Devil’s Advocate – A BA’s Best Friend

A fine dancer has the ability to capture a great audience from the first scene, and holds them through the duration of the show, leaving them feeling sad it is over and has them immediately craving more. She entices them, and wows them with her elegant gestures and movements, all while appearing calm, collected, and completely void of physical and/or emotional pain. 

The same could be argued for a great business analyst (BA). They show up, they gracefully dig for information, asking just the right questions to get a better understanding, all while you thought they were just asking what you were doing this weekend. A great BA knows how to dig, a great BA knows their true best friend is the devil’s advocate. Their role is to find out the heart of a problem, to see all the systems in place that join together to create what is. To see the bigger picture from an external point of view. To constantly ask “Why?”

The devil’s advocate is a noun to describe a person who expresses a contentious opinion in order to provoke debate or test the strength of the opposing arguments. So for the lonely BA making friends can be hard. They are this person who just keeps pushing, they are this person who challenges every idea or whim or process. But that is them doing what they do best. Challenging the norm to ensure the why behind the process or the thought is good enough of a foundation to start building the optimal path forward. 

So next time you find someone who challenges you, asks you why a lot (like that adorable toddler, or the kind BA the boss hired) remember, being challenged solidifies your thinking (to stay the same or otherwise), it gets to the root of an problem or an idea, it is a good thing. It truly helps you grow! And if you ever find yourself with a BA who is not being best friends with the devil’s advocate…get a new one. We should be challenging your status quo, that is our job, or role to serve you, to help you become the better version of yourself you hired us for. 

Your BA, like a fine dancer should leave you feeling fascinated by what has been accomplished, and leave you wanting more. Maybe not today, but more one day. They will be the one you think of when you want to solve a quick problem, or one you think of to help you work through a really complex one. A great BA gains your trust, that trust is built on their good friendship with the devil’s advocate.