Today's business analysts can play an important role in IT. Acquiring the skills you need to embark on a productive business analyst career path can bring you to the leading edge of technology, with countless career opportunities. As liaisons between the business community and technical solution providers in a given project, these highly-skilled professionals may ensure that requirements are addressed before a technical solution is designed and implemented. Business analysts are used for the key roles they play in the project lifecycle, and ensure that the final solution meets business objectives and adds to the bottom line.
A Business Analyst’s Ten Key Roles and Responsibilities
Requirements are at the core of developing IT solutions. Defining, analyzing and documenting requirements evolve from a business analyst’s creative process, and are intended to show what a system can do.
Here are the business analyst’s 10 key roles in defining and managing requirements:
- Extract requirements - Requirements play a key part in engineering IT systems. Incomplete or improper requirements usually lead to project failure. A business analyst determines a project’s requirements by extracting them from business or government policies, as well as from current and future users, through interaction and research.
- Anticipate requirements - Skilled business analysts know how quickly things change in the dynamic world of IT. Baseline plans are subject to modification, and anticipating requirements that will be needed in the future or that have not yet been considered is essential to successful outcomes.
- Constrain requirements - While complete requirements are essential to project success, the focus must remain on core business needs, and not users’ personal preferences, functions related to trends or outdated processes, or other non-essential modifications.
- Organize requirements - Requirements often originate from disparate, sometimes opposing sources. The business analyst must organize requirements into related categories to effectively manage and communicate them. Requirements are sorted into types according to their source and applicability. Proper organization prevents project requirements from becoming overlooked, and leads to optimum use of time and budgets.
- Translate requirements - The business analyst must be adept at translating business requirements to technical requirements. This includes using powerful analysis and modeling tools to match strategic business objectives with practical technical solutions.
- Safeguard requirements - At regular intervals in the project life cycle, the business analyst safeguards or protects the business and user’s needs by verifying functionality, accuracy and completeness of the requirements against the original initiating documents. Safeguarding minimizes risk by ensuring requirements are being met before investing further in system development.
- Simplify requirements - The business analyst emphasizes simplicity and ease of use at all times, but especially in implementation. Meeting business objectives is the goal of every IT project; business analysts identify and avoid extraneous activities that do not solve the problem or help reach the objective.
- Verify requirements - The business analyst is most knowledgeable about use cases; therefore they continually verify the requirements and reject implementations that do not advance business objectives. Verifying requirements is accomplished through analysis, test, demonstration and inspection.
- Managing requirements - Typically, a formal requirements presentation, review and approval session occurs, where project schedules, costs and duration estimates are updated and the business objectives are revisited. Upon approval, the business analyst transitions into requirements management activities for the rest of the IT solution life cycle.
- System and operations maintenance - Once all requirements have been met and the IT solution delivered, the business analyst’s role shifts to maintenance, or preventing and correcting defects; enhancements, or making changes to increase the value provided by the system; and operations and maintenance, or providing system validation procedures, maintenance reports, deactivation plans, and other documents, plans and reports. The business analyst will also play a major role in analyzing the system to determine when deactivation or replacement is required.
Taking on the Indispensible Role of Business Analyst
Whether you currently work in IT or a related field, if you’re a leader in your organization and want the chance to pursue the incredible opportunities presented by the business analyst career path, now is a great time to research your options and start planning. With business analysis training, you can obtain the core skills that businesses need to advance – and you can advance to your full potential as well!