To picture a true business analyst (BA), you need to think of Sherlock Holmes. If you wonder what on Earth Conan Doyle’s character and an IT worker have in common, we assure you that they do have lots of similar qualities. Both business analysts and Sherlock Holmes have strong analytical skills, which help them collect and interpret data, determine patterns; they both also use logical reasoning to come up with the right conclusions. Besides, business analysts are also able to effectively communicate their findings, making others consider their point of view.
If you don’t know whether you need a business analyst in your team and want to learn more about their role in software projects, keep reading this article. Below, the JatApp team explains when having a business analyst is a must and what role these experts play at each stage of software development life cycle (SDLC).
Meet a business analyst, an unsung hero of your project
If you think that a business analyst is just a fancy word to call your project manager, no offense, but you’re wrong. Instead of managing the project, these guys are responsible for analyzing and interpreting raw data and documenting business processes.
Moreover, business analysts build requirements, closing the gap between a software development team and stakeholders. Then, they transform these business requirements into specific tasks that are assigned to the development team.
When is it time to call for your hero?
The expertise of a business analyst is an absolute necessity, rather than a whim in the following cases:
- When you have a business idea, but lack specific requirements. A business analyst can help you outline business requirements as well as create relevant documents, such as use cases, user stories, and similar. These specialists also come in handy, if you operate in the rapidly changing industry. As soon as the market demands change, a business analyst modifies business requirements to make sure that the product remains appealing to its target audience.
- When you need to set and prioritize concrete business goals. A good business analyst not only helps you with building measurable goals and objectives, but also explains what needs to be done to achieve them without any major drawbacks.
- When you need to assess the impact of your project on your business metrics. A business analyst can predict the costs, benefits, opportunities, and risks related to your project. On top of that, they may also build a business case for you to show the expected return on investment (ROI).
- When you need to identify business challenges. A good expert helps to see the root cause of problems and suggest effective ways to address them.
What superpowers does a business analyst have?
A good business analyst is the jack of all trades that performs multiple functions in the project. Here are most common ones:
- Clarifying a project idea
First things first, a business analyst identifies the major purpose of a software project and outlines the pain points your solution is expected to address. This specialist also determines the product benchmarks, like value proposition and customer acquisition strategy, and suggests the implementation strategies, which are most convenient for software engineers and stakeholders.
- Shaping the development direction
Once business requirements are set, business analysts plan development tasks. They assign different roles within a team, so that developers will be able to deliver the expected business value when working together.
- Approving requirements
When validating the requirements, a business analyst makes sure that they are in line with the client’s business goals. They also ask for clarification from stakeholders, in case there’s any unclear requirement. Analysts rely on various strategies, such as workshops, interviews, and document analysis, to collect the important data and build a clear project roadmap.
- Standardizing the software development process
To ensure the streamlined workflow, a business analyst wears a superman cape documents the process, establishes specific standards and guidelines, implements different tools, like project management solutions, to support development, and reports to stakeholders on the progress being made.
Who can make a great business analyst?
As you can see, the job of a business analyst is very versatile, which means that these guys should possess a wide range of skills to perform well at work. There are lots of cases actually, when they look more like superheroes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Without further ado, let’s talk about the skill set of each good business analyst, which makes them a hero in the project.
- Decision-maker like Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange is not only a skilled healer, but a sorcerer that can see the future. This helps him come up with right decisions, when serious challenges arise. A business analyst can also make predictions by processing lots of raw data and evaluating different options. In such a way, they choose the solution that would benefit the company most.
In fact, business analysts make decisions with superhero speed to survive in this rapidly changing business world. They respond to the challenges that the industry throws at businesses, with sheer resilience and flexibility.
- Problem-solver like Iron Man
People who are anything like Tony Stark make fantastic business analysts. Iron Man is a pure genius, who builds new technologies and makes changes to his armors, as soon as any problem pops up.
Business analysts do almost the same. They identify the underlying cause of the problem, rather than deal with the annoying symptoms. Having dug to the core of the issue, they help the team to fix the bugs and deliver product updates that address users’ pain points.
