There are no other ways to build a solid product without foundation/architecture, especially in software development, this matters more than anywhere else. It’s an extremely important stage that determines the subsequent faith in the project more than one might imagine. In the long run, it’s essentially the same as building a house from scratch that will serve you for a long time. You can’t do this without laying the base. And if you do, expect everything to fall apart due to some minor problem that will appear out of nowhere, as the reduction in competitiveness, employees’ demotivation, loss of control over the product, and so on.
In software development, it’s said that the foundation is laid by conducting business analysis. While this may seem obvious to some, the importance of this discipline can’t be stressed enough. If there is anything that can be called the “key to success”, then the business analysis is definitely it.
Yet, despite all that has been said, some call into question this field’s role, trying to diminish its importance in favor of a more abstract and bright word, also known as “vision.”
Even if we talk only about the IT domain, there are several areas related to business analysis: business analytics, system analytics, UX analytics, product analytics, digital intelligence, etc. Today, we focused on business analytics. Let’s talk about it in more detail.
Why does an IT project need a business analyst?
For a long time already, the business analyst has become a key contributor to teams’ success who helps companies to implement and leverage data science, strategy, and analysis. By finding the root causes of problems and organizing business processes, such expert identifies opportunities for enterprises. A business analyst provides suggestions for achieving business goals and increase competitiveness.
Most believe that a business analyst has the same responsibilities as a project manager. This is a myth. The BA is focused on the implementation of nitty-gritty details, while a project manager has targeted product value maximization.
In outsourcing and outstaffing, a specialist of this type is on the front line of communication with stakeholders is involved in gathering projects’ needs, drawing up technical specifications, and much more.
Their main duty is to describe business requirements, which will help to solve several tasks at once. Consequently, BA should turn all requirements into a solution by figuring out why users need a new app or app improvements. Then, determines the user, functionals, and quality requirements which the team can use this data to rate, plan, design, and create a product. It’s huge work.
Most of the companies refuse to develop projects without a preliminary stage of analytics.
Business Analyst’s daily tasks:
- stakeholder communications – synchronization with the team (participates in discussions and brainstorms);
- documentation (drafts specifications in detail, study and analyze realized tasks and value the project’s stage);
- metric tracking (velocity, budget, etc.)
- team management (consult with architects, team/tech leads, and subject specialists);
- self-education and learning (knowledge improvement through mentoring, courses and trainings, applies new knowledge to the project;
- testing (creates scenarios and test cases).
In the initial phase, the business analysis aims to establish the basis for a project. In practice, this means:
- understand of the initial idea of the project and its refinement;
- fesability assesments, expectations and potential problems;
- preparation of information for project evaluation.
2. Planning the project
During the planning phase, the business analyst must prioritize the requirements. Another important element in consideration is the assessment of possible solutions. This helps to create a big picture of the project, from which comes an understanding of the real scope, limitations, and risks of the project. The main advantage of each element is the cost-benefit ratio.
All this is stated in the technical documentation. The documentation serves as the basis for the project and determines the way of subsequent management and development. These help to form a basic vision of the user experience for the program, as well as to connect the reality of the situation with the concept of the project.
3. Project supervision
During the execution phase, the business analyst takes on the role of an observer, overseeing the progress of the project in collaboration with the project manager. In practice, this means that the business analyst looks at the background, checking if 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 a business analyst:
- breakdown of requirements into task sets for the development team;
- keeping in touch with customers and getting feedback from them;
- implementation of feedback and formulation of tasks.
In addition, the business analyst can participate 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’s important to note that the business analyst continues to refine and adjust the functional requirements descriptions throughout the development phase. This is done so that by the time the function is developed, it is described in detail and adapted following the current state of affairs.
4. Project regular review
During the testing phase, the business analyst participates in the development and refinement of complex acceptance criteria for test scenarios of various program modules. This includes a combination of functional walkthroughs, user impersonation, and user acceptance tests. The main goal at this stage is to ensure that the project meets the requirements, its complete readiness, and readiness for deployment.
5. Completion of the project
At the final stage, the business analyst submits the project to the client and receives his approval. His next step is usually to create program instructions and final project documentation.
Business processes systematization
To systematize the entire software process, the business analyst concentrates his energy on a series of actions and procedures aimed at ensuring the continuous operation of the company and its productivity. Thanks to such systematization, the business analyst manages to free staff from routine tasks, increase revenues and competitiveness of the company, and optimize the working time of management.
Before systematization implementation, it’s necessary to:
- perform a step-by-step analysis of business processes highlighting qualitative and quantitative methods, such as:
- SWOT analysis of the process;
- analysis of process problems;
- analysis of inputs and outputs;
- resource analysis.
- define, install and configure the Business Process Management (BPM) system;
- set up an organizational structure in the system to manage team members responsible for the execution of business processes;
- determine which business processes exist in the company (using the universal list from the organization APQC (American Productivity & Quality Center), that presents the reference models of business processes) and which of them need to be systematized;
- describe the selected processes in the system and agree with the management;
- start and maintain processes.
To manage all work and get an outstanding result, the BA specialist needs a wide range of tools:
- Requirements Management: Google docs, inVision Studio, Pencil, Draw.io and analogs.
- Project Management: Microsoft Visio, Bizagi, LucidCharts, Axure, Balsamiq.
- Requirements tracking and data analysis: Miro, Open Web Analytics, Tableau, Google Analytics, Mixpanel, QlikView BI.
- Data Visualization: SEMrush, SE Ranking, KISSmetrics, Ubersuggest, SEOPressor.
- Modeling / Diagramming: Cawemo, Diagrams.net, etc.
By excluding analytics from the development process, you are taking on significant risks. Especially if you need to develop a complex product. Yes, it will be possible to save on the reduction of the team, but it will also lead to an increase in the number of reworks, the cost of the project, and the timing of its development.
A business analyst in the software development team is a major advantage. He’s a versatile employee who can plan, calculate and launch a project. He checks what strategies can be used to improve the company’s processes, monitors the economic and technical implementation of new requirements. Experienced business analysts lead the entire system development and strategic development of the company.
DAS Solutions follows all the principles described above. You have the opportunity to recruit a qualified business analyst who has extensive experience working with global projects. It offers customers a product without shortcomings. Contact us today.