How Do I Set Business Analysis Performance Goals?

Reader Question:

blurry pictureWhat suggestions do you have for developing performance goals for Business Analysts? In my organization, the PM role is a high-visibility, high accountability one in the Project Team. The BA is high accountability when/if there’s an issue, and low visibility once requirements are approved. Every milestone in the project life cycle is an opportunity for the PM to prove he/she is doing a good job. The only opportunities like that for the BA are requirements approval & deployment/implementation.

Doug’s Answer:

It’s true that business analysts often get overshadowed by those who have tangible proof they done something well.  However, the nature of our profession doesn’t always lend itself to measurement. How does one measure elicitation, communication, requirement ambiguity, anyway? I’d guess that there might be some opportunities to shine that might be lurking under the surface, and one of the best ways to uncover them is to set some indicators to actually measure performance.

A great mechanism to begin doing just that is to start holding peer reviews on requirements specifications using a predefined set of evaluation criteria that checks for things that are important to good requirements.  Sit down with your peers, your manager or even just yourself and define a few things that you want to measure in a peer review. For instance, how many times during a review were you cited for untestable, ambiguity, lack of traceability, etc. At the end of each review, the number of citations form a baseline that you can use to improve upon and will be the data that you also use for trend analysis.

What makes it especially valuable is comparing your progress against project post-implementation review data. If you can measure the number of defects that were directly traced back to poor requirements and compare that against your personal trend information, an excellent picture of how you are doing emerges. Categorize defects into subcategories and the picture really becomes clear! Take it a step further and compare peer review results against test failures and see if there are any correlations. Beware in the beginning though, as you might not like what you see; yet this forms great opportunity for improvement.

On a less granular note, everyone has the opportunity to take control of his/her own professional career. There are many informal ways to ensure that your good work doesn’t go unnoticed.  Take control of logging your accomplishments in an ongoing basis and bring that information to your performance review, if you have a good relationship with a customers, you can subtly ask your manager to contact them occasionally to check up on you. Under no circumstances should you rely on someone else to notice your great work; it’s your job to tell them what an asset you are and no one can do it better than yourself.

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  1. That’s good advice! I will be suggesting forum for peer review at my organization. Thanks!

  2. Kimberley Heath says

    I found your article extremely helpful in communicating the opportunities that can be seized upon to improve performance. Thanks for the tips! Rest assured I’ll be putting them into practice!

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