7 Essential Roles and Responsibilities of a Business Analyst

Are you looking for career opportunities in the Business Analysis area? or have you got the opportunity to work as a business analyst in one of your company’s existing projects? Knowing the complete roles and responsibilities of a business analyst is a key before you jump into this profession.

A business Analyst plays a pivotal role in any project whether it is an IT project or a non-TI project. During the life cycle of the project, business analysis often gets assigned with many dynamic roles and responsibilities. However, the roles and responsibilities of a business analyst vary and dependent on the type and complexity of the project.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Business Analyst

Business Analysts’ roles and responsibilities are very dynamic and usually, it expands during the later phase of the projects. However, I will be grouping the key roles and responsibilities of business analysts into 7 parts so that you can relate and understand better.

Key Roles and Responsibilities of a Business Analyst

1. Requirement Elicitation

Requirement Elicitation is a process of discovering the requirements of a system from the business users, customers, and other stakeholders who are involved in this process.

Requirement elicitation is one of the key responsibilities of a business analysis and it avoids the last-minute issues in project delivery if done right. Business Analysts use various tools and techniques to finish the requirement elicitation process.

It could also be seen as a requirement gathering process during the analysis phase of a project. However, it doesn’t mean, just noting down all the requirements from a user or group be stakeholders AS IS and deliver to the development team.

Requirement elicitation process is often seen as requirements engineering process where the business analyst;

  • Drill down the requirements with stakeholders
  • Does the process mapping
  • Reviews the business/process impact and risks involved
  • Suggests the most appropriate solution
  • Keep an eye on regulatory impacts, etc.

The Requirement elicitation is a key activity in any of the projects to make sure all the stakeholders and development team is aligned on the project expectation. Therefore, business analysts often seen as a person responsible for bridging the gap between business stakeholders and the IT team.

Requirement Elicitation

Activities involved in requirements elicitation process

Following are the key activities involved in the requirements elicitation process but limited to;

  1. Identify the key stakeholders and liaise with them to get the exact requirements or expectations from the system.
  2. Eliminate the requirement conflicts between different stakeholders.
  3. Document all the functional and technical requirements, processes i.e. AS-IS and TO-BE, etc.
  4. Develop prototypes to demonstrate the TO-BE system, processes, and behavior.
  5. Identify the risks, system gaps, and opportunities to improve the overall system and processes.
  6. Get the business and stakeholders approval (upon requirements walkthrough) on the final documents and aligned with the technical team as well.
  7. Set the requirements priority and aligned with stakeholders and delivery team.

Remember, requirements elicitation is a key and it should be done properly to avoid many requirement changes during the implementation phase of a project.

2. Manage the Project Documentation

A business analyst collaborates with many stakeholders during the project life cycle and it is important to document all the requirements and knowledge gain during the various meetings, verbal and written conversations, etc.

A well-managed document with complete requirement helps the delivery team to stay on track and avoid any confusion. A poorly written document can lead to project failure or cost more than the planned budget.

Requirement document is not the only document that a business analyst prepares and maintains. There are other documents like use cases, functional requirements document, prototypes, meeting minutes, etc. You can follow the following tips to avoid any document related mistakes.

  1. Always use the latest document templates used in your company.
  2. Make sure to gather complete requirements and fill all the document sections.
  3. Get the document reviewed in your peer.
  4. Have a requirement walk-through session with stakeholders to not down the missing requirements.
  5. Don’t forget to capture the meeting minutes with business comments on the requirements.
  6. Always take written on digital approval before proceeding with development.

3. Conducting Meetings

Business analysts will spend most of the time in conducting meetings during the project life cycle. Meetings will be conducted with stakeholders, delivery or IT team, project managers, etc. Business analysts use online meeting tools if the stakeholder’s location is different from your work location.

The meetings are required for;

  • The brainstorming sessions
  • JAD i.e. joint application development approach
  • Requirement gathering or walk-through
  • Business UAT i.e. User Acceptance Testing sessions
  • User Training session, etc.

However, business analysts should utilize the meeting session effectively and they avoid numbers of meeting to be productive. When you conduct or schedule a meeting with stakeholders or the development team, you need their time as well therefore, the following tips should be followed to utilize the meeting session effectively.

  1. Always prepare your questions and action plan before the meeting.
  2. Always share the agenda of the meeting so that attendees can also prepare and have their homework done.
  3. Stay on the topic and avoid distractions from it.
  4. Be on the listener side and allow stakeholders to speak.
  5. Note down all the discussed points and confirm the same during the meeting.
  6. Always send the detailed minutes of the meeting with the attendees list.
  7. Mention the action plan, the responsible person, and the timeline.

Also, don’t hesitate to follow up on the pending points with the respective responsible person. This way. you can make your meetings more productive and minimize the sessions.