- Analytical thinker like Vision
Vision is another fictional character descended from the pages of Marvel’s comics. Just like this hero, a business analyst logically processes data and makes conclusions based on the best available evidence. Thanks to profound knowledge and a high level of adaptability, both Vision and business analysts are able to solve the most difficult puzzle, see specific patterns and trends, and suggest the most effective strategy. Being an analytical thinker also enables analysts to communicate their findings in a comprehensive and concise way.
- Inquisitive leader like Black Panther
Black Panther was created, when the artist saw an analyst performing their job. Jokes aside, business analysts do remind this fictional character, because of their inherent curiosity and knowledge. To write a well-crafted documentation, you have to dig deep into different methodologies, approaches, and formulas. Similar to Black Panther, who seeks for knowledge possessed by prior Wakandan kings and queens, a business analyst stays curious about new techniques and guidelines to write docs, like process flow diagrams, test plans, business requirements, to name a few.
What is the role of a business analyst in SDLC?
Business analysts bring their competence and skills to the table at each phase of the SDLC. Let’s discuss the business analyst responsibilities during all project stages, from planning to implementation.
At the outset of the project, a business analyst identifies the business needs and pain points that the solution will address. This may presuppose working hand in hand with stakeholders to understand their expectations from the project. Then, analysts collect data to search for enticing opportunities for a business. Also, they are often involved in creating a project timeline and determining possible risks and challenges that may pop up during the software development process.
This is the stage when a business analyst takes the lead. They define what the business needs at the moment without going into too much detail about specific tools and technologies that might be required to deploy the software (that will be done a bit later). Analysts cooperate with stakeholders as well as end users to gather requirements and then prioritize them and update, when necessary.
Analysts juggle different techniques and methods to collect business requirements in the most efficient manner. It’s not rare when they have to rely on several methods simultaneously to achieve the desired results. We’ve shortlisted the most widely used approaches to requirements gathering for you to better grasp the idea of this process.
- Building multiple prototypes with various requirements. This method is handy when there’s no clear understanding of the final product.
- Offering questionnaires to stakeholders. Analysts prefer this technique to an ordinary interview, if they need to gather opinions from different parties.
- Monitoring the existing software. This is also a good approach, when there’s already a solution in place that needs improvement.
As the project moves to the design phase, a business analyst works closely with the development team members to come up with features that will help to meet the project goals. This is when they create user stories as well as acceptance criteria. To be more precise, BAs describe functionalities from the end user’s perspective to create certain standards that can serve as a basis for testing and validation.
Analysts offer their assistance and guidance to the team throughout the entire design stage. This helps to ensure that the project remains on track and satisfies all stakeholders’ needs.
Business analyst in the development team
This is the stage where software engineers pour their sweat and tears into the solution. As the name of this phase suggests, the final outcome is the untested software code.
The whole development process is based on the requirements business analysts put effort into creating. Apart from that, analysts have to constantly monitor the progress, explaining to programmers the business side of the solution.
During the testing phase, BAs assure that the final product meets the business requirements. Based on user stories, they develop the User Acceptance criteria to check whether the software is working as intended and deliver the promised business value. If not, the team has to go back to the development phase.
How user stories related to acceptance criteria
Also, analysts document all test results, including any bugs and problems that were spotted and how they were resolved. This documentation is crucial, as it helps to ensure product quality and readiness for deployment.
At this stage, the code is ready to be deployed to the platforms. Now, the BA has to get users’ feedback and identify the room for improvement. The findings can later serve as the basis for future updates. If needed, the team commits to another cycle of software development to implement the much-needed fixes.
Maximize your potential with a business analyst onboard
Throughout the SDLC, business analysts are like Marvel’s superheroes, who identify and address different threats, despite any obstacles and challenges. They use their unique skills, such as problem-solving or decision-making abilities, to find the most effective solutions to complex issues facing the world (or the industry, at least).
If you feel that you need your own kind of Iron Man, who will guide your project, from start to finish, consider turning to JatApp for talented business analysts. We’ve been delivering business analysis to our clients for seven consecutive years. Our professionals know how to properly analyze functional requirements, write specifications, and coordinate the work of the development team. Our clients agree here, since they don’t want to leave us even after three years of cooperation.
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