Project Management

Business Analysis Isn't a Role, It's a Mindset

Mark Mullaly is president of Interthink Consulting Incorporated, an organizational development and change firm specializing in the creation of effective organizational project management solutions. Since 1990, it has worked with companies throughout North America to develop, enhance and implement effective project management tools, processes, structures and capabilities. Mark was most recently co-lead investigator of the Value of Project Management research project sponsored by PMI. You can read more of his writing at

Business analysis has arguably become a thing. To be fair, it’s been a thing for a while now. The creation of structured methodologies (particularly systems development ones) made business analysis a particular focus in the 1970s and 1980s. But it seems to be enjoying a bit of a heyday right now.

In part, that’s because it’s the latest front in the accumulation of certifications. PMI has launched the PMI Guide to Business Analysis, and with it the PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)® certification. The International Institute of Business Analysis has its own body of knowledge (and yup, it’s known as the “BABOK”) and its own certification. And truth be told, much of the IIBA structure and framework leverages that of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) and the PMP® certification, although the content is unquestionably different.

All of which is to suggest that business analysis is perceived as a role with a great deal of cachet and is deemed to have a fair bit of value.

My challenge to that perspective is that I think that business analysis is far less of a role than it is a mindset.

Now, that’s just my take on things. But follow along for a while as I unpack just why I think this is the case. To do this, I’m going to fall back on project management. To be fair, I&…

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"Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits."

- Mark Twain