In the vast landscape of business and management roles, the acronyms can sometimes feel like an alphabet soup – PO, PM, BA, SM, and many more. It’s no wonder that understanding the precise responsibilities and purposes of each position can seem like mission impossible. But fear not, for today, we embark on a mission to explore the essence of BA.

Having dedicated six months to delving into the world of Business Analysis (BA) and now, with a certification in hand, I am here to shed light on what a BA truly is. 

Imagine this blog as your guidebook, written in simple, accessible language, to demystify the role of a BA and reveal the vital contributions they make in the realm of business.

The Value

There are some misconceptions that a BA ‘writes requirements’ or ‘just talks to clients.’ While these are aspects of the role, they only scratch the surface of what a BA truly does. So first, let’s look at the actual services that a BA can generally provide and the value they can bring to companies.

Situation investigation and problem analysis 

Getting to the root causes, understanding perspectives, and modelling the existing situation. Companies can reduce expenses by identifying and addressing the actual causes of problems instead of wasting money chasing symptoms.

Feasibility assessment and business case development

Evaluating the practicality and potential benefits of proposed solutions, and constructing a comprehensive business case that outlines costs, risks, and expected outcomes. This process helps prevent starting a project that is destined to fail or one that could have been done at a fraction of the cost.

Business process improvement 

It is analyzing current workflows, identifying inefficiencies, and designing optimized processes that enhance productivity and overall business performance. This effort can lead to reduced operational costs, increased efficiency, and higher employee motivation. 

Requirement definition

Collaborating with stakeholders to gather, document, and prioritize functional and non-functional requirements for the project, ensuring a clear and shared understanding among all parties. Clearly defined requirements ensure that all involved parties are on the same page regarding what is needed and expected thus avoiding conflicts down the line.

Business acceptance testing

Creating test plans, scenarios, and cases that validate whether the implemented solution meets the specified requirements and is ready for operational use. Unlike testers, business analysts often prioritize understanding overall business requirements, in addition to functional aspects, thereby identifying business defects early in the process.

Business change deployment

Overseeing the smooth implementation and integration of the new solution into the existing business environment, including managing potential risks and facilitating user adoption. Similar to business acceptance testing, BA can bridge business and IT throughout the project, increasing the chances of success.

Stakeholder engagement 

Identifying, engaging, and managing related parties, which is relevant in all services listed above. Effective communication and collaboration with stakeholders ensure alignment throughout the project lifecycle.

What it takes to be a BA

Now that we have a grasp of what kind of services can be expected from this role, let’s discuss what it takes to be a business analyst. 

BA is expected to possess a wide range of skills and characteristics that can be categorized as personal qualities, business knowledge, and professional techniques.

Personal qualities are relationship building, attention to detail, problem-solving, leadership and political awareness. These qualities boost an analyst’s ability to communicate with colleagues and stakeholders from different business areas.

Business knowledge further reinforces personal qualities through commercial awareness, domain knowledge, knowledge of organization structures, digital technology, enterprise and related architectures. Having a good grasp of the subject makes it simpler to connect with stakeholders and dive into the details.

Lastly, professional techniques. The ability to effectively communicate with people from different domains is not enough to achieve business objectives. Therefore, a business analyst also needs to be familiar with techniques such as strategy analysis, requirements engineering, business processes and data modelling, gap analysis, benefits management, and stakeholder analysis and management.

If you’re at a career crossroads and seeking a role that packs both impact and variety, consider becoming a BA. You’ll take a crucial part in the organization, solving mysteries and optimizing processes. And if you’re not contemplating a career change, I hope this blog has shed light on the vital role of a business analyst, and how they can assist you, and perhaps sparked your curiosity about this dynamic profession.

Edgars Avotiņš

This article was written by TeleSoftas’s QA and BA. For more of his insights, follow him on Linkedin – Edgars Avotiņš.