in consumption of a brand, study competing alternative products in the market and suggest improvements to the product or the marketing strategy. A business analyst can even be an advocate to a company CEO or the board of directors where he if equipped with sound business and technical knowledge can become a trusted advisor and thereby propose new business opportunities and business cases. So as we can see, there are endless possibilities to play a role of a business analyst.

So, Who is a Product Designer?
Product design can be identified as a subset of solution design. It stems from the broader concept of industrial design that is the application of concepts of product design in a mass scale. The role of a product designer is to combine their knowledge about business, technology and engineering to design functional products that are useful to the end users.

One of the major schools of thought in terms of product design is the Stanford School of design. Product design according to them is the process of empathizing, defining, ideating, prototyping and testing the product. It is a human-centered design process where the design thinker is first of all expected to understand the problem they are about to solve as their own. Through techniques such as persona mapping, user journey mapping etc. the designer identifies and frames the design problem. Then multiple ideas are created to give a suitable solution for the problem the then moves to the stage of prototyping of the selected idea. The workable prototype is demonstrated to the user where actual testing of the product is made with real users and feedback incorporated in a quick and efficient manner. 

Hence, we can see that the product designer role is to do with defining and developing a product as a solution to a problem faced by a stakeholder within a certain context. 

So in conclusion, do not worry if you are unable to ace your next business analyst interview. You may have failed just one product design related business analysis job opportunity.  Try for other business analysis opportunities that you are interested in. if you are interested in doing product designer type business analysis work now you know one place from which you can get the required information – The Stanford School of Product Design!!
 

Rumesh

Rumesh Wijetunge

Chief Innovation Officer - Zaizi Limited, Chief Operating Officer - LearntIn (Pvt) Ltd., Director /

Rumesh is an IT business leader with over 12 years of industry experience as a business analyst and project manager. He is currently the CIO of Zaizi Limited, a UK based data management company heading the operations in Sri Lanka, the COO of LearntIn, a global training institute based in Sri Lanka and is also a lecturer / trainer at multiple private universities on management, IT, business analysis and project management subjects. He is the current president of the IIBA Sri Lanka chapter and is one of the most qualified and sought after trainers in Sri Lanka. Refer his LinkedIn profile for more details and to see more articles he has written on linkedin

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The Certification World Of Business Analysis

Business Analysis has become one of the most promising career options currently in the corporate world.  The most prominent reason for failure of most projects has been attributed to poor business analysis which includes reasons like inadequately captured requirements, unclear business goals and objectives. There is a gap between what the clients wants and what we deliver to the client. Effective business analysis can help bridge that gap. Companies have started to realize the importance of business analysis, and there are opportunities globally to identify suitable business analysts to drive the projects to be successful, to ensure the client remains satisfied as we are able to deliver what is expected, and also the solution proposed provides business value to the client and also helps increase the revenues of the organization. It has now become important for a person to be certified in business analysis to take on the opportunities of business analysis in the organizations IIBA, International Institute of Business Analysis, the leading organization in business analysis have realized that there is a certification program to cater to any kind of professional in the industry. There are 4 kinds of certifications offered by IIBA based on the experience level of an individual. The certifications on offer are the ECBA ® (Entry Level Certificate in Business Analysis), CCBA® (Certification for Competency in Business Analysis), CBAP® (Certified Business Analysis Professional) and Certified Business Analyst Thought Leader® (CBATL) ECBA ®(Entry Level Certification in Business Analysis):- This is the certification for individuals who want to enter the field of business analysis. Some key pointers about ECBA® are: (1) No prior experience in business analysis is a prerequisite to this certification. (2) 21 hours of professional development in last 4 years is required to apply for this exam. (3) ECBA® exam is of 1 hour long duration and includes 50 multiple choice questions. CCBA®(Certification for Competency in Business Analysis):- This  CCBA certification for professionals with a minimum of 3750 hours or 2 to 3 years of business analysis experience. Some key pointers about CCBA® are:-                            (1) 3750 hours of work experience in the last 7 years of which a minimum of 900 hours in atleast 2 of the 6  BABOK®(Business Analysis Body of Knowledge) Guide Version 3.0 knowledge areas or minimum of 500 hours in atleast 4 of the 6 BABOK®(Business Analysis Body of Knowledge) Guide Version 3.0 knowledge areas is required (2) 21 hours of professional development in last 4 years is required to apply for this exam. (3) CCBA® exam is of 3 hour long duration and includes 130 multiple choice questions. CBAP ® (Certified Business Analysis Professional):- This CBAP certification for business analysis professionals with a minimum of 7500 hours or 5 years of business analysis experience. Some key pointers about CBAP® are:- (1) 7500 hours of work experience in the last 10 years of which a minimum of 900 hours in atleast 4 of the 6     BABOK®(Business Analysis Body of Knowledge) Guide Version 3.0 knowledge areas is required. (2) 35 hours of professional development in the last 4 years is required to apply for this exam. (3) CBAP® exam is of 3.5 hour-long duration and includes 120 multiple choice questions. CBATL® (Certified Business Analysis Thought Leader):- This is the certification for business analysis professionals which have over 10 years of experience.   Pursuing these certification programs provides a large number of advantages to the working professionals looking to build their career in the field of business analysis:- Personal Recognition:- Being a certified business analyst provides you recognition across the business analysis community and also in being connected with like minded business analysis professionals. Effective Business Analysis Execution:- Knowledge possessed by reading the BABOK®(Business Analysis Body of Knowledge) can be applied in the real life environment, and this leads to effective business analysis execution as the best practices outlined in the BABOK® are put into practice. Professional Development Opportunities:- Business Analysis is a promising career option and there are opportunities available worldwide for certified business analysis professionals. Increased Income:- Completing the business analysis certification can get you a promotion from a business analyst to a senior business analyst position in your organization, or can land you a job in a prestigious company in a business analysis profile.
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