Blending Business Analysis with User Experience: the BA/UX continuum

6 Months ago I joined Sigma, a User Experienced design agency. I joined as a BA, to support the team and the their clients, designers and developers to evaluate, specify and deliver successful solutions.Movie Passengers (2016)

I had initially thought that I would be part of the development team, having over 5 years experience of delivering software projects, but I’ve found myself working with the UX designers. While design is not what I would have traditionally called my domain, I’ve been surprised at the amount of cross-over my BA skill-set has with that of a UX practitioner.

Both BAs and UX practitioners use analysis, design and research to identify and document business goals and user needs. While their titles might suggest that their roles are focused on opposing areas there is a great amount of overlap.

Academics at Berkeley have suggested that the overlap can be viewed on a continuum:

The Berkeley Continuum

The Berkeley Continuum

So what competencies and skills do a BA and UX practitioner share?

I’ve attempted to map a number of core competencies and skills against the Berkeley Continuum as a way of illustrating what divides and unites the BA/UX roles. It could also be used to identify who is better placed in your team to undertake certain activities. It could also be used to help individuals who wish to transition between the roles, identify which skills they need to develop.

comps

I should note that these are very general classifications of competencies and are not always strictly followed in practice. Just as an example of my own work experience, as a BA I’ve spent a lot of time working in the area of Interaction design (traditionally a UX competency) and yet I have never done a Business case.

But as it’s often said, “It’s not what you’re called, it’s what you do that counts”.

3 thoughts on “Blending Business Analysis with User Experience: the BA/UX continuum”

  1. Great post, really interesting to read from a UX person’s point of view and a nice clear graph at the end. I never realised until looking more into BA roles recently how much both positions overlapped.

  2. You are right about the convergence! Recently I did a detailed research on the future of business analysis and I found out that user experience will gain tremendous prominence in software solutions, to the point that solution providers will try to win the competition based on their excellence in user experience. The book from Brian Solis ‘What’s the Future of Business’ talks at length about user experience and how it’s changing the business game! I believe that user experience will be, sooner or later, introduced as an area of study in business analysis. I have summarized the findings of my research here on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/far-future-business-analysis-rahul-ajani. I hope you would like to read it.

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