Bridging the gap between stakeholders and your project’s development team is an important role for a business analyst to fulfill.
It requires great skill and nuance to ensure that business specifications and requirements can be broken down into understandable development tasks. Another added benefit of business analytics is that it also guarantees that the final software product matches client expectations and fits the requirements of each unique business. Doing so establishes business value, growth, and longevity.
In addition to the highly specific set of skills required of high-level business analytics, there are numerous other specific skill sets that play into the process of communication and secured performance as a business analyst. Clarifying business ideas, planning development stages in a logical fashion, and validating requirements for both the customer and development team are all integral aspects of ensuring a smooth development process. Additionally, extensive knowledge of standard software development processes allow for an organic production phase. This also allows for open feedback, revision loops, and utmost client satisfaction. Progressively seeing the workflow and having the opportunity to provide feedback on implemented features allows for the gradual improvement of the final product.
This stage of development is key to the logistical planning of an entire project- the first step towards development is establishing which new product you’ll be bringing to the market. This phase is necessary in order to become oriented with the project and to establish its place in the market. It marks the first stages of communication with customers, clients, and partners. During this process, it’s also important to estimate the volume and scope of future efforts for your team down the line.
By studying the market potential of the end product and the methods necessary to realize it, one can quickly make sure that thorough market research and information gathering has been performed so that all parties can rely on a successful and effective end result for the project. Doing so also relays the parameters of success to the development team and others involved in the production. Researching business problems is one of the first and most important steps that one must take in order to understand the business owner’s problems and/or what the market gap is that they’re trying to fill or expand on. It is also during this phase that one begins to understand the product’s directional course and what the expected market niche will be. This can be done by visualizing how various system elements will interact with one another. How will the product interact with its target audience as well as provide monetization to the company or client? This is an incredibly important point to communicate with shareholders and a solid common ground to work towards.
Preparing and documenting functional requirements as well as non-functional requirements of how the system will behave is also a necessary step of the elaboration phase. This process allows engineers to develop and implement the individual features of the product so that users achieve final goals while also establishing the constraints of the functionality for both developers and stakeholders. Security, reliability, performance, usability, availability, and scalability are all important points to document in order to communicate the success of the final project to all parties involved. Before moving onto the next phase, a general outline of the project, as well as a backlog with an instructive to-do list, should be created. This is done in order to ensure that earlier business aspects that were discussed in the planning phase are accurately and skillfully reflected in the final product.
Solution Design Phase
By this stage of the process, raw research has already been analyzed, considered, and confirmed, and primary decisions as to the business requirements have been evaluated and approved. It is during the solution design phase that business analysts will find the tech stack that is most suited towards meeting all the business and system requirements of a given project. With the help of several other key decision-making entities (such as project managers, stakeholders, UX designers, and leaders of the development team), a business analyst will begin wireframing the final user experience. By drafting the wireframe within the functional requirements of the software, it is ensured that the user flow matches the approved business value. Story mapping and wireframing is considered to be one of the most important BA responsibilities as it determines every detail of the end result.
By establishing whether certain features of the product satisfy the needs of both the stakeholders and the end-users, a BA shares the responsibility of making sure the acceptance criteria conditions are met with the project manager. The importance and relevance of tasks are then decided upon based on a business point of view before proceeding to the next phase.
Software development can now begin as the product’s team begins to complete their specific allocated tasks. Ensuring that the development continues to fall in line, a business analyst will then shadow the pre-development phase in order to verify that approved business values and requirements are upheld by the team in both end product and worker morale. The final part of this phase is the deliverable of the released product.
After thorough quality control and the launch of a product, it’s important that regular maintenance is performed to keep the software up-to-date and operational. Maintenance can come in the form of edge-case bugs that couldn’t have been tested for in the pre-launch phase as well as framework updates that may require patches or redesign of certain software architecture.