Who is a business analyst and what does he do?
A business analyst in IT is the link between the customer and software developers. He performs a set of tasks and a techniques to understand current processes of the client’s company, how things work at the moment. Then BA gives recommendations for software development that allows to improve business processes.
In practice, a business analyst can combine several roles: a technical writer, a system analyst and a tester. He handles:
- collection of requirements,
- requirements analysis,
- documenting and approving of requirements,
- requirements management during the project.
By the way a business analyst can build a product concept. He knows the domain area, clearly explains to developers how the feature should work and controls this compliance. BA has a systematic approach and thinking — after talking with the customer, he is able to give recommendations on how to design a software solution, describes and transfers it to the development team. Simply put, BA should bring a “what to do” picture from a customer, and developers should help with “how to do it”.
What projects does a business analyst take part in?
- First case: a customer has an idea and no requirements or documentation for project development. Here BA helps the client to structure the idea, describe a possible solution. Then he transfers requirements / decomposition to developers for and evaluation. Developers set the necessary time to perform certain tasks. After that, the evaluation of the project is given to the customer for an approval. After confirming the evaluation and signing an agreement / NDA, IT company develops software for the customer according to the requirements.
- The second case: customer has a technical task with specific requirements for the project. Here a business analyst examines the technical task, limitations of the project and describes all the functionality of the platform. Then BA passes it to the developers for an evaluation. Further, all the same activities as in the first case.
At what stages of the project does a business analyst participate?
Business analyst takes part not only at the initial stage of the project, but from the start of the project till the final demo (which, by the way, he conducts). Business analyst is not involved in design and development of software solution, he describes it to all stakeholders of the project. Lead or Senior developer designs software architecture on the basis of the requirements received from BA.
Level of participation in project’s stages depends on development methodology, Waterfall or Agile. In Agile the work of BAs is dispersed throughout the project almost evenly as detailed documentation is not written from the start. Even during the sprint process, the same feature can change several times — as the customer wants. In Waterfall BA writes a detailed spec from the very start, and then supports developers.
Thus, an IT business analyst is one whose work takes place within individual IT projects. The main task is to interact with stakeholders from the customer’s side and with the development team to create an app that meets all the requirements and covers the needs of users.