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Business Analysis – Roles

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The role of a business analyst in an IT Project can be multi–fold. It is possible for project team members to have multiple roles and responsibilities. In some projects, the BA may take on the roles of the Business Intelligence Analyst, Database Designer, Software Quality Assurance Specialist, Tester, and/or Trainer when there are limited resources available.

It is also possible for a Project Coordinator, or an Application Development Lead, or a Developer to take on the role of the Business Analyst in specific projects.

Business Analysis overlaps heavily with analysis of requirements of the business to function as usual and to optimize how they function. Some examples of Business Analysis are −

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  • Creating Business Architecture
  • Preparing a Business Case
  • Conducting Risk assessment
  • Requirements Elicitation
  • Business Process Analysis
  • Documentation of Requirements

Major Roles of a BA

A key role of most business analysts is to liaison between the business and technical developers. Business analysts gets to work together with the business clients to gather/define requirements of a system or process to improve productivity while at the same time working with the technical teams to design and implement the system/process.

As a Contributor

The major responsibility of a BA is to contribute to the development of Business user’s / key users in identifying business problems, needs and functions, understand stakeholders’ concerns and requirements to identify improvement opportunities, and contribute business input for developing the business case for the IT system development project.

As a Facilitator

A Business Analyst is also supposed to facilitate/co-ordinate in the elicitation and analysis of requirements, collaborating and communicating with stakeholders and to manage their expectations and needs, and ensure the requirements are complete, unambiguous and map them to real-time business needs of an organization.

As an Analyst

Another important role would be to assess proposed system and organizational readiness for system implementation and providing support to users and coordinate with IT staff.

To help review and provide inputs to the design of the proposed IT system from the business perspective, resolving issues/conflicts among stakeholders, help organize comprehensive and quality UAT through assisting users in developing test cases, and help organize training with the aim of ensuring the deployed IT system which is capable of meeting business needs and requirements as well as realizing the anticipated benefits.

Planning and monitoring the Business analysis activities for scope development, schedule and approach for performing the activities related to business analysis for the IT system development project, monitor the progress, coordinating with the Internal Project manager and report on revenue, profitability, risks and issues wherever appropriate.

Key Responsibilities of a Business Analyst

The responsibility set of a business analyst would require him to fulfill different duties in different phases of a project and they are elucidated below −

Initiation Phase

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This phase will mark the beginning of a new project and a business analyst will vary out the following responsibilities −

  • Assist in carrying out the cost-benefit analysis of the project.
  • Understand the business case.
  • Ascertain the feasibility of the solution/project/product.
  • Help in creating the project charter.
  • Identify the stakeholders in the project.

Planning Phase

This phase will involve gathering the requirements and planning, how the project will be executed and managed. His responsibilities will include the below functions −

  • Eliciting the requirements
  • Analyze, organize and document requirements.
  • Manage requirements by creating Use-cases, RTM, BRD, SRS, etc.
  • Assess proposed solutions.
  • Liaise and enhance communications with stakeholders.
  • Assist in formulating the project management plans.
  • Help in finding the project’s scope, constraints, assumptions and risks.
  • Assist in designing the user experience of the solution.

Executing Phase

This phase marks the development of the solution as per the requirements gathered. The responsibilities include −

  • Explain requirements to the IT/development team.
  • Clarify doubts, concerns regarding the proposed solution to be developed.
  • Discuss and prioritize project scope changes and gain agreement.
  • Create beta tests scripts for initial testing.
  • Sharing the developing modules with stakeholders and solicit their feedback.
  • Following deadlines and manage stakeholder’s expectations.
  • Resolving conflicts and manage communications with the project team.

Monitoring and Controlling Phase

In this phase, the project is measured and controlled for any deviations from the initial plans. This phase runs simultaneously to the execution phase.

  • Developing test scripts and conducting comprehensive module and integration testing.
  • Conducting UAT (use acceptance testing) and creating testing reports.
  • Gain acceptance/approval of the deliverables from the client.
  • Explain the change requests to the development team.
  • Monitor the development of the change requests and verify their implementation as per the project’s objective.

Closing Phase

This phase marks the closure of the project. The responsibilities are −

  • Presenting the completed project to the client and gain their acceptance.
  • Create user-training manuals, any functional material and other instructional guides.
  • Conduct elaborate integration testing in production environment.
  • Create final product documentations, document project lessons learned.

What a BA is Expected to Deliver?

A Business Analyst serves as the bridge between the business users and the technical IT people. Their presence will contribute significantly to the success of IT projects. There are many benefits of having a dedicated business analyst. A dedicated business analyst can −

  • Delivers a clear project scope from a business point of view.
  • Develop sound business cases and more realistic estimation of resources and business benefits.
  • Prepares better reports on project scoping, planning and management in terms of costs and schedule, especially for large-scale IT projects.
  • Produces clear and concise requirements, which in turn, helps provide clearer and more accurate requirements, if the IT project is outsourced.
  • Elicit the real business needs from users and effectively manage user expectations.
  • Improves the quality of design for the proposed IT system so that it meets the user requirements.
  • Ensures the quality of the system developed before passing on to end-users for review and acceptance.
  • Arranges comprehensive quality test on the delivered systems and provide feedback to the technical IT people.

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