“Business is limited only by imagination”. Multiple dimensions of the business analyst’s world.

October 6, 2021

 

Business analysis is according to the International Institute of Business Analysis a “disciplined approach for introducing and managing change to organizations, whether they are for-profit businesses, governments, or non-profits”. Why is it so important and why is it called a “key factor” in the process of maintaining a new IT project?

We have interviewed our Lead business analyst, Maciej Gabiec, to understand and clarify the gist of the business analysis process.

“Business analysis is all about collecting requirements from the business side and translating them to the IT side. The purpose of this action is the mutual understanding so that developers can turn ideas into working applications” says Maciej. The analyst has a certain role in the application development process, which stands on the borderline between the business team, that comes up with the product, and the development team, that transforms the project requirements later on into code that creates a working application. It is the BA’s responsibility to maintain contact between two parties.

“These are two different worlds – a person who works in a business and a person who is a developer. The analyst brings those two worlds together” states Maciej.

So, how does the preliminary analysis look like?

  1. If the RACI dependencies have been already defined, the analyst gets a look at general requirements provided by the client – business
    The general requirements should be introduced by the product owner and then discussed with the analyst. There is a basic structure which the product owner should follow – in order for everyone to understand their goal and what the goal should consist of.
    The analyst needs to define the tasks and resources connected with planning and managing requirements. This will help to ensure that the activities taking place are suitable for the project in question.
  2.  Then, he gets some time to consider the image of the product from the clients’ side and elicit the requirements – not giving special attention to the code-writing process yet
    At the very beginning, the analyst, who is already familiar with the system, while talking to the business is able to point out the places where there would be a problem with implementing an idea into the project. This saves much-needed time in the whole process. The basic dialogue between two very different sides can create problems with understanding each other and that is why, even with the smallest change in the product, a mediator is needed.  
    In business analysis, the requirement elicitation phase is crucial. BA has to discover and research the requirements of a product from customers, users, and other collaborators.
  3.  Then, the analyst specifies the requirements and writes them down in a functional/business analysis document. This helps to define the method and needed tools.
  4.  The document gets delivered to the business which is checking its compliance
  5.  Then the analyst passes the document on to the development side and discusses whether given requirements are feasible to implement 

The presence of the analysts allows individuals who work in the business to focus on their own work. Due to the digitalization of society, many people have no idea about its development process. Owing to analysts, they do not have to gain knowledge about it, because the employee properly communicates and creates the documentation of business requirements. The main goal is for both parties to be able to understand the documentation and that is why the analyst is also appointed to process the written document with the team in case of any type of question. Theoretically, business is not a crucial part of this process.

We, as users, scrolling through the Internet sites, do not give special attention to the functionality of our ‘clicks’. When we want to log in, we just press ‘login’ and what we do not know is that there is a whole process behind that button that needs to be designed and handled by developers.

“There is a whole bunch of specialization on the development side and the role of the analyst is to identify an employee to handle a given task. Then, the project manager assigns the said task to the  identified person. The needed changes vary from the most basic ones such as different button colors to the intervention in the code. It is necessary to report to the right person who is responsible specifically for this part of the process” says Maciej. “You have to be versatile. I am not a developer, but it is important to be able to break down a requirement into who it goes to”.

The business side does not have to wonder to whom to direct a given notice or task. While the business analyst identifies the person, the project manager directs the change to them. It is vital for the project manager and the business analyst to cooperate.

Project Manager Business analyst
Prioritize the success of the entire project Prioritize the success of the overall product
Define the project scope Define the product scope and cooperate with the project manager, specifying, if necessary, the project scope
Manage the process of change requests Identify the requirements needed to justify proposed change requests
Ensure that the product is delivered on time, within budget, and in accordance with the scope, solve problems and remove obstacles Ensure that the right project is developed, that is a product that meets the client’s needs (assessment and solution validation)

http://www.mtdc.pl/upload_module/downloads/KATALOG/content/Artykuly1.pdf

What are work methodologies and how are they connected to the role of the analyst?

Work methodologies are essentially sets of guiding principles and processes for managing a project. There are a lot of methodologies but the most popular one is agile methodology in which communication plays a key role in helping the project succeed. Agile Manifesto preaches that “individuals and interactions are over processes and tools”.

Agile methodology is a way to manage a project by breaking it down into multiple phases. Everyone is working at the same time- the work is agile; testing, correction, and analysis are performed simultaneously, so there is no need to carry out the entire process again in order to change a small mistake. It has its own ‘schools’ such as Scrum which is a framework based on daily rituals.

In the Scrum framework, work is done in short cycles called sprints and the team meets daily with the purpose of discussing the tasks and connected problems.

The opposite of agile methodology is waterfall methodology, i.e., cascade method. The project is carried out in a different way because the employees do not cooperate at the same time. Each profession in the team works independently. There is a business team that prepares the requirements, the analyst analyses them, then it is passed in full to the developers who are trying to come up with the right code, then the full code is passed on to the testing. If there is a mistake, it all goes back to the very beginning. The same path must be overpassed.

Without business analysts, there is no way to use the cascade method.

“An analyst has to be very flexible. We are part of a team that has to adapt – both in terms of development and business”says Maciej. The whole purpose of the analysis is to help people with their work. “Art for art’s sake is no use”.

Business analysis is a process consisting of a little bit of both worlds. It requires input and knowledge from both the business side and the development team. In the middle of this stands a business analyst who is required to have appropriate traits known to help in work with people – “This is a job where contact with people is very important as well as forming relationships and adapting to every person” adds Maciej – “empathy and patience are crucial”.

The actions of people like Maciej allow the stakeholders to gain more knowledge about the organization’s processes. Understanding the bigger picture is crucial to develop a company’s full potential. Defining the goals and identifying strategies help to achieve goals in the development process.

Did you know what role does the BA play in the software development process? Let us know your thoughts!

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