Who is a Business Analyst? Roles & Responsibilities

So what really is the role of a Business Analyst?. A business analyst is nothing but a translator. He translates the Business Requirements from the client/business team into a language understood by the tech guys i.e. software development teams.

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A business analyst plays a pivotal role in an any IT Organisation. Business Analyst is the person who bridges gap between IT Software Development Team and IT Business Development Team. For you to to understand the role of a Business Analyst, you should first understand structure of a typical IT Company.

Typical Structure of a IT Project Teams

Let me first quicly walk you through this structure of a an IT company. An IT company typically comprises of following sections:1. Client

  1. Client : The one who pays for the project/product
  2. Business Development Team/Sales Team : Team directly responsible for new client acquisition
  3. Project Manager/Product Manager : Person who looks after overall project/product life cycle management
  4. Business Analyst : Coordinator between various business and development stakeholders
  5. Team Leader/Program Lead – Leads the software development team
  6. Software Development Team – Team of software developers
Fig.1 Typical IT Project Teams Structure

As you can see in above structure, Business Analyst is in the middle with Business Team on one hand and software team on the other hand. Business team is directly responsible for new client acquisition. While software team is directly responsible to undertake software development as per set guidelines and plan. There is also higher managers such as Project Managers/Product Mangers who look after overall project/product life cycle.

Business Analyst the Translator

So what is really is the role of a Business Analyst?. A business analyst is nothing but a translator. He translates the Business Requirements from the client/business team into a language understood by the tech guys i.e. software development teams.

At the start of any IT project development the client, business team, and project manager/product managers provide broad vision of the project. They provide broader business requirements which needs to be converted into software solutions. Most of the times the business requirements are nothing but the problems that end users/customers face in their daily life. Business team wants to provide solution to these problems through a sophisticated software / app.

On the other hand there is a software development team who are trained into various software development technologies and programming languages. They know who how to develop a software program which will comprise various inter-connected modules to function together governed by various business rules.

While business team speaks the language of problem statements and software team speaks in technical language. Here comes the Business Analyst who bridges the gap between these two teams. Business Analyst in very simplistic term is nothing but a translator who translates the business requirements into software requirements.

Broad Responsibilities of a Business Analyst

Typically a business analyst is involved in each and every step of a Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). Being a central figure in overall SDLC, business analyst role is very broad.

  1. Participate in brainstorming sessions with business team to identify problems/opportunities
  2. Understand broad vision of project and help them to break it down into smaller business processes
  3. Understand the scope of work and related timelines
  4. Help business team to understand best possible solutions for their requirements
  5. Finalize the requirements and timelines with business team
  6. Convert business requirements in business processes with relevant business rules
  7. Break broad requirements in smaller software modules and functions and outline relationships between various software modules/functions
  8. Prepare a Business Requirement Document (BRD) and seek approval from business teams
  9. Prepare a Software Requirements Document (SRD) bases on the business requirements
  10. Help software team understand the broader business requirements
  11. Plan software development activities keeping in mind project deadlines
  12. Engage with software development teams at each level of software development activity
  13. Coordinate with software testing team to complete User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
  14. Produce and maintain project/product documentation at each stage of software development life cycle (SDLC)
  15. Arrange intermediate and final demo of software solutions for business team/clients and other stakeholders
  16. Stakeholder management on daily basis while coordinating with various stakeholders involved in the project
  17. Undertake daily communications with various stakeholders involved in the project
  18. Track and measure the outcome and pace of software development activities and intervene wherever necessary to keep the project on track and aligned to the project deadlines

What is a IT Business Analyst

Sometimes Business Analysts can also be of two types

  1. Business Analyst
  2. IT Business Analyst

A typical Business Analyst is generally nearer to business team than the software team. He is like a Subject Matter Expert (SME) who has the thorough experience and knowledge of the domain in which company is working in. He sometimes undertakes the research in the domain and identify latest industry trends and provide direction to the business team for future. He understand broader goals of the company and industry trends and help the managers to develop a long term strategy for the project/product.

IT Business Analyst on the other hand is more inclined towards the Software Team . He typically converts the business requirements into Software Requirements. IT Business Analysts defines various business processes and defines the business rules which govern them. IT Business Analyst helps Software Development team to identify best possible software development model. He helps the software team to divide total work in smaller chunks/sprints and sets the priorities of various business requirements.

IT Business analyst is also involved in identifying suitable IT Infrastructure for successful deployment and running of the project. Under IT Infrastructure typical hardware and network infrastructure essential to host any software solution.

Business Analyst Roles

As already explained above Business Analyst is everywhere in a typical SDLC. So in the due process, Business Analyst has to don various hats.

  • Business Requirement Analyst
  • Business Process Analyst
  • Systems Analyst
  • Data Analyst
  • Data Visualizer
  • User Experience Analyst

Many organizations these days appoints specialized persons for some of the above roles based on requirement of that particular project. Many a times there is a team of Business Analysts working on a large project who are divided among above roles. In such cases there is also a Lead Business Analyst or Senior Business Analyst who leads the team of Business Analysts.

Business Analyst Certifications

Typical Business Analyst in an IT Company is a very broad role. Typically it is given to a person who has good experience of working in the similar business domain for at least 4-5 years. Anyone who wants to learn and establish career as Business Analyst can go for various online certifications from typical eLearning Platforms such as Udemy, Courseera etc.

There are also some internationally recognized certifications. Many industries these days seek for candidates having these certifications to work as Business Analyst in their organization. These certifications are provided by international organizations such as IIBA, IQBBA, IREB and PMI.

Popular Business Analyst Certification Programs:

  • IIBA Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA)
  • IIBA Certification of Competency in Business Analysis (CCBA)
  • IIBA Certified Business Analyst Professional (CBAP)
  • IIBA Agile Analysis Certification (AAC)
  • IQBBA Certified Foundation Level Business Analyst (CFLBA)
  • IREB Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering (CPRE)
  • PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PBA)

So, being a Business Analyst means a being a multi talented person. As a BA, you have to deal with almost all the stakeholders in an IT Organization. You need to strike the balance between two main pillars of the IT Organization i.e. Business Team and Software team. Business Analyst needs to be very efficient with his communication skills as well as documentation skills. At the same time Business Analyst needs to keep himself updated with latest trends in the business domain as well as technology domain.

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