Fresh MBA grads as Business Analysts in IT projects – useful or a pain in the …?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Let me make myself clear first. I don't have anything against the Business Analysts per se. But don't get me started on these fresh off the boat MBA grads from "so-called" premier Management institutes of India such as the IIMs and ISB, Hyderabad. The way management education is pursued in India is a little different than the west. Here, as soon as you complete your 3/4 year undergraduate program you get into one of these Management institutes. Experience has little or no bearing as an entry criterion. With absolutely no industry experience, these kids at the end of their 2 year program join various top tier IT firms as Business Analysts boasting of expertise in the Finance, Systems, Marketing, HR domains.

: Their primary job responsibility in IT services firms such as mine calls for involvement in the requirement analysis phase of the software project lifecycle and that's where the trouble begins. There is a huge misfit between what they know, what they can do and what they perceive of "technologies" and in some cases "computers" itself. Some problems below:

  1. Language: Developers talk technical and BAs talk jargons. Developers are realistic / pessimistic with respect to deadlines and BAs are optimistic or should I say overzealous.

  2. Who is the smartest? Both the sides – technical/BAs think they know the system best and the other is a fool. I have seen situations such as these multiple times. While a developer thinks it is possible to freeze a stock price during intra day trading, a BA believes it is no rocket science to develop pagination of 1000 records in a day.

  3. "Office Boys" – One of the analysts I worked with recently proudly calls themselves as the "Office Boys" due to their allegiance to Microsoft products. And this is one suite of products that developers hate and the deliverables that go with it – documents, documents and more documents.

Possible Solutions:

  1. IT and domain Business Analysts: A clear demarcation of IT BAs and domain oriented Business Analysts (some of them are industry veterans with 10 years of banking experience) is necessary. Their tasks should also be aligned towards their experience which is more driven by profitability for an account than this.

  2. Training: Basic computer training is mandatory else do NOT recruit them. It is not worth the effort teaching how to check mails in Microsoft Outlook (believe me, I have been doing that and makes me wonder – gosh maybe I did the right thing not doing an MBA). Similarly basic domain training is required for the technical folks as well.

to continue…

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