Excerpt: Why would you require a thorough examination of your business? It isn't just about creating spreadsheets with rows of numbers. When it comes to software development, there are a plethora of analytical operations to consider. They all help to improve things, albeit in various ways. In this post, we'll go over what business analysis is and how a business analyst (BA) fits into the software development process.
Read Time: 14 mins
Each company demands that its needs be met. If this does not occur, there is a strong suspicion that something has gone wrong. For example, you may slip behind your competition, lose clients, have lower product quality, and lower employee motivation. This is seen by businesses as a problem, and all of these things are just indicators of it. And there comes business analysis. Business analysis is the very first step. BA in software development should be included in the project from the start, or from the start of forming a company — or even earlier. Even before the organisation is technically established, the strategic goal and development strategy must be in place.
What is the Role of a Business Analyst in the Software Industry?
A business analyst is a member of a product development team who examines the business domain, describes its processes and systems, lays out business requirements, and fits a software business model to the software being developed.
If you conceive of a business analyst as a jack-of-all-trades, you're partially correct.
A business analyst, on a larger scale, bridges the gap between stakeholders and the development team, translating business requirements into clear development tasks in order to align a final software product with predicted business value.
A business analyst engages with stakeholders, product and marketing managers, and developers through a project manager at all phases of the development process to capture business and market-level needs.
Business Analyst Short Job Description
A BA is a professional who is hired to assist a company to develop sustainably by developing new or improving existing business operations, chief and supporting business processes, and stakeholder requests in accordance with the firm's strategic goals. It is the main point of contact for user reps and other project participants. When software developers construct a product, BA analyses business needs, researches an issue, and produces its concept in the form of requirements.
BA also serves as a conduit for information, translating hazy user impressions into exact specifications that the product development team can follow.
Business Analyst Salaries in the IT
BAs are in scarce supply these days, and the market for actual professionals is extremely high. The salary of a BA varies depending on their level of experience and professional qualifications. Before we get into the stats, keep in mind that according to Breaking Glass, BA occupations are expected to expand 14.3% over the next decade. Presently, the average global compensation for a Business Analyst is $74,000. In India, according to Indeed, the average salary of a BA is somewhere around 43,821 per month.
What Does A Business Analyst Do in The IT Company?
Most people believe that writing code is required to construct a programme or an app and that this is all that is required to fulfil the customer's desire. Between what the client says and what the programmer really does, there is a huge gap. That's because the customer considers the big picture: what the software should accomplish and what he wants to do with it, whereas the programmer must consider the finer points: how the programme should work and how to do it correctly.
Business analysts in information technology discover existing client business difficulties and turn them into dependable and effective solutions.
Role of Business Analyst in Software Development Life Cycle
The product manager or marketing person frequently represents the IT business analyst function in consumer goods firms. In essence, the product manager is a business analyst who focuses on knowing the market landscape and predicting the demands of external users. Assume, however, that the project includes both a product manager and a business analyst. In that situation, the former usually focuses on the external market and user desires, while the latter turns this data into functional requirements.
The fundamental duty of a business analyst is to identify business requirements and translate them into a solution by determining why customers demand a new application and then creating user, functional, and quality criteria that teams can use to analyse, plan, design, and create a product.
BA can play one of two roles, depending on the company's type of business:
Create and improve the company's products-if one designs its own solutions.
In outsourcing and out-staffing, business analysts are on the front lines of customer interactions. They are tasked with gathering requirements, drafting technical specifications, and a variety of other tasks.
One of the first BA tasks in the project is to analyse all the links. A business analyst looks at the team structure and the number of people with whom the BA will work; the management structure — who reports to whom; and the client — their background, expectations, and priorities. In a typical circumstance, the PM leads the BA through onboarding and answers questions. If this does not occur, the business analyst must seek answers on a proactive basis, as stakeholder analysis offers critical context for the rest of the BA's judgments.
Documentation of Requirements
In information technology, the business analyst works with requirements at all stages of the product development lifecycle and serves as a constant liaison between the customer and the team. By understanding stakeholders' vision and conveying it to all project participants, he creates required paperwork (requirements) to keep everyone on the same page. Requirements are detailed descriptions of what a product must include, such as system behaviour, properties, and qualities.
The documents that describe different types of requirements are divided into three levels:
- PRD — Product Requirement Document — describes the product your company will build. It drives the entire product team's efforts and sales, marketing, and customer support efforts. It's hard to develop a more important, higher leverage piece of work for a company.
- BRD — Business Requirement Document — business requirements. Goals and tasks that the user can solve using the system.
- SRS — Software Requirement Specification — special documentation containing information about how the system should behave, what functions it should perform, what load it should withstand, etc.
