Business Analyst in IT: How To Stop Spending More With BA
Tough competition in the software outsourcing and product market makes companies reduce their costs on R&D. They buy time-saving software that increases team performance, and they hire multitasking managers. This improves office conditions and offers the best work situation, allowing them to grab and hold onto the best employees from the market.
Such solutions decrease staff liquidity and save the company money. At the same time, they make the business more competitive with their pricing.
During the competition marathon, inexperienced companies hire fewer people. The problem is that such businesses might have tasks that those employees cannot cover efficiently. These decisions can harm the company’s future and cost them more money in the long run.
Why does it happen? Let’s consider the next points and create a successful formula to avoid this problem.
- A - Each employee has to do their direct job. Even if they are an expert in many areas, the primary tasks should be their main focus.
- B - Everybody has to know their primary job and tasks.
- C - To make a client happy, you, as a service provider, have to meet their expectations. That is still true if those expectations are hidden or they haven’t been made clear to you.
- D – The work process should be convenient for each employee (including the atmosphere, salary, team spirit, office conditions, etc.)
Success= Expenses/(A*B*C*D*) where all the coefficients vary from 0 to 1, and expenses mean all the money a company spent on maintenance of organizational needs.
Now, let’s apply the formula to an organization, where:
The number of developers, QA, UX/UI: 10 Total, then: Success= Expenses/(A10*B10*C*D)
It’s not expensive to maintain A or B for each employee, but much more complicated for the whole team or organization.
What Does a Business Analyst Do?
Each organization has to keep a close eye on factors that can affect the whole team or company.
Some of those factors are people:
- Project Manager
- Head of Department
- Business Analyst
Another factor would be all the positions involved in direct communication with the development team or other departments and affecting each employee.
The schema demonstrates normal collaboration set up within the team (secondary connections are not provided) and sets up when the analyst is missed.
The state without a business analyst is chaotic and affects each employee.
What if the absence of an analyst if affecting each employee the equivalent of 2%?
Let’s calculate and compare:
Happy Pass: Success=Expenses/ (110*110*1*1), then Success=Expenses
Affected State: Success=Expenses/ (0.9810*0.9810*0.98*0.98)
To reach the same success level, you would have to spend 1.5X more money
What if an employee is overloaded?
The diagram demonstrates how negative overload affects negatively each employee’s performance and engagement. Each employee is an organizational cell, meaning that they affect it more or less.
Why a Business Analyst Is Not a Product Manager or a Project Manager?
We shall endeavor to explain the business analyst's meaning. If you were uncertain about some element of business analyst software development, this should answer all your questions.
No business analyst job description would be complete without explaining how these three positions work together. Sometimes, all three individuals come from similar backgrounds and have equivalent knowledge. However, all of them focus on different areas, even if their overall goal is the same.
By combining those roles, a company misses huge opportunities, mainly in the areas of financial gain and client satisfaction. This affects the whole team, and negative consequences will soon appear.
Let’s discuss the differences between the IT business analyst, product manager, and project manager, and why each role requires different responsibilities and should not be combined into one position in the agile software development team structure.
Project Manager vs. Business Analyst
Project managers are mainly responsible for the initiation, planning and execution of a project, and successful closure or maintenance. They must also define the project while managing tasks. It is within their purview to build a team that will perform the work.
Business analysts are more focused on the end product results that should meet business objectives. The role of BA is to get the client’s demands, assess the client’s business model and market needs and competition, and transform that into technical requirements for future product development. They also measure future business value from that and ensure that the end products will satisfy the client in every way.
Business Analyst vs. Product Manager
You could think of a product manager as the executive manager on that project. Often this role takes place more on the client’s side in case of outsourcing the project development.
Product owners (as they are sometimes called) build and control the execution of the product roadmap and strategy. They coordinate all communication between marketing, sales, development teams, and forecasting as well in some cases. Their area includes measurements of the product’s profit and loss (P&L) and overall responsibilities for the product.
While, again, business analyst responsibilities are almost focused on clients aka business objectives. They present these needs to the engineering team in the same language aka in tech documentation and wireframes and ensure that all business requirements are met during the entire development stage.
How Business Analysts, Product Managers, and Project Managers Work Together
A business analyst works closely with the Project manager and Product managers in order to coordinate the client’s demands and engineering teamwork. It is their job to make sure the requirements are defined and understood so that the software team can build according to them.
Role of IT Business Analyst in Software Development Process
Okay, now, you should have some understanding of the IT business analyst’s key responsibilities. Let’s go into more detail as to the scope of responsibilities and tasks the BA has during different development process stages. That will reveal why it’s so critical to engage a BA if you haven’t thought one was necessary before.
Planning & Research Phase
The planning phase is when you begin the journey toward bringing a new product to market. This is an exploratory process, during which the software BA makes a rough estimate of the volume of future efforts.
Here the first communication between clients and BA takes place. At this point, the business analyst assesses the client’s business model, market, and competitors and figures out what pain point the business owner or potential users of the product have.
The business analyst looks at a market gap that they are trying to fill and analyzes the market and existing competitors' solutions if they are. In simple terms, BA validates your application or software business idea and adjusts it if it is necessary.
