Our business analyst has left the team. We are now expected to do the work which was previously done by the business analyst, and the management thinks that a task which is done in three months by a business analyst can be done in one month by a developer.

My experience is in programming only, and I'm not familiar to the business intelligence tools. To me this seems like maybe an unfair comparison or expectation, and might even trivialize the role of a business analyst.

Has anyone else encountered this situation? How to deal with it?

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    if your BA was a professional (knowing much details on domain, on persons and teams involved and knowing how to communicate efficiently), then your management's attitude is a pure bullshit. Note if here is important; things can be opposite ie your BA could be just a lame another brick in the wall – gnat Mar 24 '12 at 6:10
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    Insist to be paid triple. – DeadMG Mar 24 '12 at 6:12

I agree with gnat's comment. Also, the B.A. took 3 months not because she is not professional enough as a programmer. Most probably the time taken in analysis is significant because the amount of customer interaction required (which usually fits the customer timetable) and the time taken in writing down detailed documentation.

Most Business Analysis tools are not complex to learn for a programmer (given the right training). However, the business analysis concepts and the domain expertise can take time.

If the remaining work is not significant, maybe more than one developer could cooperate to finalize the work that has been done in a short time. But the rule set that if B.A. takes 3 months to do the job, then it takes the programmer 1 month is not valid as stated. It sounds like comparing a dentist work to a brain surgeon's work!

In any case, the project manager should flag this as a risk in the project.

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    +1 in our project, if it takes the BA 3 months to complete a task, most likely 2,5 months out of it is waiting for, tickling and/or kicking the customer to provide answers to questions. – Péter Török Mar 24 '12 at 9:03

I'm assuming that your business analyst is a subject matter expert - they understand the organization and the industry that the organization operates in extremely well, and they probably have a very good understanding of appropriate laws and regulations that apply to what the organization does.

I would expect a developer, especially one who has been with the organization for a while, to have begun to acquire some of the skills of a business analyst. Perhaps not necessarily how to use the tools they do, but at least the domain knowledge regarding the organization, the industry, and regulations. However, I wouldn't expect any developer to be a drop-in replacement for a business analyst, must less have the ability to perform work and have a higher productivity than a business analyst.

To me, the timetable sounds like a major project risk. In order for a developer to function as a business analyst, there must be time allocated to become much more familiar with the domain as well as the tools used before the developer can function at the same productivity as an equally dedicated and knowledgeable business analyst.

I would recommend sitting down with management - explain what you would need to do to become as familiar with the environment as the business analyst who left and estimate the time that it would take you to reach that level of familiarity. Only after that time can you do the work.

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I agree with gnat's comment, too, but I have also seen a lot of situations where splitting the roles between analyst (with no programming tasks) and developers (who are not allowed to talk to the customer directly) lead to "Chinese whisper". To my experience, you can often save a lot of effort and misunderstanding if your analyst is a senior programmer who does some essential parts of the programming by himself, and talks to the rest of the team not just in plain English, but also by utilizing the programming languages of the team.

So the expectation of your management that you might save some time and effort with no BA might not be completely wrong.

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In the positive side, if you get such an opportunity, you can utilize it well to improve yourself. It might be helpful to you when you get upgraded to a higher level. Obviously, it will be a great risk for the entire project since you can't concentrate on both of your positions, especially with a vague knowledge. Even though it's not your problem, if you really work hard, it would be easy for you to learn the tactics. However, if you find it really disgusting to do both at a time, then you have no other choice other than explaining your inability to your higher officials. Good Luck, then!!!

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