BA works with specifications at all levels as well as SRS documentation, with the help of a team leads or a technical project manager.
Tools of BA
An expert analyst is well-versed in a variety of approaches and understands when and when not to use them. A business analyst must be able to do the following in order to obtain exact specifications for effective product implementation:
- Analyse the problems and needs of the user.
- Visualise information for the customer and the team.
- Create and maintain project documents.
The software needed for a successful BA operation can be divided into four categories:
- Creation of documents, images, presentations, digital tables, prototypes: Google docs, inVision Studio, and analogs.
- Organisation of online interactions, the correct collection of requirements in Confluence, and similar tools.
- Tracking the interrelationship between requirements, working with data analysis, visualisation: Google Analytics, Open Web Analytics, QlikView BI, Tableau, behavioural analytics: Mixpanel, Miro.
- Tools for analysing competitive environments: SE Ranking, Ubersuggest, SEMrush, SEOPressor.
- Tools for modelling and diagramming: Cawemo, Diagrams.net, etc
Why A Business Analyst In A Team Means Savings
The most important objective of BA, in the eyes of the team, is to eliminate the uncertainty. Doing things correctly isn't enough (we have excellent technical expertise and best practices in creating complex solutions). Nonetheless, we strive to do the right thing and simplify complex business processes into easy activities in order to solve our clients' concerns. A business analyst on the team may be able to help cut costs. Although it may appear that adding another team member necessitates greater investment, this ultimately results in a drop in value. (Rework Costs Avoidance) / Business Intelligence Price = Return on Investment (ROI). A critical component is reducing the amount of effort required to attain objectives. Clarifying the demands of all stakeholders, generating an overall agreed-upon vision, and connecting all requirements to business goals – all of this helps you avoid future redesigns.
Strong Sides and Weak Sides Of BA
The capacity to penetrate the core and be profoundly perceptive is a key asset of the business analyst profession: understanding things and how they work, what pieces they are made up of, how they are related and interact, and then describing complicated things using simple but helpful models.
Among the flaws include difficulty in evaluating your job, communicating with the customer, and conveying good ideas when time and financial constraints intervene. Furthermore, BA frequently encounters the same issues from project to project/client to client, and the game's rules are quite abstract.
What Does A Day of BA Looks Like?
Let's take a look at a normal business analyst's day, from start to finish, to see what he does. Of course, this isn't how every BA day goes. BA adjusts according to current activities and project stage, but in an ideal environment with no pressing deadlines, the analyst's schedule might look like this.
10:00 —12:00 Working with the team
Communication with the team can take up to a full day in some circumstances. BA participates in talks and brainstorms key issues with the team in an ideal agenda. The execution process may reveal further technological limits, and the previously accepted solution will take significantly longer. BA calls a meeting to bring the team up to speed on the initial business need and asks if they can come up with a solution that requires less time and resources. When a better solution becomes available, the business analyst modifies the requirements. The BA must constantly recognise how important a particular demand is to the customer and whether any adjustments need to be explored further with him. It's best to ask all your questions first. Experience allows you to recognise when you are in a position to make your own decisions.
What is essential when working with teams:
- Be in touch almost 24/7.
- Focus on determining the problem: find out the point, turn the conversation into a positive-constructive channel, and offer an alternative solution.
- Escalate issues on time: do not try to solve everything yourself.
- Understand and discuss the challenges that the project may encounter in case of some changes. Notify stakeholders in time. It is vital not to get hung up on communication with the team and understand when all current issues are resolved, and concentrate on other tasks.
12:00 —14:00 Writing And Working With the Documentation
Business analysts engage with business process modelling at this stage:
- Creates specifications.
- Describes user stories/acceptance criteria/use cases.
- Formulates non-functional requirements — describes the conditions under which the system is effective. Such as: "The system must be fault-tolerant and compatible with Google Chrome."
- Simulates business processes.
- Prototype solutions
What is essential when writing specs:
- Determine the required artefacts in advance.
- Describe the requirements in detail.
- Follow the principles of usability.
14:00 —15:00 Lunch
Lunch is a great time to meet new people and interact with coworkers in a relaxed setting, so don't eat alone.
15:00 —18:00 Communication With The Client
One of a business analyst's key responsibilities is to negotiate. BA must be familiar with the business's topic area. During interviews, demonstrations of documents, prototypes, models, diagrams, product demos, or even a ready-made solution, needs are always collected, identified, and clarified.
