The Importance of Business Analysis
Without a Business Analysis, web development looks the same as traveling without knowing your final destination. In the case of traveling, this may seem like an incredible adventure while, in business, the risk would not be one worth taking. Before starting with a project estimation, you should clearly understand the goals and imagine the results that you’d like to achieve. Developers are not oracles and have no way of knowing exactly what it is you want.
Business analysts are responsible for bridging the gap between IT and the business using data analytics to assess processes, determine requirements and deliver data-driven recommendations and reports to executives and stakeholders.
The maximum amount of efficiency that a BA can add to a project team is often overlooked. While the development team defines the technical solution, the BA provides timely information, clarifies questions, eliminates obstacles and roadblocks and ensures the technical solution is progressing and moving towards meeting the stakeholder’s expectations. Developers are grateful when their project team includes an experienced BA.Many developers or coders want to do just that…code. It is not productive to have developers participate in lengthy requirement discussions. Developers or individuals with a technical background sometimes speak in technical terms or want to design a solution before knowing the full scope of requirements. This often causes some confusion or disconnect with the business users. The BA understands the level of detail needed for developers to be able to bridge that gap between business requirements and technical requirements. The development team is fully capable of working with the business users to clarify requirements but this can cause inefficiencies, project delays, and rework. Projects are more successful when the development team can focus on architecting the technical solution and completing their development tasks.
Why is BA important?
Traditionally, in our technology driven business world, a large proportion of the changes and optimizations relate to software systems – and so teams in the organization responsible for creating, maintaining and delivering IT systems, are a primary focus. Conventionally, this has proven to be a difficult relationship, with challenging communication issues or mis-interpretations that often lead to wasted effort or scrapped projects. According to The Standish Group, this mis-communication can result in as much as 40% of the overall effort being wasted, on average.
What does a Business Analyst do?
What is often overlooked, however, is how a good business analyst maximizes the efficiency of the project team. While the development team works to define the technical direction and build the solution features, the business analyst works behind the scenes to provide timely information, clarify questions, remove roadblocks and ensure functional development is moving the project toward a successful conclusion.
For many customers, a software project can be very overwhelming. Often times, the customer is working to successfully complete the project on time and within budget, along with managing their everyday work obligations. Early in my career, I was always told “you are the voice of the business user”. A BA will serve as an advocate for the business users to limit the impact of their absence on the project. There are often multiple business users impacted by system changes and one may feel their business needs should take priority over the other. It is the role of the BA to successfully represent all business users and to ensure all opinions are heard, considered and represented when the users are not available to represent themselves. The BA is the main point of contact for the business users which enables the project manager and technical staff to focus on their task and the overall project goals.