What is A Business Analyst and What is the Role of a business analyst in a Company?
If you are wondering how significant is the key role of a business analyst in a company then you have come to the right place. In today’s blog post we will be defining the term business analyst and how the role of a business analyst in the company is very crucial for the businesses to run successfully.
Topics To Be Covered:
1.What exactly is a Business Analyst?
2.How to Plan A Project
3.Understanding Business Objectives
4.Gathering Business Requirements From Stakeholders
5.Allocating Resources for the projects
6.Conducting Meetings With Stakeholders & Development team
7.Providing Feedback & Suggestions
8.Preparing Reports Using Business Tools
9.Documentation & Presentation
What exactly is a Business Analyst?
Pretty much every company in the world has two departments i.e the business department which consists of business stakeholders who make the decisions and the I.T department which consists of developers and testers who help in building the project. Since the two departments do not communicate directly, the business analysts are the bridging gap between the two and ensure that whatever the stakeholders want to communicate, the business analyst can communicate to the IT team in an effective way and plan a process flow to get the work done.
Let’s suppose that there is a banking institution whose business stakeholders decide to update their software with new additional features like enhanced support for their customers to the existing application. So after they decide on what features they wish to upgrade, they discuss their requirements with the business analyst. The business analyst then, asks all the important questions to the stakeholders, to make sure they have captured all the details & gathers all the requirements. Then they prepare business requirement documents based on the discussion and share them with the IT department to get their work started.
How to Plan A Project?
A typical business analyst job description actually requires them to first gather the requirements from the stakeholders by first identifying their business needs. After the requirements have been gathered, the business analysts have to define the process flow and typically how much time they will require to complete the project. This step typically happens after the business analyst has captured the requirement and discussed it with the development team. After receiving important inputs from the development team they tend to discuss the matter further with the clients and ask the relevant questions to get their doubts cleared on building the project and set realistic expectations on completion of the project. Once the business analyst has conducted meetings with both the stakeholder and IT team, their next job is to define the process flow and breaking down the project into simpler steps so that with every new feature added they can discuss with stakeholder and take feedback to move further on to the completion of the project.
Depending on the type of methodology applied like agile and waterfall methods, the business analyst has to plan the project accordingly.
Understanding Business Objectives
First & Foremost before starting the project, the role of the business analysts is to understand the client’s business goals; hence the BA has to make sure to prepare a plan that is best suited for the client’s projects. Hence every business analyst has to understand what are the ongoing problems that the client is facing at the moment and how their solution can help the client mitigate the limitations they are typically facing in their industry.
Gather Business Requirements
Once the BA has understood the business goals, objectives, and ongoing problems, they have to gather all the requirements as mentioned by the client & build business processes. Along with gathering the requirement, they also have to ensure that they have the right resources and platforms to get the work done. For example, if the client wants to set up a payment gateway in their application that accepts international payments and wants to add a feature of international shipping. The BA has to make sure the integrations of the shipping companies and payment gateways that accept international payments are seamless and actually achievable. It’s better to not set unrealistic expectations and ensure that the timeframe, the budget allocated, and the resources recruited for the particular project are proper.
Allocating Resources for the projects
Once the Business Analyst has an in-depth understanding of the client’s project & has gathered all the important information needed to develop the project, they have to start allocating the work to a development team who can handle the project and help the client achieve their business goal. It is very crucial to identify the right team for the project as that will make and break the project’s end goals. For example, hiring the backend team to develop the features of the app in the front end will not be useful at all.
Conducting Meetings With Stakeholders & Development team
Although this depends from project to project, normally, the business analyst has to conduct to and fro meetings with both the stakeholders and the development team as and when an update or a feature is added to the project. This helps in taking necessary feedbacks from the clients and solve the problems that the development team is facing while adding some features. The IT team first adds a feature and the role of the business analyst is to understand and explain the feature updates to the clients and take feedback to move further, based on the client feedback the BA instructs the IT team to make certain amendments and keep going. In certain scenarios, there are cases wherein the client request for an additional feature to be added to the project, and based on the feasibility the BA then has to allocate the changes in the existing project and allocate the resources accordingly if need be. Hence conducting regular meetings with the clients and the IT team to take feedback and implement changes, helps in reaching the end goal of the project very soon. This is one of the most crucial business analyst skills that a successful BA must possess.
Collecting Feedback From Users & Clients:
Once the prototype version of the business model is ready the business analyst roles require them to share the same with the clients and take their feedback, the BA also tests the interface by involving some customers and records their experience with the model built. Based on their feedback the BA plans some amendments that may make the model even better. They conduct user acceptance testing to verify if the prototype is in line with the requirements of the business project. A typical business analyst role also requires them to assess the functional and non-functional requirements of the business.
Building Final Reports
Finally, after collecting feedback and taking the necessary actions certified business analysts may have to move to their most crucial role of building reports with the help of business analytical tools like Tableau, Power Bi, Jira, Lucid Charts to prepare data visualization reports & general reports. Data Visualization is a key role required for any analyst to succeed in their project as it helps in estimating the performance of the model built by the team. Based on the analysis and the performance forecasting of the software/model built by the team, the BA is able to put forward the metrics and details while presenting in the final meeting with the client about their achievements and the feedback they received from their users.
Documentation & Presentation of the Final Project Outcome:
On completion of the business project, the business analyst has to document the project details and share the findings of the project with the client. Generally, the business analysts have to prepare reports and present the project outcomes to the business stakeholders and clients for a better understanding. They are also required to note down all the project learnings and hardships they faced while building the project in a compact form. This step helps the BA take better business decisions in the future.
Finally, once all the decisions and meetings have been concluded the business analyst has to deliver the project to the client. The streamlined approach taken by the business analyst helps in achieving the required outcomes in lesser time. Apart from learning the necessary skillsets, the business analyst needs to have an analytical mindset and a great problem-solving capability to solve challenging problems in lesser time and in an efficient manner. It is important for the BA to have a clearer understanding with their team members as they have to build and complete an entire project and that’s only possible if the communication is proper and responsibilities are properly allocated to the group members for completing the project-based task.
I hope this post has helped you understand the typical role of a business analyst and how efficient they have to be in defining business processes as well as conducting regular meetings with the team members and the stakeholders to complete the project in a stipulated time.