BA must first meet with the client, examine his problem, analyse it, propose solutions, and put up a rough scheme of work. It's also possible that the client doesn't comprehend what he wants or is unable to describe the problem. In this scenario, the most important duty, as marketers say, is to identify the need. Workshops are meetings where you can learn about the requirements and get to the heart of the client's true requirements. To put it another way, to answer the question "why do we need this?" and consider whether the solution is optimal or whether there are better alternatives. As the project develops, BA updates the client on the outcomes and product revisions.
It's possible that a customer will change their mind about doing (or not doing) something on the fly, or even after the sprint has ended (this is called a Change Request). Yes, it is a hassle for everyone, not just designers. Things get a lot more complicated when it comes to code modifications, which BA handles.
18:00 —19:00 Consultations With Tech Leads
When drafting requirements, the BA must be aware of all relevant technical aspects. It is critical to consult with those involved in the development process, such as architects, team/tech leads, and subject experts. High-level requirements are discussed at these meetings, such as how to design, implement, decompose, and so on. BA's immediate role is to research the subject from all angles: business and technical.
How to Become A Business Analyst and Where to Go Next?
- Being a business analyst entails being a multi-faceted professional with expertise in nearly every field. Understanding who these "wonder healers" are, structuring all of your advancements, understanding holes, and attempting to fill them in as quickly as feasible with strong information is the first step toward obtaining a BA. Online courses, books on the subject's introduction, feature pieces, educational portals, and a variety of other resources are examples. Finding the information you need has never been easier in the digital age.
- Identify the talents that distinguish you as a specialist. Examine your qualifications against those of potential employers, and improve your academic understanding (do not underestimate this, knowledge, in theory, is a hallmark of professionals).
- 3 reps for two articles and 4 reps for an online course. It's time to receive hands-on experience and actual feedback once you've decided on a job and determined that your talents are more than adequate for real-world activities. You can no longer waste time clicking on job openings and fantasising about six-digit salaries in the "salary" column. It's critical to define your talents and act with clarity. Most likely, your first career will not be the one you envisioned as a child. However, you can learn everything you need to know for a successful job there.
- No pain, no game. Understanding technological processes can be useful, but it's more for optimising and improving the quality of your job. Everything else is not a problem if you have a technical mind. The most important thing is to comprehend how company operations are structured. Again, there is a wealth of information and books available on the Internet to suit any taste. Courses are also a good place to gather feedback from coworkers and lecturers.
As for personal qualities, BA must
- Have extensive analytical thinking to define customers’ business needs accurately and turn them into functional specs.
- Easily navigate in an unexplored area.
- Be a creative thinker who can provide alternatives to existing or proposed solutions;
- Have coping skills and be able to make swift decisions if the situation requires;
- Systems thinking skills. See a full picture and validate the requirements based on the knowledge of the enterprise as a whole;
- Quickly learn new material, be it new ways of working with requirements or features of the subject area;
- Interpersonal and communication skills — written and oral — the ability to tailor the message to different audiences;
- The ability to interview and ask questions.
- Good listening skills.
- Be attentive to details
- Creating comfortable communication conditions: organising a friendly atmosphere to clarify requirements is an analyst's essential skill. Building trust can lead the organisation to success.
- Express ideas in an understandable way;
- Have a zeal to make a difference;
- Be proactive, dynamic, coupled with strong business knowledge.
Short Checklist For Business Analyst Skill Set covers
- Understanding your specific role as a business analyst in your company, as the tasks from project to project, can vary greatly;
- Identify all the problem areas that need to be analysed;
- Know the software life cycle following different methodologies;
- Understand the basics of programming, testing, algorithms, economics.
- Reading BABOK and Software Requirements (Developer Best Practises) by K.Wiegers.
- Highlighting missing competencies and undergoing training on them.
- Mastering the basic BA techniques and implementing them into work, and tracking the results.
- Applying for a junior position with a cover letter. Write down why you want to work in this company and why they should hire you: add what you did for this, what courses you took, and what you can do. Don't be afraid to add test projects to your portfolio — they can be an excellent example of your work experience.
When To Turn To Business Analytics
Companies' issues are frequently linked to corporate operations, rivals, client work, management, advertising, and information technology. A business analyst's job has numerous benefits. But keep in mind that being an analyst is often about following a routine, abstract game rules, unpleasant work evaluations, and the odd necessity to collaborate with people you don't want to deal with. And it doesn't matter if you have business experience if you can link customer loss to a misplaced order button on the website or a drop in the average check to bad weather. Furthermore, each project has its own unique characteristics, which you must study thoroughly each time. For the vast majority of firms, improving business procedures has become a reserve. As a result, the demand for qualified business analysts will continue to rise in the foreseeable future.
We hope that this post will be of use to anyone looking for BA specialists for their next project or those considering a career change.