Skills For A Business Analyst – Why would you need a detailed business analysis? Well, it’s not just about making reports with rows of numbers.
There is a wide variety of analytical activities when we talk about software development. All of them contribute to improvements, although through different factors.
Skills For A Business Analyst
In this article, we will explain what business analysis is in software development and the role of a business analyst (BA) in this process.
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A business analyst is a member of a product development team who analyzes the business domain, documents its processes and systems, describes business requirements, and matches a software business model to the software being built.
On a larger scale, a business analyst bridges the gap between stakeholders and the development team, interpreting business requirements into understandable development tasks to match a final software product with expected business value.
At all stages of development, a business analyst communicates with stakeholders and product and marketing managers to capture requirements at the business and market level, and then interacts with developers through a project manager, without direct impact in the development process.
Typically, a BA has a set of core responsibilities that can be considered the backbone of the tasks they will perform in their role.
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Clarification of a business idea. To understand which direction to choose, a business analyst must clarify the main purposes of the future product. In addition, a BA establishes key product benchmarks such as customer acquisition strategy and value proposition and helps decide on core product KPIs. Then, they evaluate the most relevant means of implementation, which will be the most convenient for both stakeholders and developers.
Development activities planning. When the main requirements of the business have already been established, it is necessary to set up the development direction and assign the areas of responsibilities. At this point, product development workshops with stakeholder participation serve as an efficient development tool.
Validation requirements. By approving the written documentation with the business requirements included, the BA ensures the compliance of the development results with the customer’s business objectives. With both sides on the same page, everything is moving in the right direction.
Standardization of the software development process. One of the main responsibilities of the BA is to ensure that the single workflow is implemented with the promised requirements. When the product is being developed, a BA obtains feedback from stakeholders and ensures product improvements based on the data obtained.
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Analytical thinker. Strange as it may sound, a business analyst has to have an… analytical mind. This is actually one of the most important skills for BAs. A product BA can be considered an expert when they understand difficulties or problems, visualize them, analyze them and then solve them. This also includes competent research skills, logical thinking and presentation skills. A strong background in different analytical techniques is required, including interface analysis, feasibility analysis and SWOT analysis.
Decision making The business analyst role often requires making decisions. Being an intermediary between stakeholders and an engineering team, BAs are supposed to make sound judgments on various business topics. Any of these can define the sustainability of a company. Decision-making skills allow a BA to assess a situation, including risks and benefits, receive feedback from stakeholders, and select a course of action.
Troubleshooter. For a business analyst, each customer has a different issue or problem that needs to be solved quickly and in the long term. So the responsibility of a business analyst is to study the problem, analyze the available options and then suggest the best option. They must be able to look at a problem from different angles within the company, including a target user and a technical expert. In such circumstances, the ability to work in a collaborative environment with ongoing discussion with developers is mandatory. This is where technically viable solutions are discovered.
Master of documentation and visualization. The business analyst role presumes to make presentations to both stakeholders and developers. To do this properly, a good BA must provide consistent requirements documentation. Along with that, building wireframes is a crucial part of a BA’s activity. While not strong UX design skills, schematic drawing and knowledge of Unifying Modeling Language tools are compelling and necessary attributes.
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At different stages of development, a business analyst has different levels of commitment and different scopes of responsibilities. We will go from the beginning of the interaction between a BA and stakeholders, noting the level of involvement and the degree of influence in the development of the product.
The build phase is the first step in bringing a new product (feature, module, whatever) to market. It is necessary to investigate and roughly estimate the volume of future efforts. This is the first stage of communication with the potential customer. Here, a business analyst, in close collaboration with a solution architect and a UX researcher, studies the full market potential of the product and the methods to realize it.
Business problem research. By evaluating the business model, the BA discovers the business owner’s main pain points (such as low-level customer acquisition or irrelevant digitization) or what market gap they are trying to fill or expand. These concerns will later be reflected in the business requirements and the initial technical offer.
Decide on the expected commercial value. Understanding the product course and the expected market niche usually contributes to the primary wireframes. These are visualized concepts of how the elements of the system will interact with each other. This activity also includes establishing the method of interaction between a future product and its target audience, as well as its monetization.
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Writing non-functional requirements. This scope of responsibility involves the description of how the system is supposed to behave. In addition, it establishes the limitations of its functionality. In preparing this type of documentation, a business analyst includes system quality attributes such as usability, security, reliability, performance, availability, and scalability.
Preparation of functional requirements. A business analyst is also responsible for documenting functional requirements. These are the product features that engineers implement to enable users to achieve their goals. So the role of a BA is to document it clearly for both developers and stakeholders.
Formulation of principal arrears. At this time, the general outline of the project is already inside. Make a good foundation for a common procrastination with an instructive to-do list. A business analyst ensures that all the business aspects discussed above are reflected.
This stage represents the phase during which the future product team has already done a significant amount of raw research from different aspects. Major decisions are already made, business requirements are assessed and approved, and there is only one thing to do before development begins: find and approve the most appropriate technology stack that meets all business and system requirements. Here, BA plays an important role, as it compares the overall scope with the promised business value.
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Story mapping. This is arguably one of BA’s most important responsibilities. Basically, a user story is a description of a feature from the end user’s point of view. They are usually created within the functional requirements after the software specification document and use cases have been compiled. The story mapping process often involves multiple decision makers, such as the product/project manager, stakeholders, UX designers, and development team representatives. But it is the BA that ensures that a supposed user flow matches the approved business value.
Establishment of acceptance criteria. This is no less important than the compilation of user stories. Acceptance criteria are the conditions that determine whether a feature satisfies both a stakeholder and the end user. As with the creation of user stories, a BA shares this responsibility with a product manager. A quality control engineer is also involved, but to a lesser extent.
Prioritize overdue items. This is one of the most important areas of a BA’s responsibility. By choosing one of the prioritization techniques, a business analyst helps to understand which group of tasks is more important or relevant from a business point of view.
This is the phase where active software development begins. The product team completes tasks according to assigned roles. Here, the role of the business analyst is to ensure that the development conforms to the discussed and approved business values and requirements.
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Creation of preparation activities. The business analyst shadows the entire pre-development process to ensure that each sprint is planned according to the approved requirements and objectives. Participation in activities such as pre-planning and preparation is an avoidable part of a BA’s responsibility.
Monitoring the development process. Although the BA does not interact directly with developers, his daily routine includes participation in daily Scrum and Standup meetings. Here, the BA looks at the development process to address and fulfill all business requirements.
This is the final stage of the development process. It is usually considered the phase of necessary improvements or changes. The BA’s responsibilities in this period include gathering customer feedback on the outcome. They often compare the result with the expected business value, deciding on opportunities for improvement.
Collect and process feedback from customers and users. As is often the case when launching a product, there are still some improvements to be made. One of the responsibilities of the BA is to reveal the strengths and weaknesses of the finished product from a business point of view.
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Formulation of the following delay. Based on the feedback collected, the BA configures the volume of business issues to improve, change, complete or delete. this
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