Hi, My manager asked me to define KPI for the business analyst job. I’ve tried do to some research but everybody seems to have a bit of a problem around this. Do you have any ideas from where to start?
Finding a Meaningful KPI for a Business Analyst
Trying to measure what appears to be an intangible item (BA Performance) is truly difficult. It takes some imagination and thought to figure out whether there are actually tangible objects that can be measured. If the conversation was about development performance, we could measure defects per lines of code. For project management, we could track cost overruns or schedule slips.
For business analysis, what exactly is there available to measure?
We have to start with our products that we deliver – and look at the value of business analysis. Since most of what we actually deliver is a service, what could be considered an actual product that is created? The only thing that comes to mind is the requirement itself, which is either captured in BRD for Waterfall, or as an individual or small set of requirements grouped together for Iterative/Agile. Either way, since it is produced, it should be able to be measured for quality, right? Kind of.
Measuring Business Analysis Performance Through Peer Reviews
I’ve found that it’s not a simple comparison, but rather a multi-step process that offers an illustration of quality over time. What I do is mandate for my projects that documentation is exposed to the peer review process .
A peer review comprises of a review of the documentation against pre-defined acceptance criteria of quality characteristics. The BABOK 2.0 discusses these criterion at length starting on page 115. The review process should capture a percentage of overall requirements (maybe 2% of the total number of requirements) and should result in feedback that highlights flaws in requirements.
For instance, if I request a review of a BRD from five peer analysts with direction to review a random set of say 20 requirements each, I would receive feedback on 100 +/- reqs and indication of what is wrong with each. The initial review provides a picture of how well the analyst is writing requirements and the feedback can be used for rolling improvements. I then keep that feedback even after I correct the flaws.
Measuring Business Analysis Performance Through Evaluating Defects
The second piece is to run a report of defects for the release during the UAT cycle and perform some analysis to try to determine if any of the defects map directly back to requirements (or missed requirements). The number of requirement related defects can then be compared against the number of peer review requirements flaws for an overall percentage that can be applied toward a performance KPI.
The kicker here is the time it takes to perform all this comparison analysis and usually results in this second piece not getting done. Simple cost/benefit analysis usually indicates that the first part is fairly adequate and adds in the needed quality where it has the most impact.
How do you measure your business analysis performance? Have you found a truly valuable KPI to evaluate a business analyst?
Learn How to Measure BA Performance
Adriana Beal has address this challenging topic in Measuring the Performance of Business Analysts, a practical guide to finding meaningful KPIs that can be measured without unnecessary overhead.