Exploring the bond between Business Analysis & UX at the IIBA conference 2019

1 October 2019 - Chris Rourke

Sketched note image to summarise the IIBA conference
Sketchnote image to summarise the IIBA conference

I recently presented a workshop at the Business Analysis Conference Europe 2019 by the industry group International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) where an illustrator created this image summarizing the 3-day event. The conference was inspirational and highlighted the strong affinity between the professions of user experience and business analysis.

I love good sketchnotes because they are welcoming, fun and can help you think differently. So this summary sketch is very appropriate since the conference itself was all of those things:

  • Welcoming – I am not a Business Analyst (BA) myself, but was made to feel more than welcome by the attendees who were equally eager to learn about my world of user experience and service design
  • Fun – There was a lot of laughter and fun around the place including a Keynote talk on ‘Crazytivity(this will open in a new window)’ with live magic
  • Thought provoking – I had my semi-formed ideas of what business analysis was all about but was eager to learn more. That certainly happened through several excellent presentations.

In addition to delivering my half-day workshop, a Practical Introduction to UX, my other motive for attending Europe’s leading business analysis conference was to learn from BA professionals sharing their thoughts and experience.

My ideas of the BA field were formed through osmosis from working alongside BAs on various projects. I knew that my simple view of the BA role (a form of shuttle diplomacy between the business and technology teams) was far from adequate. Through my brief time with leaders in the field I learned about the central importance of requirements, powerful ways to illustrate business processes, and ways to measure the effectiveness of business analysis interventions.

I found myself with a group of people who were very committed to their craft of analyzing and improving businesses. But beyond that I found they had a strong appetite and interest in user experience because it is increasingly part of their business analysis remit.

There is more in common between the areas of user experience and business analysis than I had appreciated. After all, as leading business analyst Adrian Reed explained to me, the industry’s definition of a Requirement is “a usable representation of a need”. That’s a great place to start since if the requirement itself is usable, business analysts can deliver better interventions, changes or solutions to meet the requirement. And increasingly an important measure of the quality of these solutions is the quality of the user experience.

Even a generic-sounding business aspiration of ‘delivering value to the customer’ can be seen in a different light. If the user’s experience is an integral part of that value delivered to the customer, then by all means the project deserves to have an active interest (and investment) in user experience. The more you improve the experience you more you increase the value to the customer.

It is clear to me that the BA and UX professions need to pull in the same direction, and I am glad to have had the opportunity to spend two days learning and laughing with leaders in the business analysis field. Thank you to the IIBA for putting on an excellent industry conference.

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