What is a business analyst? They are agents of change who analyze business processes, products, services, and systems. They document business processes by assessing a model and its integration with technology. This improves efficiency and makes profitable decisions through insights and data analysis.
IT projects, for instance, differ in resources, time frames, goals, and content. But, there is one challenge they all share. That is, if the developed solution fails to answer the client’s needs, the project is doomed. And that’s where a business analyst comes in.
A business analyst uses different techniques and tools to describe business needs. They make sure to do this in a language that’s understandable both for business and development.
Business Analysts’ Role in the Tech Industry
Sometimes clients don’t understand the role played by business analysis in a project. And as such, they underestimate the importance of business analysts on the software development team.
There is the misconception that business analysts are solely document writers. That’s not true. Because a business analyst spends a lot of time conducting activities such as:
- Understanding the customer’s business
- Gathering and clarifying requirements
- Building trust relationships with stakeholders
- Identifying customer’s needs
Let’s now delve deeper into the roles of a business analyst.
Business analysts conduct research enabling them to understand and implement their goals. The research includes developing prototypes and researching market competitors.
They also research information related to the analysis of the documentation of projects. Additionally, they take care of coordinating with experts responsible for the project
With all the gathered data, business analysts can arrange meetings with stakeholders. The stakeholders may include the senior management, sponsors, users, and clients.
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Gather the Requirements for Projects
Gathering project requirements takes the integration of communication skills and technical expertise. This cannot be found in any other profession other than business analyst jobs.
Some people think that verbal communication is more practical for projects. This is in comparison to formal requirements gathered by business analysts. But even with agile methodology, written material is minimized to facilitate face-to-face discussions. Here, a business analyst takes a prominent role in the development team.
In an agile world, the development team and stakeholders would be co-located. This enables them to study every project requirement. In such a case, a business analyst’s role is to bring them together for meetings. And, to facilitate discussions.
But, this is never the case when it comes to software research and development (R&D) outsourcing. That’s because the developers and stakeholders are geographically distributed. Thus, business analysts revert to their traditional role of gathering and communicating requirements. But, their role is not solely to document requirements in this case either.
They’re also tasked with helping clients and developers to be on the same page. This is very important and so it shouldn’t be underestimated. That’s because projects are not only about specifications and results. Communication must be two-way. Expectations must be met and ensure that both parties understand each other.
Create a Written Specification of Requirements
After gathering the requirements, business analysts must formalize them. This gets done by creating a written specification, which is shared with stakeholders.
When writing specifications, business analysts must ensure the requirements are clear to stakeholders. They must also be clear to developers. In some projects, stakeholders communicate the requirements directly to the development team. The problem with this is that it results in overtime.
That’s because the requirements come in various formats. The formats include messages and verbal communication, and no one keeps track of them. To solve this issue, business analysts must:
- Obtain the requirements.
- Document the elicited requirements.
- Keep track of the changes.
- Make sure to maintain updated changes.
Usually, business analysts have different requirements specification templates. This means that the format of specifications may differ based on the project. A good requirements template is a great way to keep the requirements visible and clear to the whole team.
Apart from requirements specifications, a business analyst provides wireframes of new features. This is important because developers don’t have to think about the design themselves.
Coordinate With Developers and Evaluate the Process
When a project actualizes in an IT company, for instance, it goes to the stakeholders. The stakeholders then establish their requirements and expectations from the project.
After the approval of the requirements, business analysts coordinate with developers. The two work together as business analysts receive better ideas from developers on what needs to be done
In an IT company, it’s the business analyst’s role to guide developers through the whole process. They ask them questions and they discuss for clarity in the execution of tasks.
When it comes to evaluation, business analysts must supervise the business process. Features, functions, requirements, and domains need the attention of business analysts. A business analyst introduces new tools and features to the business resources. This helps to change the process.
It also means that the business analyst can improve, change, and amplify the project’s implementation. But that’s only done if they know how to introduce new features and make smart use of the pre-existing ones.
Carrying Out Acceptance Testing
When a feature gets executed, a business analyst must check to see if it meets all the requirements. For that to happen, acceptance testing must be carried out in the last stages of a feature’s development.
Passing the acceptance testing stage means that the product is complete and ready for release. Moreover, it’s common for business analysts on agile projects to show a demo at the end of each sprint. They present a demo to stakeholders to show the progress within the sprint. Such an approach comes with some advantages:
- Stakeholders get to see what has been worked on.
- The demo gets presented before the functionality goes live. This gives stakeholders a chance to confirm if that’s what they wanted.
Business analysts are an important asset in the tech industry. That’s because they bring benefits including a well-established relationship between stakeholders.
Having a business analyst may seem excessive to some companies. But, it helps to minimize the time and money spent on a project. They also help you to analyze market competitors and define growth opportunities.