Knowing What You Offer

Clearly communicate what you do as a Business Analyst to avoid misunderstandings

The problem with Business Analyst roles

One of the key issues with Business Analyst roles is the potentially huge breadth of duties performed (often) combined with a lack of clarity as to what exactly is expected/required by the client.

My personal strength in the Business Analyst role is providing the following kinds of services — assessment of existing architectures, future state development, market analysis, new product proposition, audits and problem diagnosis, refactoring of codebases, unit test coverage. Even requirements gathering and project planning.

However, some clients expect the Business Analyst to perform the duties of a Product Owner — writing and maintaining a backlog of Jira tickets, and sometimes even a Scrum Master — managing the development team too. Nothing wrong with this (if the Business Analyst is willing and able), except it’s just not what I do anymore.

How to explain what you do

Similar to the ‘Key Facts’ document when you buy insurance, I’ve put one together for Frank Ray & Associates so clients know what to expect when hiring us, and we know what to do on the job. This can be found here: http://www.frankray.net/key-facts.pdf

I provide this document to every prospective client/hiring manager/agency recruiter before we consider working together — to clearly set expectations and avoid any future misunderstandings. I’ve also come to understand this is one of the most powerful ways to ensure good working relationships.

My approach is to seek a formal acknowledgement of the ‘Key Facts’ and incorporate it into whatever contract is signed (agency, my own business T&Cs, otherwise). Whilst it is usually non-binding, I typically ensure any Statement of Work (SOW) has enough wiggle room to withhold services and/or cancel if the spirit of the ‘Key Facts’ isn’t upheld. This was it remains enforceable irrespective of the hiring arrangement.

Since I’ve started using the ‘Key Facts’ document, I’ve only had straightforward and enjoyable Business Analyst roles.


Frank Ray

Frank Ray & Associates is a software engineering consultancy that builds high quality software for businesses.

We develop new applications, automate manual processes, integrate vendor packages, replace Excel workarounds, fix unreliable applications, retire end of life software and remove dependence on poor value suppliers.

Get in touch if you need our help