The dismal success of enterprise-wide IT projects is a matter of record. According to Meta Group Research (now a part of Gartner), “Communication challenges between business teams and technologists are chronic – we estimate that 60%80% of project failure can be attributed directly to poor requirements gathering, analysis, and management.” Forrester Research concurs: “Poorly defined applications have led to a persistent miscommunication between business and IT that largely contributes to a 66% project failure rate for these applications, costing U.S. businesses at least $30B every year.” James Martin reports that “56% of defects can be attributed to requirements, and 82% of the effort to fix defects.” Standish estimates that nearly 70 percent of projects are late, over budget or fail outright; Gartner reports that 50 percent of projects are rolled back out of production. Carnegie Mellon states that 25-40 percent of all spending on projects is wasted as a result of rework. Those statistics are troubling. So, what exactly is the problem?
Project managers are held accountable for getting projects completed on time and on budget. Technical managers are responsible for quality technological solutions. But no one has been accountable for keeping an eye on value as the implementation proceeds. That’s why the new position of business analyst (BA) is fast emerging to fill the gap. The BA’s task is to gather accurate requirements, analyze them and manage them properly throughout the project’s implementation to ensure a value-added outcome that improves an organization’s bottom line. Business requirements, derived from business goals, are the essential activities of the enterprise that must be supported by the system – so much so that at conferences, BA courseware and presentations have become hot topics, and cutting-edge companies are already hiring BAs or investing in professional development for internal candidates.