Why do I need a Business Analysis (BA)? Many business owners ask this when reviewing a comprehensive quotation from a software development agency. This and other questions are answered in this article, including what it is, when it’s needed, and the role of Business Analysis in software development.
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What is Business Analysis?
It’s tough enough to define Business Analysis since it’s a wide discipline with many objectives. Consider two ideas offered by the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) and the Project Management Institute (PMI) to better grasp what business analysis entails.
According to the IIBA, “Business Analysis is the practice of enabling change in an organizational context, by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders”. PMI, on the other hand, has a somewhat different definition. They describe business analysis as the use of information, skills, and methods to identify issues and solutions in order to satisfy company demands and manage stakeholder requirements to enable the effective execution of a project concept.
These two definitions are almost similar in essence. However, IIBA stresses the BA’s role in bringing about change in the organizational context, while PMI concentrates on establishing customer needs. We agree with both of the above points of view. At CodeStringers, we think that Business Analysis serves as a bridge between the development team and the client, aiming to provide unique solutions to suit the customers’ requirements and profitability.
Why Does Business Analysis matter in software development?
Software development process
To grasp the function of the BA in software development, we should first review the typical software development process. We’ve fine-tuned our agile development methods – Scrum and Kanban – to maximize team velocity, deliver superior quality, and enable the iteration that great software requires. Six steps are included in the software development process at CodeStringers:
- Ideate: Understand your problems and needs through a series of workshops with stakeholders who articulate requirements and their value
- Plan: Draft user stories (feature requirements), wireframe (low fidelity screen designs), evaluate user journeys, and style user interfaces
- Architect: Select technologies, design architecture, estimate effort and duration, recommend team structure, and establish a budget
- Develop: Build the application services and clients including database, API/web services, web and mobile client applications using Agile methodology (Scrum or Kanban)
- Operationalize: Configure production environment, deploy application, host and manage, and rollout to the organization and/or end-customers
- Iterate: Great software is the result of iteration based on user feedback and expanding and improving functionality and experience
The role of Business Analysis in software development
BAs will have differing levels of engagement and scope of work in line with the stages of software development.
Ideate stage: A BA evaluates the product’s market potential and ways to achieve it at this stage, working closely with a solution architect and a UX researcher.
- Investigating business issues. The BA analyzes the owner’s major causes of pain, as well as the market gap. These concerns will be reflected in the initial technical proposal as well as commercial requirements.
- Generating a business value estimate. The primary wireframes are generally influenced by understanding the product’s trajectory and the projected market niche. This activity also entails determining how a future product will connect with its intended audience and how it will be monetized.
- Preparing nonfunctional requirements. The BA creates the description of how the system is and specifies the functionality’s limitations. They incorporate the system’s quality attributes, such as usability, security, dependability, performance, availability, and scalability, while creating this documentation.
- Drafting functional requirements. Functional requirements must also be properly documented by a BA. These are the features that engineers build into products to help users meet their needs.
- Creating the main backlog. The project’s broad outline is already in place in terms. A BA ensures that all of the previously stated business elements are reflected on the to-do list.
Plan and Architect stages: These are the stages in which the future product team has already done much preliminary study. When comparing the entire scope to the expected business values, the BA plays an important role.
- Story mapping. This is one of the essential responsibilities of the BA. Several decision-makers, including the product/project manager, stakeholders, UX designers, and development team members, are involved in the story mapping process. However, BA ensures that a supposed user flow matches the approved business values.
- Developing acceptance criteria. These are the criteria used to assess if a feature meets the needs of both stakeholders and end-users. A product manager and a BA share this duty.
- Prioritizing backlog items. A BA can assist in determining which cluster of tasks is more essential or relevant from a business point of view.
Develop stage: The business analyst’s responsibility in this stage is to ensure that the development aligns with the previously approved business values and criteria.
- Setting up preparation activities. The BA observes the whole pre-development phase to ensure that each sprint is scheduled in line with the agreed requirements and objectives.
- Tracking the development process. Although the BA does not work directly with developers, they attend daily Scrum and Standup sessions to ensure that all business needs are met.
Operationalize and Iterate stage: During these stages, the BA’s responsibilities include receiving customer feedback and analyzing the results to determine where improvements may be made.
- Collecting and analyzing customer feedback. There are still some improvements to be done. One of the BA’s tasks is identifying the final product’s strengths and weaknesses from a business standpoint.
- Making the plan for the next backlog. The BA shapes the business issues to enhance, alter, complete, or delete based on customer feedback.
Benefits of Business Analysis
Reduce the cost of development. Although a business analyst isn’t directly responsible for a project’s finances, they may impact the cost by clearly outlining requirements and reducing rework.
Release products on time. A business analyst prepares a plan that details each step and the time required to complete it. This allows us to manage our time better and ensures the delivery time of a high-quality product.
Solve problems effectively. A business analyst’s primary responsibility is to discover solutions to the problems of stakeholders. It is critical to identify requirements and needs in this regard. However, needs may change during the development process. If this occurs, a business analyst must review the requirements and objectives of stakeholders and propose appropriate solutions.
Business Analysis, as you can see, is a crucial part of software development. The advantages of having a BA on the project team are frequently larger than the expenses. We highly encourage our clients not to skip this part, as it might result in severe effects that we will cover in more detail in future articles.