Can a Business Analyst be a BA outside the context of a project?



  • I was given the following question, and am unclear about whether a business analyst can be a BA outside of a project.

    A business analyst (BA) is someone who elicits the actual needs of organizational stakeholders:

    A. in any capacity, regardless of job title.
    B. in a project team, with an “analyst” job title.
    C. in a project team, regardless of job title.
    D. in any capacity, with an “analyst” job title.

    According to the BABOK Guide:

    A business analyst is any person who performs business analysis tasks described in the BABOK® Guide, no matter their job title or organizational role.

    So it is clear that anyone who performs BA duties is a BA, but where I am having a hard time answering the above MCQ (Multiple-choice question) is that should the BA be in a project or in any capacity. The BABOK Guide doesn't clearly state this.



  • Topicality

    I largely agree with Sarov, https://pm.stackexchange.com/questions/33578/who-is-a-business-analyst#comment42039_33578 :

    We're not here to answer test questions. Sometimes they can still be valid for pmse [Project Management Stack Exchange], but only when there's an underlying pm-related problem.

    Test questions (and especially practice questions) are often off-topic even when they're related to project management or project framework roles because they don't always have canonical answers. The "correct" answer is often whatever the instructor has taught or expects from students, or however the test developers have statistically normed (or failed to norm) their test answers.

    However, because business analysis is often a part of projects, I'm choosing to treat it as on-topic although the community may choose to close it for the reasons I mentioned above.

    Role vs. Title

    It's important to understand that job titles are not always standardized across companies, and that even within frameworks with defined titles or roles, the two are not necessarily synonymous.

    For example, in Scrum the "Developer" role belongs to anyone on the Scrum Team who is not a Scrum Master or Product Owner, regardless of what skills they add to the team or what title they may have within their organization. Within Scrum, they are simply "Developers."

    How Roles & Titles Relate to Your Question

    Per the quote from the BABOK, which I repeat below:

    A business analyst is any person who performs business analysis tasks described in the BABOK® Guide, no matter their job title or organizational role.

    this is largely the same thing. Pragmatically speaking, a business analyst (BA) is someone who analyzes business requirements regardless of whether it's within the scope of a project or not. Furthermore, the job title itself has no bearing on whether or not they are performing BA tasks. BA tasks don't stop being BA tasks even if the person performing them is given the job title of "Junior Assistant Flunky in Charge of Bending Paperclips."

    The Correct Answer is A

    With that in mind, the only viable choice is A. in any capacity, regardless of job title.. Note that B is wrong because you can have BA tasks that are tied to ongoing services or business processes rather than finite projects, and C is definitely wrong because there are many types of analysts in a wide variety of industries and fields of endeavor. So, given the limited options of the question, and through the process of elimination, A is the only viable option here.

    Having said that, no one here has access to the answer key, or can guarantee that A would be marked correct even if it's the only reasonable answer. If you're looking for validation, then this is it. If you're trying to figure out whether the test scoring system will give you credit for it, or whether the testers are looking for a different answer, I'm afraid we can't help you there.




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