4. Managing Business Communication

Communication is the key to a business analyst profession. Stakeholders communicate their requirements through the business analysts and there is reason for it.

The delivery team usually uses technical jargon which is difficult for the business users to understand. Also, we have different types of people with different attitudes towards the project. It is just not convenient for the technical team to get the requirements from stakeholders.

Business Analyst responsible for all types of communication throughout the project life-cycle i.e. verbal, email, face to face, etc. Many times, a business analyst needs to manage the conflict and address them on time. Communication is required in a project for the following reasons;

  • Gather the clear requirements
  • Update the stakeholders on the progress
  • Avoid any conflicts in advance
  • Received and act on the feedback
  • To be aligned with business expectations

Not maintaining proper communication could take your project in a whole different direction. Either it is verbal or written communication, a business analyst should be active and precise on what, when, and whom to be communicated.

It is not easy to negotiate the requirements with multiple stakeholders if you are not able to manage the strong communication with them. Maintaining timely communication can also avoid the escalation from the stakeholders.

Don’t forget to document all the communication in the project archive. This will help you and your project team in the later phase of the project.

5. Monitoring the Project Progress and Change Requests

Business Analyst’s roles and responsibilities are not limited to the analysis or initial phase of the project. A business analyst will be involved throughout the project life cycle.

Stakeholders will be regularly asking about the status of their requirements and pushing additional changes to the project scope. It is a good practice to schedule a recurring meeting with all key stakeholders to update them on the project progress in advance.

Business users or stakeholders might not request for any additional changes or enhancements at the beginning. However, when they see the developed system for the first time, they start adding or recommending further changes. This is not new and it happens in almost all the projects.

Therefore, it becomes very critical for the business analyst to analyze all these changes and see the critically and do the impact and risk analysis. Business Analysts will not simply accept all the changes unless it is feasible and valid.

Following activities are involved in monitoring and change management;

  • Log the change requests.
  • Analyze, validate, and assess the change requirements.
  • Get the required approval as an additional budget requires for implementing the changes.
  • Set the priority of the change requests.
  • Communicate the change request status to the stakeholders regularly.

Remember, we can always minimize the risk by properly executing requirement elicitation and communication process. A business analyst shouldn’t hesitate to ask questions at the beginning and shouldn’t rely on assumptions.

6. Validating the Delivered Requirements

A business analyst maintains the traceability matrix that defines the project requirements and test criteria to pass the requirements. This helps to keep track of the project’s completion status and to make sure, the project development is aligned with the business requirements.

The business analyst’s role also includes the validation of the requirements once it is developed and tested by the quality assurance team. This validation is required to make sure the delivered system is meeting business stakeholders requirements.

The business analyst will validate the requirements on the system before passing it to business users for the UAT i.e. user acceptance testing process. Validation of the developed requirements are required for the following reasons;

  • To make sure the project is meeting the business objective.
  • Requirement, process, business logic is implemented as requested.
  • The delivered module or process doesn’t have any technical bugs.
  • Sufficient data is available for the business users to complete the UAT.

7. UAT and End-User Training

UAT i.e. User Acceptance Testing is a process where the business users or stakeholders will physically test the system and give their feedback. It is like a hand on for them and most of the time, they will be seeing the developed system for the first time.

The business Analyst will be responsible for explaining the system and give them a system tour. This helps the business users to understand the system, its processes, and its functionalities. The Business Analyst will also give or arrange a training session for the end-users if they are seeing the system for the first time.

Key Activities involved in the UAT and End-User training;

  • Providing the and-on training on the system.
  • Explaining the demonstrating the overall process, system functionalities, and user forums.
  • Assisting the business team in creating test records.
  • Noting down the defects and additional changes.
  • Providing the user guide and training materials.
  • Arranging the formal sign off from the end-users or stakeholders.
  • Keeping the records of the training and UAT sessions.
  • Assisting business users in completing the UAT on an on-going basis.

A business analyst will face a lot of challenges during the UAT phase i.e. additional change requests, system defects, questions, etc. However, if you do the first six points properly, you can minimize all these issues at the last stage.

7 Essential Roles and Responsibilities of a Business Analyst

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Conclusion

A business analyst is involved since the beginning of the project and contributes throughout the project life-cycle. They also assist the project managers in preparing a project charter and business case.

The Roles and Responsibilities of a business analyst is very dynamic and it could expand based on the project type and complexity.

The Business Analyst’s roles and responsibilities involved requirement elicitation, conducting meetings, managing stakeholder communications, monitoring project progress and log change requests, helping business users in completing UAT, and many more.

The business analysts also prepare and share the project progress, key challenges, risks, and delivery status to their manager(s).

Now, you know the 7 essential roles and responsibilities of a business analyst and I trust, this information helped in some way.

I hope, you found this article helpful and productive. If you liked the article, then please consider sharing it with your friends.

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