Business Analyst Benefits for a Software Development Project

Business Analyst Benefits for a Software Development Project

People often confuse project managers and business analysts as they have seemingly similar responsibilities. Before we go into details of how business analysts can improve your product development, let’s figure out the difference between a business analyst vs a project manager.

What is a PM in business? A project manager is focused on keeping the development team on track while making sure they stick to the requirements BA has provided the team with. They’re reporting BA’s instructions to the team, planning how to distribute internal resources, organizing schedules, etc. It’s a low-level, tactical role.

A business analyst is a role that’s closer to stakeholders and end-users than to the development team, more high-level. People often transition to BA from customer support/success roles in software companies. The client-oriented business analyst skills help them stay attuned to a client’s wants. In-depth knowledge of a product or service allows them to translate high-level business requirements for software into clear technical instructions.

When to assign BA to a project?

Product owners usually get BA on board at the early stage of development processes.

Business analysts:

•  Help make sense of product owners’ business ideas and figure out if it’s viable;
•  Conducts market & competitors research;
•  Comes up with various strategies & technologies that will help to realize and advance the project (including shifts in the organization’s internal system/operations.).
Hiring a BA may be costly, but with their expertise and problem-solving skills, you’ll get a better understanding of market trends and tendencies, ensure the viability of the end product, get the main product benchmarks down, and gather analytics to choose the best monetization and customer acquisition strategy. You’ll also get a birds-eye view of the processes within your company and figure out what slows you down.

6 Important Advantages of Hiring a Business Analyst

But let’s take a deeper dive into why BA’s expertise might be advantageous for your project.

Business Analyst Will Reduce Project Costs by Prioritizing Tasks and Features

According to Standish Group work referenced in the CPSQ 2020 report, only 35% of technology projects are fully successful in terms of keeping to the estimated schedule and finance milestones. High performance and, therefore, the success rate depends, in part, on how clear the development process & deliverables are and how precise estimates for the project are.

Business analysts, using market & internal data analytics, help you to refine and polish your value proposition (VP), the way it reflects in your product, and the way you should organize the business processes to deliver that VP to end-users.

With a clear roadmap for software business development, BA — alongside you and a product team — plan out development activities in the most efficient way. Simultaneously, they align the course of the roadmap with your & your stakeholders’ business goals and C-board vision.
That cuts costs of rework and overtime, reduces errors, and makes the collaboration between the development team and business leaders smoother across the organization.

Business Analyst Will Identify Problems and Solve Them Efficiently

Preemptive troubleshooting is another aspect of BA’s responsibilities.

With business intelligence tools (BI) at their disposal and constant monitoring of movements within your industries and among your customers, a business analyst job includes making sure you avoid pitfalls & mitigating the risks of delivering a wrong thing in production.

It’s also the job of BA to monitor your business operations while identifying issues within them & managing their mitigation. For instance, when your application’s downloads are dropping or users are abandoning your brand’s shop, they collaborate with data analysts (if you have any) who structure and process your user database, review and analyze it, identify patterns or events that caused a shift in end-customer behavior.

Then, business analyst jobs include designing the most efficient approach to address this shift — and presenting you, your stakeholders, and your product managers with a step-by-step plan of fixing whatever happened. They add the plan of optimization to the requirements of the project and a backlog.

Business Analyst Will Make the Most out of Your Cooperation with Stakeholders/Customers

About 80% of the workforce spends half of their workweek on reworks that occur due to poor communication skills within the team and with stakeholders. Its costs reach up to $62 million per project for large enterprises. Communication is especially a sore spot if the project is conducted online, on a remote basis.

The role of stakeholders — people who are interested in the outcomes of the project and have a large influence on it — is usually assigned to the company’s C-board and its end-users. Pretty straightforward: if your users or your boss don’t like a thing you’ve built, you pretty much stop building it or change things.

However, regulators, product owners, and customers (organizations that deliver a product to an end-user per the B2B2C model) can also be stakeholders.

The business analyst’s job is to take all these people’s needs into account and prioritize the most vital among them. BAs also have to demonstrate to stakeholders whose needs they have not prioritized why such a distribution of importance is necessary for the project’s outcomes.

The simplest example that comes to mind for this is regulatory compliance: you have to ensure your product is compliant with, for instance, privacy protection legislations — otherwise, you’ll be fined or removed from conducting business altogether. BA’s job is to, basically, get resources on encryption protocols, cybersecurity training, and so on (especially if the project is in finance or healthcare.)

