Business analysts : Are you a Barber or a Hairstylist?

2 min read
6/8/18 12:00 AM


This is a true real-life incident that happened quite some time back. I had joined a mid-size IT services organization. Our organization was doing very well. It was darling of the stock market and we were growing at a very healthy pace of 50%+ a year.

Our organization wanted to move up the value chain (typical management consulting jargon indicating higher billing rate for your employees). It decided to hire people with management consulting background.

That's how I joined the organization. Many others also who joined the organization who were like me who did not come from the pure coding background but from management consulting background.

One day, we were walking in the campus and one of my good friends made a comment saying our organization can never become a consulting firm.

I was curious and asked, “Why do you think so? What's not there with us that won’t allow us can't we be a consulting firm?"

He asked me, “LN, what do barbers do?

I replied barbers cut hair.

“How much would you be willing to pay for a barber?”

I answered few dollars.

His next question was, “LN, what do hair-stylists do?

I replied, they also cut hair.

His next question was, how much would you be willing to pay for a hair-stylist?

I answered, usually I won't go to a hair stylist, but I think hair stylist would charge anywhere between $100 to $200 for a cut.

“When both barber and hair stylist seems to be doing a very similar job, why is the hair-stylist charge 5 to 10 times more than the barber?”

My friend explained, when one executes what customer asks, one gets paid very little. When one is in a position to advise the customer, then one gets paid a lot more.

Hairstylist advises you as to what kind of hair styling will be appropriate for the face structure that you have and also the kind of job you do. Folks in different industries need to look different. The hairstylist would be properly able to help you have the best look possible.

I am trying to correlate with what we business analysts do. If we behave like a documenter, not advise the client and then a value is very low. When we start advising clients in terms of how a better solution can be built, how business can get better value from the solutions, we obviously will be valued more.

I am leaving my thoughts on the table and I'm hoping that many of you would share some thoughts which would make business analysis profession as a profession that people love, business analysis skills is a skill that everyone aspires to learn.

About me

I work as Principal Author and Trainer with Adaptive US, a leading business analysis solutions (training, consulting and learning products) organization. You can reach me at  .

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About Adaptive US

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