A business analyst plays an important part in a project team. Find out what a business analyst does in this article.
What Does A Business Analyst Do?
A business analyst is a role in the software project team. They are the main contact point between the business representatives and the IT teams.
Their main role is to speak to the business representatives, find out what their requirements are, document them, and communicate them to the IT teams who perform the development work.
This might sound straight forward, but it does take a bit of work. Let’s have a look into each of these areas in more detail.
What Are Business Representatives?
Business representatives on a software project team are those who work in the company and have something to do with the product or solution. They can be:
- The person or people paying for, or funding, the project
- The people who use the solution
- The people who represent the users of the solution (as sometimes the actual users are not available)
- The people who understand the business process
Depending on your project, these roles could all be covered by one person, or there could be ten or twenty or even more people involved as a business representative. They are also commonly called stakeholders, as they have a stake in the project and its success.
What Are The IT Teams?
Well, the IT teams are the people who do the actual development work for the project. As a software developer, this is where you would fit in. They also involve the testers, IT architects, and any other role that relates to the software that is being built.
Depending on how your organisation is structured, this could be a single small team, or it could be multiple teams all working in different areas of the project.
Their Main Role is Gathering Requirements
As mentioned earlier, what a business analyst does is gather the requirements for the project. This is done by speaking to the business representatives that I mentioned earlier.
Why do we need a business analyst to do this? It comes down to two things – communication and experience.
Business analysts are often more comfortable and better able to speak to the business representatives in a way that they understand. They can refrain from going into too much technical detail, and can ask the right questions.
On the other side, they are also able to ask questions of the IT teams with an understanding of how the IT systems work. This is important as many business representatives don’t know how the IT side works, and therefore don’t know what questions to ask and how to interpret the answers.
The other reason business analysts are needed is to do with their experience. They have experience in working on these projects, asking the right questions, preparing the documentation that is needed, and many other aspects of the project.
A Business Analyst Also Diagrams the Processes
“What does a business analyst do?” They also diagram the business processes.
As part of their role, they need to understand the process of how something works in an organisation. This is so they can ask the right questions as part of their role, and also so they can better explain it to others.
Skills in Microsoft Visio are very helpful here, as this is a common way to create diagrams for using in documents and sharing within the organisation. The business analyst is responsible for understanding the process and putting it into a diagram in a simple and easy to understand way.
Clarify Details With Both IT and Business
The process of gathering requirements from the business users and providing them to IT isn’t the end of their role. What the business analyst does quite often is provide clarification for both teams during the project.
Often, because the software being developed needs to have exact specifications, the IT teams often need clarification on what to do in certain situations, like edge cases and different scenarios. The business analyst needs to work this out by looking at the documentation and speaking to the business representatives, often translating the “IT-speak” into business language.
It also goes the other way. The business representatives will also need to know how a situation could work or how something is planned on working, and the business analyst needs to ask the IT team, and provide a response back to the people who asked for it.
This clarification and translation process is often a big part of what a business analyst does.
So, to summarise what a business analyst does:
- Gathers requirements
- Diagrams processes
- Prepares documents
- Communicates and clarifies between IT and business teams