What Percentage of BA Duties are Administrative?

A reader asks:

What percentage of a business analyst duties are administrative?

Michelle’s response:

In my experience, it depends on what part of the project you are in.  If you are in the elicitation, stakeholder analysis and requirements gathering stage, I find I spend a larger percentage of my time setting up meetings and writing notes.  If I am holding a team session then I am also ordering lunch and possibly snacks.  Although this takes up time, it is important.

In my last two jobs, providing updates to my project manager has become increasingly important and very admin related.  In the last position, I provided daily updates by email to two project managers, then they each wanted a plan for the following week on what I was going to accomplish.  This was labour intensive as I had different deliverables to each one.  Honestly, this took a lot of time but I found the bright spot in it.  A business analyst should always keep track of her accomplishments and things that could have been done better.  Providing this detail on a daily basis forced me to document what I was already doing – so two birds, one stone 🙂

There has been a great deal of talk lately of business analysts as note takers and meeting minutes owners – but I say this keeps the project on track and has a solid record of what happened during meetings.  I like the control of this job and usually do it during the meeting.  I bring my laptop and my template and write the notes that way, then I can send it out directly after the meeting or as is becoming more popular – save it to the SharePoint project site and send out the link.

Hope this helps you in your daily and varied duties as a business analyst!

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  1. Michelle Swoboda says

    Adriana, thank you for your comments. I would estimate about 10% for me too. I agree that the notes I take at meetings are often using for understanding for my analysis too. Well put!

  2. Michelle, in my case, luckily I’d say less than 10%! In my projects, the project manager or an admin is responsible for setting up meetings, reserving rooms, writing and distributing meeting notes, etc.

    I do take a lot of notes in meetings, interviews or requirements sessions (for the purpose of requirements elicitation and analysis) and may send these out to confirm my understanding or share the discovery, but that cannot be considered administrative work. It seems to me that it is more common in smaller projects (or smaller companies) to have the BA do admin tasks. Personally, I like the fact that 90% of my time is devoted to understanding the business problem or opportunity and devising good solutions for them. But then, I never liked PM work (I see from your profile that you do–I guess BAs who like project management activities would be happier than I with this type of administrative work you describe ;-).

    I do think the answer to this question would vary widely among the readers here. For anyone interested in this topic, I recommend reading Laura’s book “How to Start a Business Analysis Career”, which explores very well what the BA job is like day-to-day: http://www.bridging-the-gap.com/business-analyst-career-resources/become-a-business-analyst/

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