Friday, May 22, 2009

PM Controversy: Ratio of Developers to BAs

Let me first set up the background to this controversial question and then I'd like to have your comments here.

Just as Sacha Chua said when we talked two weeks ago, it's great to keep in touch with friends and colleagues through social networking tools like linkedin and facebook, but it's even better to meet face-to-face!

Yesterday, David (a coworker who just passed his PMP last week-YEAH David!) invited me to a great lunch with Betty (a PMP who I used to volunteer with several years ago in the local PMI chapter) and her husband, Jonathan, who's worked in roles as a Developer, BA, and PM. David had worked with Betty years ago and this was a chance for us all to catch up.

We were having a great discussion and then Jonathan dropped the "controversial" question:
What do you think is a good ratio of developers to Business Analysts (BAs)?

I sensed an awkward pause of quietness in the conversation...

Well, I guess I inherited this from my dad, he often says and asks things that are bordering on the absurd to illicit a response from people. So, to break the "ice" my response was: "One to one. That's worked for us on some difficult projects in the past where we're redesigning a system from scratch (i.e. Business Process Reeengineering: BPR)."

Well, it did what I hoped, it opened things up for a great discussion.

Jonathan added that it depends on whether or not the BAs are also testers too. And, it depends on the type of project. We also discussed that it depends on the knowledge of the domain by the BAs and the type, competency level, and experience level of the BAs.

It's the classic PM response to any question: "It Depends!"

I was wondering what your answer would be to the question of what a good ratio of Developers to BAs is. What's worked for you? Please comment!

I'm planning to post responses in a few weeks over at!

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