Business Analyst

A "Business Analyst" (BA) is a role that can mean different things to different people. In some companies, the BA plays a technical role with very little business knowledge; while in other companies, the BA has a full understanding of the business with very little knowledge of the IT systems and architecture.

B.A. are able to visualize the "big picture" - that is - understand the business from different perspectives, as well as the technology side of what can be effectively used to improve the business.

The Business Analyst Skills in a broad perspective comprises of the person being a Business Planner, Systems Analyst, Project Manager, Subject Area Expert, Organization Analyst, Financial Analyst, Technology Architect, Data Analyst, Application Analyst, Application Designer, and Process Analyst.

  1. Define and Scope Business Areas
The BA must be sure that the project scope is clear and complete before the start of detailed requirements gathering. The BA may be given the scope pre-defined by the project sponsor or may be responsible for defining and documenting the scope as part of the requirements gathering task.
An important contribution of the BA to the project is the analyzing of the business problem without "jumping" to a solution.
  • Facilitation skills to bring multiple groups together to scope project and get consensus
  • Ability to document the project scope using business terminology
  • Project scope documentation techniques

  1. Elicit Requirements
The most important task of a BA is to gather the detailed requirements that clearly and completely define the project. BAs have a variety of techniques available to them including interviews, facilitated information gathering sessions, surveys, questionnaires, observation, and existing documentation from which to choose. In addition, the BA will often have many people with whom to talk and several existing automated systems about which to learn.
Gathering complete, detailed requirements is an iterative process that involves the BA asking questions, pondering answers, asking follow-up questions, and bringing divergent opinions to consensus. It also involves prioritizing the requirements to assure that the most critical issues are addressed by the project solution.
  • Active listening
  • Asking the right questions
  • Interviewing techniques
  • Facilitation techniques
  • Documentation
  • Ability to categorize requirements
  1. Analyze and Document Requirements
The BA is responsible for following their organization's standard documentation format or for creating their own.
BA must consider the best format for communicating with the information technology team and the best format for communicating with the business area experts. The BA is often the person leading the development and maintaining the standard documentation format.
  • Analysis Skills
  • Understand the system development methodology
  • Utilize modelling techniques
  • Categorization skills
  • Prototype user interfaces
  • Develop a textual template for requirements
  1. Communicate Requirements
The BA should be the best communicator on the project team. The role is to act as a liaison between the business area experts and the technical team. This role requires the BA to "speak" both languages. The BA must also work very closely with the Project Manager to ensure that the project plan is adhered to and scope creeps / changes are approved and documented.

  • Active listening skills
  • Run effective meetingsPrecision questioning techniques
  • Conduct formal and informal presentations
  • Write clear emails, memos, and status reports
  • Conduct a comprehensive requirements review
  • Change management
  • Write review summaries

  1. Identify Solution
The BA should work closely with the Business Area Experts to make a recommendation for a solution and work with the technical team to design it. This recommendation may include software changes to existing systems, new software, procedural or workflow changes, or some combination of the above. If software automation is part of the solution, the BA should assist with the screen design, report design, and all user interface issues by providing detailed functional requirements.
If a software package is going to be purchased, the BA works with the Business Area Experts, IT personnel, and the potential vendors to discuss the requirements and verify that the package selected will meet the needs. The BA may also be responsible for writing the Request for Proposal (RFP). Detailed business and functional requirements should be completed to accurately reflect the needs for the software and a thorough review should be conducted.

  • Ability to evaluate vendor software packages
  • High level understanding of the software design
  • Ability to estimate solution costs and benefits and build a business case for implementation
6.Verify Solution meets the Requirements

The BA should remain involved in the project even after the technical team takes over. The BA reviews the technical designs proposed by the design team for usability issues and to assure that the requirements are being satisfied. Once the solution is developed into software, the BA is uniquely qualified to assess the software and determine how well it meets the original project objectives. The BA should work closely with the Quality Assurance team and to assist with the entire testing process. Testing is based on requirements, so the BA's intimate knowledge of the requirements allows accurate design of test cases. As the software is tested, the BA ensures that it is clearly documented and reports defects and variances from requirements.
  • Basic understanding of system design concepts
  • Knowledge of software usability principles
  • Understanding of testing principles
  • Ability to write and review test cases


Post a Comment