Most persons believe that software engineers or developers are the only experts required to create software. This is because they are responsible for writing lines of codes that bring the dreams of clients to reality. However, there’s a big gap between developers and clients because they both think on extremely different levels.
Programmers think about how software should work and the methods that can help them to get the desired product functionality. On the other hand, clients think about their company goals and how the product will help in achieving them.
Therefore, to make sure that developers create products that match the exact needs of clients, business analysts must be involved in the process. You can visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_development_process to learn about the processes involved in software development.
What Do Business Analysts Do?
Business analysts, in software development, are intermediaries between developers and clients, helping both parties understand each other’s goals better. They translate the company goals into requirements that the developers follow. The key components of this role are as follows:
Evaluating the Client’s Request
Generally, analysts start working on a client’s request before the sale stage. They team up with the technical specialists and sales managers to determine the kind of solution that will serve the client best. They also consider the level of work required.
To achieve these, analysts must clearly understand the specific challenge that the solution is expected to fix for the client. This information serves as the baseline for creating a “Scope and Vision” document, which specifies the priorities and goals of the client’s company. It also outlines the major function of the solution, as well as the stakeholders involved.
Elicitation of Requirements
The project’s success depends on the clarity of requirements. The requirements spell out the solution’s functionality in solving company goals and that of the product’s end users. Also, they specify the conditions or standards the developers will comply with.
Business analysts should consider the following questions when gathering requirements:
- Will the solution benefit the company?
- What are the priorities of end-users?
- What peculiar features of the company should be considered?
To put these requirements together, analysts must communicate directly with the stakeholders from the client’s side. They could be CEOs, managers, field experts, project sponsors, and/or users. Analysts can also use methods like questionnaires or user polls to identify the key requirements. Additionally, they may spend time at the physical business site of the client to evaluate and take note of the company’s processes that the solution will complement or support.
They can systemize the information they obtained by modeling business processes using graphical means such as maps, diagrams, and tables. They often use UML (Unified Modeling Language) or BPMN (Business Process Management Notation).
BPMN allows them to graphically display a complex process and all its components, like the order process in a retail business, as a chain of conditions and events. With this model, both parties can identify chances of automating the processes. You can read this article to learn more about the difference between UML and BPMN.
Analyzing and Approving the Requirements
After working on the requirements, business analysts will discuss with the entire team, which includes project managers, quality assurance personnel, designers, and development engineers. These specialists will use their experience to point out gaps or discrepancies in the listed requirements.
As soon as everything is fixed, the analysts ensure that the team can deliver the solution using the available resources and within a specific timeline. The team will work together to define how to prioritize the functionalities. Also, the analysts and the lead software developer or architect may further create subsystems out of the requirements. When this stage is over, business analysts will hand over the document to the client for approval.
Prototyping is important because it allows clients to get a better view of the solution, how it feels and looks. Business analysts don’t design the actual product; rather they create screen mock-ups, showing the major functionalities.
They use programs like Atomic, Sketch, and Axure to create these mock-ups such that they are intractable. The prototypes enable users to move between screens. They also have clickable buttons.
Specification of Software Requirements
The document containing each requirement for the project is used to plan the development process. This document contains a description of each functionality and option that the final product should contain. If the product is for a regulated niche such as insurance or healthcare, the document considers the regulations and standards of the industry.
Furthermore, after completing the pre-development stage, business analysts continue communicating with the software development team. They do so to keep the clients informed of the project’s progress and any additional feature request or evolving requirements. Business analysts are also on standby in case developers need further elaboration on the initial requirements.
Business analysts play significant roles in bringing products to the limelight. As they gather new information about the project, they include it in the developer’s task backlog and document each item, as well as track the project’s progress. You can check out business analysis services to find business analysts that can pull you through your next project without hassles.
Clients are professionals in their different industries while software developers are professionals in software development. However, business analysts help to bridge the gaps between both parties, ensuring that they work toward one vision. Hence, they play very important roles in software development.