Underestimated Team Members: Why You Need a Business Analyst

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Alex Kharkauski
Chief Operating Officer, Geomotiv
Published: Apr 24, 2019

“Developers didn’t do what I wanted!” says the client. “The client didn’t explain what he wanted!” reply the developers. This unfortunate situation takes place only too often. 

It happens so because the client tends to believe that the developers can grasp the idea without any specifications and can easily write ideal code. In real life, however, this approach almost never works. Unfortunately, business owners very seldom understand how the development process flows. And that’s no surprise. It is not their key business and they don’t have to know it. 

That's why development companies generally provide BA services to assist clients in launching their products. If a business owner isn’t really into software development, we're always there to help. Our BAs will “build a bridge” between the customer and the development team. So, let’s see what these people are and why you need them for your project.

What Business Analyst Is

Let’s draw an analogy. If you had a piece of land, you would most likely decide to build a house there. Here the house stands for your project. Then you would obviously look for somebody to actually build it. The point is that if you address construction workers, i.e. software developers, they would expect clear instructions as to what to set up and where. And it is difficult to define the task if you are not familiar with planning, design, and construction work. You will need someone who is familiar with all this stuff and is ready to explore the project details and document them.

It is the job of an architect, or a business analyst in our example. Firstly, he will ask you questions on your expectations, project goals, time-frame, etc. Based on this information, he will set up business specifications containing your requirements and will then get them across to developers making sure they understand them correctly.

Being a BA is like being an architect if you replace the house with a software project. They communicate with the business owner, clarify the project goals, and deliver requirements to developers. And if anything goes wrong during the project, then people would refer to the documents drawn up by the BA. 

What Exactly Business Analyst Does

Once again, BA is a person who, firstly, helps the client decide what they really want. In most cases, business owners may only have a very general idea of the project.

Secondly, the Business Analyst frames this information in a special document called Vision and Scope. What is this document? Well, it's the original project description that consists of two distinct parts. They are Product Vision and Project Scope. The Vision part mostly describes the project current status, client’s needs, and the expected result. The Scope part specifies how exactly the team should implement the Vision part and complete the tasks. It regards deliverables, planned solutions, and product capabilities.

The BA’s task is to make the requirements as specific as possible.

After that the Business Analyst gets a new task to do. Based on the requirements, the BA creates another document called Software Requirements Specification. It describes the software solution to be developed along with both functional and nonfunctional requirements. SRS is written at the start of the project and gets updated if requirements change.

Benefits that Business Analyst Provides

It’s one thing to see who a Business Analyst is and what he does. However, it's still better to know the exact benefits he can deliver to your project: 

  • Fewer errors related to business requirements such as collision or incompleteness;
  • Control over score creep and requirement changes in order to stay within the set timeframe;
  • Less rework and duplication;
  • Less gold plating;
  • Higher efficiency of the development team.

To summarize, the Business Analyst’s job is to pave the way for the project and prevent any ambiguous situations. The BA should clarify every aspect of the future project. This is done to reduce the amount of remakes and minimize change requests where possible. To put it simply, he should know the customer’s needs even better than the customer. 

Business Analyst is Vital

Many business owners consider hiring a BA pointless since they aren’t directly involved in development. Still, the practice of using their services suggests otherwise. The BA is an early-stage investment in the project quality. This person creates a mental model of the project and acts as a task setter for developers. Thus, he helps to reduce the amount of rework related to poorly formulated business requirements. In this case, a desire to cut down the expenses may only increase them in the long run.

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