Generally, the work of a business analyst (BA) cum a system analyst, project manager, requirement engineer or requirement analyst revolves around acting as a channel between the team and the stakeholders. But, their duties aren’t limited to performing just one task. Instead, they are required to wear different hats that can enable them to solve a wide range of problems. To enable this, they ought to possess different skills. These include:
Mathematical: These skills are basically geared towards enabling them compare a business’ past facts and figures with the current ones. In addition to this, they are required to examine the stakeholders’ information and assess the risks that may be associated with their investment prospects or programs. By doing this, they will end up being able to predict the business’ future trends – the losses and profits.
Communication: Since a BA is required to research and find the various needs of the management, s/he ought to possess good communication skills. This is because a good and objective speaker and listener is more capable of communicating with both the stakeholders and the team. As a result, s/he will make new discoveries that will help find workable solutions.
Negotiation: It’s important that a business analyst have good negotiation skills so that he can negotiate with different departments within a business. That way, each department’s strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats will be identified hence, be used towards bringing the departments together for the overall well-being of the business. This is best done by them building good rapport with both the stakeholders and the heads of departments in order to bring the teams together.
Other tasks performed by business analysts include:
- Forging relationships with external forces. The purpose of these relationships is to enable the business acquire services that will enable it complete its projects.
- Centralizing the company services so as to make the working environment and the tasks at hand more efficient and effective.
- Getting rid of duplication processes that may be currently occurring within the different departments.
As such, a business analyst is mandated to be visionary – be able to think out of the box, be tech savvy – has to be knowledgeable of the latest technological advancements and, be capable of telling the difference between a company’s needs and wants. All this is geared towards making the business in question stay ahead of its competitors.
So What Does a Business Analyst Do?
In a nutshell, the duties and responsibilities of a business analyst are divided in five phases:
a) Initiation: During this phase, the BA identifies problems within the business and works towards finding solutions. From this, a business case is created. The business case shows how the problem(s) is being tackled, how much it’ll cost and how the business will benefit after the problem has been tackled.
b) Analysis: This phase takes a look into creation of an architect’s design regarding how the solutions to the problem(s) should look like. Then, the BA takes the responsibility of ensuring that the design chosen is guaranteed of delivering solutions to the problems currently being faced by the company.
c) Development: Being the most challenging phase, the business analyst sets up meetings with the development team to enable him/her to execute the right solutions to the identified problems. Also, s/he has to keep her/his ears open so as to prevent the business case from deviating from its course.
d) Testing: During the testing phase, the BA tests the business case while also looking for any bugs/defects that may result and, coming up with ways to get them fixed amicably.
e) Implementation: Being the last phase, a business analyst is required to launch and check how the new system is being adopted. While doing this, s/he ought to focus on the positives associated with the business case as well the negatives, if any.
Based on all this, it’s evident that the no single term or phrase can be used to explain what a business analyst does. However, to ease your understanding, you can define a business analyst as a professional who’s responsible for determining the company’s project goals, coming up with ways to achieve them, managing any changes associated with these goals and ensuring that all deliverables remain aligned to the goal(s).