These observations will end up being reflected in business requirements and the initial technical offer.
At this stage, BA collaborates closely with a UX researcher and a solution architect. Together, they study the product’s market potential, the needed functionalities, and tech stack to build on the platform.
Nonfunctional & Functional Requirements Preparation
After the business and market analysis, there should be a clear understanding of the product’s course.
- User Research & Mapping
Now, technical business analysts along with UX research start the first step in the UX design process. They create customers’ journeys or user stories. That is a description of features from the point of view of the end-user along with all cases of how users will use the future product.
This is another vital stage where things can go awry if you don’t have a BA steering the project in the right direction. BA is exactly that person who ensures that a supposed user flow matches the business value that was previously approved.
After user mapping, business analysts together with UX researchers put all the data from audience research and journey to construct the primary wireframes. These are like visualized concepts of how the system elements should interact with one another.
- Specifications documenting
Next, the BA will describe how the system should behave. The constraints of its functionality should also be established. When drafting this sort of documentation, a business analyst must think about the system’s quality attributes. Those would include security, usability, performance, reliability, availability, and scalability.
The documentation should reflect what engineers should implement that meet users’ needs.
This is a critical role of the business analyst for any type of product.
The deliverables at this stage are research, wireframes, and specifications.
Creating Product Backlog
By this point, the BA together with the PM create sprints backlog e.g. the tasks list for each sprint depending on the priority of the task. They’ll ensure that all business aspects that were discussed earlier have been achieved up to that point.
The business analyst helps assess which clusters of tasks are most relevant from the business point of view.
The deliverable at this point is a documented backlog.
Design Development Phase
This is an area where the presence of a BA is also vital. A business analyst works with UX/UI designers to develop design according to wireframes while meeting the business and users’ needs and creating exciting UX. Samely he or she should make sure all that functionalities will be possible to be developed by engineers.
This is the stage when the software development process starts. The role of the business analyst is to make sure that the development falls in line with approved business requirements and specifications.
While the BAs do not work with developers closely but they watch over the development process on Scrum and Standup meetings (if you run the project under Scrum software development methodology) ensuring all requirements are met.
The deliverable for this phase comes in the form of a released business software product.
This is typically considered the phase where improvements and necessary changes happen. The BA’s responsibilities for this stage include the gathering of customer feedback regarding the software, or whatever else has been produced.
They compare the outcome with the supposed business value. If there is any room for improvement, they identify it and advise on how to accomplish it.
Gathering Users’ Feedback
Another BA responsibility is uncovering the strengths and weaknesses of the finished product from a business standpoint.
Delivering the Next Backlog
Based on the received feedback, the BA will now shape the volume of business issues that need improvement. They can recommend changes, including the removal of unwanted elements.
This is how the backlog for the new development round comes into focus. The deliverable will be an improved business software product.
Summing up, here is a quick visual overview of business analyst tasks on a software development project:
Benefits of Having a Business Analyst in Your Team
Hopefully, you now understand that the BA role is necessary if you want product development to go smoothly. Here are the top reasons why you need business analysis to involve in your team and how it matters for your project success.
- Technical Requirements Become Clear, the Dev Team Works More Effectively
Your BA can dedicate the time to making your business objectives and needs clear and precise. Your financial backers will appreciate that.
The technical requirements will become clearer. Also, there will be less of a chance that your dev team will get frustrated with the development plan. The chances of delays for the finished product will be much lower.
- Your BA Can Save Your Time
Clearer project requirements are to your advantage, and that’s something else a BA can do for you. If your BA knows that they are doing, then you won’t have to waste time explaining to the devs what needs to be changed.
If developers have to make fewer changes, they can more rapidly finish building the product. That means your company and investors will see a profit sooner.
- Lower Development Costs
If requirements are set and less time is needed for implementing changes, you’ll save on development costs and avoid unforeseen expenses. You do not want to be in a position where you have to make numerous changes to the product, nor do you want to postpone the launch.
With a BA in place, your initial budget has a better chance of staying intact.
- You Know What Needs Your Product Is Meant to Satisfy
Your business analyst can be sure of having pinpointed your target audience. By meeting their needs with your product, you have much less chance of losing money or even going bankrupt.
- There is Less Stress in Communication, and Your Team’s Attitude is Healthier
Project development can be hassle-free with the assistance of a BA. They can help everyone get on the same page, including product testers, developers, the product owner, and the project manager.
Business analysis is a tool for working out even the tiniest details before the project begins. The risk of misunderstandings during development decreases dramatically. That’s why BA is a critical role for a healthy and productive work environment as for in-house or for the distributed team you manage.
Create the BA Role Your Team Needs
So, a business analyst is essential to team player for any development team and for the type of project of any complexity and industry.
Still, it is crucial to understand in time when you are ready to hire a business analyst.
Btw, reach out to us if you have any questions on this subject or your future product. We have extensive expertise in a wide range of software development services for different types of projects, and industries. Hence, thanks to such experience our BA team can make a personalized quote for your project taking into account market and tech trends.
Anyway, in spite of what you decide, investing in a product nobody wants to use or hiring a BA before development starts is up to you as only you define your project success.