Apart from that, business analysts have to find out what stakeholders from top management want from the project, make sure all info they provide is true and confirmable. They ensure stakeholders understand the data behind the decisions BA and, by association, the development team makes, and so on. It’s also their responsibility to update stakeholders on new insights they recover from market or customer data, conduct reports on proceeding through the schedule, and involve them in scrum meetings and demos. They play the role of facilitator, moderator, and translator both for the product team and for stakeholders.

Business Analyst Will Model Business Processes to Clarify the Roadmap and Plan Further Development Activities

According to the McKinsey 7S model, BAs analyze and search for the ways to bridge gaps in an organization’s strategy, structure, systems, skills, staff, style, and shared values to find more competitive advantages within the business and outside of it.

Because a large chunk of business problems in projects come up because of insufficient operations, it’s only logical that BA focuses on them heavily, looking for places to optimize, automate, change, or re-align.

Being intimately aware of organizational structure, BAs help top management identify threats, possible uncertainties, legal and tech issues that might arise, etc. They keep a close track of employees’ productivity metrics, the company’s performance on the market, competitors’ behavior, and so on.

BAs are usually savvy with data visualization tools and project management software like Jira and Atlassian, and over the last few years, they’re slowly shifting towards more data analysis-focused roles and re-learn (because data analytics professionals are expensive, and BI skillset requires being good with analytics).

Business Analyst Will Test the Project So That It Meets Business Needs

BAs are testing the product like the end-users would; like the C-board would; like the regulators would; etc.

The knowledge about the requirements different stakeholders have for certain products or services allows them to look at them from different angles.

They shift from analyzing if the user journey is smooth enough to provide high conversions to if the product is secure enough for regulators to accept payments.

Then, they conduct their assessment and write plans to guide the development team through the necessary changes.

BA writes acceptance criteria at the preliminary stages of product development — and they’re staying at the center of high-level control of the project’s quality through the entire implementation and production stages (and afterward, help maintain the product.)

Business Analyst Will Meet Project Deadlines

Another important advantage of having BA on the project is that they do everything to make the team stick to the schedule. They collaborate with a project manager about the progress of the development team and keep stakeholders updated about milestones, jobs done, and so on.

The Main Goal of Business Analysis (BA)

Business analysts’ decision-making and strategic analytical skills are what keep the product development cycle efficient, corresponding with business requirements, and end-users-oriented.
They incorporate business intelligence solutions to estimate costs needed to finalize the project or change it for the better, devise moves a company needs to make to improve time-to-market and make the project’s data work for you.

Simultaneously, with BA as a master of communication, stakeholders (C-board and product owners) feel in control of the project, and the development team understands how what they do impacts the high-level needs of the business — and, therefore, don’t lose motivation.

Business Analysis in 3 Stages

Traditionally, business analysis is performed on three levels of the product development cycle.

Pre-Project Work

At this stage, business analysts determine and confirm the feasibility of the project. BA understands the condition of the business at the moment, possible problems and prospects it has, opportunities it lacks right now. They:

•  Define what the goals of the project are, and how it’s better to achieve results.
•  Pinpoint what operations need to be streamlined and changed and study end-users needs, wants, and jobs-to-be-done.
•  Finalize KPIs, criteria for a project’s success, and deliverables.
•  Create documentation for business requirements — functional and non-functional.
•  Detail an instructive backlog for the whole project.
•  Collaborate with stakeholders, product owners, and UX designers for user story mapping.
•  Define clear acceptance criteria with the QA team.
•  Prioritize items in the backlog according to immediate business needs.

Project Work

During the development itself, BAs track the process, participate in scrum meetings and make sure everything goes according to plan within every following cycle.

Post-Project Work

This is a value assessment phase of the project. BA evaluates the results, processes comments from stakeholders and end-users, and delivers them to the team with a next backlog that includes improvements.

When to Hire a Business Analyst? When you have

•  Limited budget with no understanding on where (or how, or when) to begin product development;
•  The project that’s frozen or stuck (and you have no idea how to resume it);
•  No clear picture of how you are going to monetize your project;
•  A project that misses market-fit in the industry you’ve
No clear picture of how you are going to monetize your project. A project that misses market-fit in the industry you’ve

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