How To Become It Business Analyst – “Why is business analytics so important?” – In fact, some software projects can go without business analysis, but they can take an unexpectedly long time.
In this article, I explain the role of a business analyst at each stage of a software project and share ideas on how to be a successful business analyst.
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Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), considered the best in preparing IT professionals, collected the following statistics about the impact of business analysts on projects:
How To Become A Business Analyst
Soft skills are essential for an IT business analyst as such work involves a lot of interaction with customers and development teams. Here is a list of soft skills that I consider important:
For those early in their BA career, the best way to acquire soft skills is through real-life practice. Theoretical knowledge can be useful, and some books I recommend to get that knowledge are:
Presale is the pre-contractual stage of the project. This is the time when the client explains the business idea to the project team, asks questions, and decides whether the company meets expectations.
The current role of a business analyst is to find high-level requirements, find out who your customers are, understand their position, and predict BA activities for a future project. There are also marketing managers and technology experts who discuss with customers, recommend the best technology solutions, and provide estimates of the development stage.
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RFP – Request for Proposal is a document provided by a customer or marketing manager based on information received from the customer. The document should include a brief description of the business vision, key activities and future product features, terms and budget.
If the current information does not show the full picture, and we cannot answer many of the questions above, it is recommended to ask the client additional questions. Here is an example:
Business analysis should be estimated like any other project activity. It is required for the client in the budget planning and the company for the best distribution of the group. Business analysts use two common forecasting methods:
ROM (Rough Order of Magnitude) estimates are very useful when a potential buyer is deciding on next steps. The error of such an estimate ranges from -25% to +75%.
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A Definitive Estimate, which is usually requested during the development phase. The error here varies from -10% to +10%.
Design – If any design is available, BA professionals can identify unique screens and establish the time required to define each screen. – If there is no plan, BA experts can divide the project into modules and estimate the unique characteristics of each module.
Communication time It is important to consider the time spent communicating with the client and the team when defining requirements. A good practice is to record the time to separate tasks which helps to compare the estimated time spent with the actual time spent.
Risks BA experts allocate 10-15% of the total estimate to unexpected situations such as clarifying unclear requirements or waiting a long time for the customer’s response.
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The role of the business analyst at this stage is to interview the client, verify and analyze the project’s needs, provide ideas, analyze the client’s domain, find killer signs, and create a complete vision of the project.
You can read more about these documents in our article Business Checklist for Software Development Projects.
The main goal of the UI / UX Design and Prototyping phase is to create a visual representation and user interaction for the future product. The effectiveness of the results depends on how well the designer and the business analyst understand the needs, strengths and limitations of the users. It is equally important to consider business goals and project goals when making the UX/UI part of a future product.
The role of a business analyst is to focus on the overall goal of the project and consider the UX design before creating the UI.
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Artifacts are wireframes, mockups and prototypes. Depending on the project, business analysts can create these tools with UI / UX designers or themselves.
Wireframes are basic diagrams of a product’s interface that schematically show its layout and define the placement of images, text, buttons, tabs, header, footer, etc. This artifact is not a ready-to-use design that can be changed or deleted. It’s a rough look that should clearly show the concept of the future product.
A mockup is a clear image of a future product. They include multiple color schemes, visual styles, and fonts. This product can be introduced by designers and business analysts, depending on the situation.
A prototype is a high-level description of the final product interface that simulates user interaction. It’s a clickable product prototype that fully demonstrates which user actions lead to which product.
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It is important to understand that the efforts made by business analysts and designers must work together. While a business analyst is responsible for the future business logic of a product, a UX/UI designer maintains user expectations through visualization techniques.
Software development is one of the most time- and budget-consuming steps during a project. Close attention to detail and analytical skills are required. Clarity and detail allows for streamlining the development process and reducing the need for changes along the way.
The business analyst’s role here is to define the behavior of the software system, create and manage project documentation, and support the adequacy of requirements. The BA workflow here may vary depending on the project. Generally, business analysts choose one of the following two strategies:
User Stories are short descriptions of pieces of functionality from the user’s perspective, where user roles include not only end users but also administrator, editor, moderator, writer, and others. The template is as follows:
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User Stories are often supported by acceptance criteria that serve as metrics for the expected outcome. These are simply statements that describe exactly what needs to be done to meet the needs of the users. For example:
A Use Case is a description of how the user (player) will interact with the system in the future. It describes how the system is expected to behave in response to specific user actions.
A Scenario is a list of interactions and processes aimed at achieving a user’s goal and the result of responding to the user’s actions.
The next big thing in business analytics is graphics. We usually do Case and BPMN diagrams. The main purpose of these diagrams is a visual description of system behavior that is understandable to clients and the software development team.
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A Case Diagram is a visual representation of expected behavior. It is a modeling technique that helps business analysts conceptualize system behavior from the user’s perspective, and translate it into operational solutions and development priorities. Here is an example:
A BPMN diagram is a visual representation of the workflow of business processes. BPMN serves as a Business Process Modeling Framework that is a standard modeling language that is understandable to most non-technical stakeholders and software developers.
Non-functional requirements (NFR) describe the quality of software functionality. In short, the NFR document contains specific descriptions of software components designed to ensure:
Business analysts often use the ISO 25010 standard model for software development requirements. An example of an NFR might sound like this:
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A Software Requirements Specification (SRS) is a set of documents that contain a complete description of the features, behavior, environment and purpose of the software being developed. It can be in any format and contain any type of requirements, depending on who created it, development method, project standards, etc. Here are some examples of SRS components:
As for the tools used to create SRS documents, we often use Confluence, as it helps to create organized page lists and use macros and formatting features. But it is possible to create SRS in Google Docs.
The role of BA professionals here is to provide consultation and context for any part of the requirements that help to understand how the system is expected to work.
Business analysts should also update the requirements when there are any changes and monitor their importance. When the project team presents the demo to the product owner, business analysts are also directly involved in the process.
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In the release phase, business analysts manage the implementation of the expected work, provide support to the project team, and prepare the appropriate SRS documents for delivery to the product owner.
Apart from the main activities of BA during the project cycle, it is also good to do SWOT analysis and Gap analysis. These types of analysis help to compare the current result with the planned strategy, and find out if the product is being developed in the right way. They are not 100% necessary, but in some cases, they can help keep the project on track.
A SWOT analysis can be used in BA work to assess the current state of a project or product. It is used to determine what the actual situation is from an outside perspective. It is a framework that includes the following test features:
Gap analysis is the discovery of potential targets by evaluating whether or not the currently developed functionality meets the needs of the business. Gap analysis involves four general steps:
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