A Business Analyst’s role is an extremely crucial role in any Organization. A Business Analyst is a vital link between an Organization and its clients. A Business Analyst has a responsible job of eliciting client requirements, analyzing & defining these requirements and then supporting the Project Management team in terms of implementing and delivering the expected product. In case of even a slight deviation from the expected result, the BA is held responsible for the quality of the same. Hence, the primary responsibility of delivering a quality product lies with the Business Analyst.
Some of the main Roles & Responsibilities of a Business Analyst include:
- Act as a liaison between the Scrum team/Project Management team and the Clients
- Ensure the quality of the product that is delivered meets the client’s requirements
- Maintain the ‘Product Backlog’
- Represent the client in the Scrum/Project Management team
Challenges faced by a BA
- Requirements Elicitation:
There are several aspects to this point. Sometimes the clients are not very clear about the requirements. I have come across some clients who still are not sure what they would like their system to include and why. Hence, we come across situations when the requirements change frequently. In such situations, the Analyst needs to understand the reason for the inclusion and exclusion of the items. MOSCOW Analysis can come in very handy in such situations. This makes it easier for the clients also to understand what they really need.
There could also be situations when the respective stakeholders might not be available. In such situations, one could meet up with other members from the team if possible. In such situations, such delays would only mean increasing the project timeline and cost.
- Stakeholder cooperation:
When the Clients/End-Clients, do not support adequately or when there is resistance in terms of sharing information/requirements, this could pose as an obstacle in getting the desired result. In such cases, it would be best to promptly escalate the situation to the management.
- Development Team: The Analyst can also face issues in terms of explaining the requirements to the developers. An experienced team might be able to operate with minimal support from the business analyst, whereas a new team might need more support and more explanations on the requirements. Depending upon the maturity of the team, the Analyst can decide whether to use mock-ups, wire-frames or a prototype. The level of effort in terms of these 3 tools vary. In case of a mature and an experienced team, only a sound acceptance criteria can work well; whereas in case of a new and inexperienced team, better ways of explaining the requirements like prototyping in addition to elaborate stories might work well.
- Business Analysts often need to provide rough estimates in terms of time & effort for the project. Sometimes there is no precedent/baseline/no reference to such work done earlier. Hence, the Analyst has to offer some figures based on his/her understanding of the same. However, they may not be in the acceptable range at times. Hence, if the estimates in terms of efforts turn out to be too strict, the team may have to stick to the deadlines by working overtime. There is also a possibility of some items being missed out from the delivery thereby showing poorly on the team’s performance.
- Ball Park Estimates provided by the BAs are ignored by the executives/management due to over commitment to clients to retain/win clients, etc. In one of my earlier roles, the Analyst’s estimates were not given due credence because the top management had committed to certain deadlines in order to retain the client.
- Conflicting views about project requirements: In one of my earlier roles, I had come across an Analyst who used to work for a client which was a product development company. Naturally, the product was completely owned by the client. The role of the analyst was to work with the client with their end-clients and gather requirements and offer customization to the product. When it came to simple changes like colors, fonts, minimal field changes, etc.., it was easy. However, when it involved some functionality which wasn’t really offered by the product, there were conflicting views whether to incorporate the same or not.
While some of the above mentioned challenges can be identified quickly while following the Agile methodology, it would be the Analyst’s responsibility to identify these problems and address/escalate them appropriately. Due to such challenges, a Business Analyst needs to have good communication skills, good listening skills, Excellent Stakeholder management, and good presentation skills amongst other skills.