Business analysis is one of those services that is often underestimated. Although you, as the person with the idea, know your idea better than anyone else, often you need business analysis and analytics to look at your idea from a different perspective.
Every project starts with a foundation. In software development, this matters more than anywhere else — this is an extremely important stage that determines the subsequent belief in the project more than you can imagine. Think of it in terms of building a building. You cannot do this without laying the foundation. And if you do, expect everything to fall apart due to some minor problem popping up out of nowhere.
In software development, it is said that the foundation is laid by conducting business analysis. While this may seem obvious to some, the importance of this discipline cannot be overstated. If there is anything that can be called “the key to success” then business analysis definitely is.
And yet, despite all that has been said, some question its role and try to downplay its importance in favor of a more abstract and flashy word, also known as «vision».
What is business analysis?
The general definition of business analysis is the definition of tasks and methods aimed at identifying and justifying the needs, requirements, problems and solutions of a project so that it can be successfully implemented.
In one form or another, business analysis covers all aspects of the project: from organizational nuances to system development and process improvement. It starts with a study of the structure of the organization in which the project will be implemented, goes through understanding the scope of work and defining sets of tasks for the team.
Because of the complex relationship, both with the client and with the development team, business analysis serves as a link between them. This helps keep both parties on the same wavelength and helps avoid misunderstandings that may arise in the process.
The immediate benefit of business analysis is that, through various methods, it provides a clear picture of the project that can be easily monitored and adjusted as needed.
In turn, this transparency ensures that the project progresses as planned and is completed and deployed within time and budget constraints without unreasonably over budget or stretching out of schedule. Avoiding the latter is important because software development is quite an expensive service.
Business Analysis or Business Intelligence?
Before delving into the deeper worlds of business analysis, we need to understand that business analysis is not the same as business intelligence.
- Business analysis is primarily concerned with processes and functions.
- Business intelligence, on the other hand, is focused on data and reporting.
Software Development Business Analyst Responsibilities:
- A business analyst in software development is always an intermediary. Its work can be described as filtering and facilitating the output of information from stakeholders on the client side on the one hand and translating the results of the team on the other side.
- From a business perspective, the global task of business analysis can be described as providing a clear vision for a project with a strict set of priorities and a concise plan to meet the requirements.
- From a technical point of view, its goal is to provide the development team with an accurate and realistic sequence for fulfilling requirements and implementing features from iteration to iteration until the end of the project.
- In terms of direct responsibility, the role of a business analyst in software development depends on the stage of the project.
In terms of direct responsibility, the role of a business analyst in software development depends on the stage of the project.
Let’s go through each of them.
At the initial stage, business analysis is aimed at creating the basis for the project.
In practice, this means:
- Understanding the original idea of the project and its refinement.
- Assessment of its feasibility, expectations and possible problems,
- Preparing information for project evaluation.
During the planning phase, the business analyst must prioritize the requirements. Another important element to consider is the evaluation of possible solutions. This helps to build a big picture of the project from which comes an understanding of the real scope, constraints and risks of the project. The main advantage of each element is the ratio of costs and benefits.
All this is stated in the technical documentation. Documentation serves as the basis of the project and determines the way in which it will be managed and developed.
All this helps to form a basic vision of user experience for the program, as well as to connect the reality of the situation with the concept of the project.
Monitoring the project
During the execution phase, the business analyst assumes the role of an observer, observing the development of the project in cooperation with the project manager. In practice, this means that the business analyst looks at the background, checking whether all the elements in development are going according to plan and on time. It comes to the fore only in cases of new proposals and subsequent adjustments.
At this stage, there are three main goals for the business analyst.
- Break down requirements into task sets for the development team.
- Maintain contact with clients and receive feedback from them.
- Implementation of feedback and formulation of tasks.
In addition, the business analyst may be involved in the development of test cases for the initial stages of testing.
Improving the design quality for the proposed IT system to meet user requirements.
It is important to note that the business analyst continues to refine and refine the functional requirement descriptions throughout the development phase. This is done so that by the time the feature is developed, it will be described in detail and adapted in accordance with the current state of things.
Checking the project
During the testing phase, the business analyst participates in the development and refinement of comprehensive acceptance criteria for test scenarios of various program modules.
This includes a combination of functional walkthroughs, user impersonation, as well as user acceptance tests.
The main goal at this stage is to ensure that the project meets the requirements, it is fully ready and ready for deployment.
Completion of the project
At the final stage, the business analyst presents the project to the client and receives his approval. His next step is usually the creation of program instructions and final project documentation.