As you are growing your business analysis team and practice, it’s likely that you’ll want to put business analysis performance metrics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) in place so that the business analysts on your team know how they will be evaluated and what they can do to be more successful.
Establishing clear and measurable business analyst performance metrics and KPIs is no easy task. The business analyst role is interdependent on contributions for other team members, and many of the best business analysts excel based on soft skills and contributions that are inherently more difficult to measure.
Why Measuring Business Analyst Performance is Important
High-performing business analysts are essential to the success of software and business improvement projects. Business analysts help everyone get clear on what the problem is and how to solve it. Their contribution to clear requirements helps everyone else be more efficient and successful, which ultimately impacts the performance of the entire project.
Meaningful performance metrics help ensure that business analysts keep their attention on what matters. Success as a business analyst is not about writing more requirements, holding more meetings, or, really, doing more of anything!
At the end of the day, business analysts add value by bringing clarity to project outcomes and getting the business to own the solution. Just because this seems difficult to measure, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t measure it to the best of our abilities.
KPIs for Business Analysts
When I think about high-level business analyst performance, the following questions come to mind:
- Does the project deliver the anticipated value? Does the project meet the objectives of the business case?
- Are the stakeholders aligned around the project concept? If you asked each of them individually about what is to be achieved, would you get the same or at least consistent answers?
- Are the stakeholders satisfied that the scope being delivered is the best possible solution to the problem they are trying to solve?
- Does the implementation team deliver on the requirements without a lot of wasted effort? Did they understand what needed to be accomplished?
- Is the test team able to validate that the final application met all the requirements or do they come across areas of ambiguity that need to be addressed?
- Are there big surprises at the end of the project? Do unexpected requirements come up? Every project will experience a bit of churn toward the end as you flesh out the final details, but missing a big piece of functionality or a critical business process is a sign that the business analysis effort was lacking.
- Did the business analyst have a business analysis process and create a business analysis plan? How close was the actual work to their intended plan? What was the root cause of any variations?
- Did the business analyst choose the most appropriate requirements documentation for the type of project and methodology in place?
- Is the business happy? Do they find value in what was delivered? (A no answer can have many root causes, but a yes answer is typically the sign of good business analysis work.)
If having a business analysis process is a new concept, check out this video on our 8-step business analysis process framework.
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Taking Project Considerations Into Account for Business Analyst Metrics
Another way to evaluate the performance of business analysts is to consider aspects of the project:
- How many stakeholders were involved? From how many different areas of the business? And at what level of the organization?
- How much communication was necessary? (Meetings, messages, emails, etc)
- How many deliverables (business processes, use cases, user stories, data models, etc) did the business analyst need to create?
- How many systems were impacted?
- How many technical stakeholders were involved?
- How up-to-date is the current state documentation? Does it even exist or did the BA need to create it to kickstart the project?
- How long did the business analysis effort take?
- How many defects were due to missed requirements?
- What was the end result or ROI of the project? What benefits were delivered or costs saved?
Again, you are looking to show that your business analysts lead teams to alignment and clarity as effectively as possible, given the complexity of the problem, solution, and stakeholders involved.
How to Measure the Performance of Business Analysts
One thing that makes measuring business analysis performance so challenging is the interrelationship between the business analysis effort and that of the team. If the business analyst does a great job preparing for meetings, invites the right stakeholders, and then they don’t attend or they come unprepared, should the business analyst performance be downgraded?
Most likely, your answer would be no! But many business analysts today are seen as bottlenecks who miss deadlines or deliver incomplete requirements, when the reality behind the measurement is that they are lacking stakeholder engagement on their projects.
A good business analyst will be proactive and strategic, they will gain buy-in from stakeholders, and smooth the path to engagement throughout the project. But in some situations, their hands are tied and they are unable to break-through certain areas of resistance.
To compensate this, any measurements need to be considered in context. Did the business analyst manage what they could? Did they go above and beyond to gain buy-in and engagement? Did they elevate risks? Did they ask probing questions? Was their communication clear and actionable?
This is what you are looking for in a great business analyst. So be sure your measurements aren’t just numbers on a spreadsheet without context – you are likely to get exactly what you measure, which might not be the outcomes you actually want!
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Looking for More?
This video on the 7 Secrets of Good Business Analysts is a great next step!