A mistaken belief many business owners have is that software developers are the only ones who are needed to create custom software. However, there is actually a large gap between the customer and the software developers, as they may not always know what to say or do to ensure everyone has the same understanding of the software needed. A business analyst covers this gap, becoming the intermediary between the customer and the software developers. They help make sure the two sides understand what is expected and needed for the development of custom software.
Evaluate Customer’s Request
The business analyst first starts working on the project when the customer contacts the software developers for help. Their job is to determine what the client needs and the scope of work required to make it happen. The business analyst will need to have an understanding of the problem the business is facing, as well as what is needed to fix the problem. The analyst will create a vision and scope document to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Elicitation of Requirements
After developing that document, the business analyst will work on determining the requirements for the project. This includes finding out how the business will profit from the software, what the end users would find important, and what distinctive characteristics need to be taken into account for the project to be successful. The analyst will be in communication with the client directly during this part of the process.
Analyze and Approve Requirements List
Once the analyst has all of the requirements, they will discuss these with their team. They may find discrepancies or gaps that need to be fixed before the project development can be moved forward. Then, they’ll look into making sure it is possible to fulfill all of the requirements with the software and work to prioritize the various functions needed. The last part of this step is the customer’s approval of the requirements list.
Preparation of a Prototype
In some cases, the business analyst may create a mockup of possible screens for the new software. This allows the customer to get a better idea of what to expect from the program. Depending on how the prototype is done, it may be possible to create an interactive prototype, though it will not be the full software.
Create the SRS Document
Once everything is approved, a business analyst creates a software requirements specification (SRS) document that will be the basis for all planning throughout the software development. This will contain all functions and options in the software, as well as industry-specific standards or regulations, as needed. From there, the business analyst works as a communication point between the customer and the software developers until the project is complete. In agile projects, the SRS takes the form of a product backlog with less detail that is refined through subsequent iterations.
Though the client likely knows what they’re looking, at least from a high-level, for and the software developers know how to create it, there is a gap between them that needs to be closed before any software can be created. The business analyst works to close this gap, ensuring that both the customer and the software developers are on the same page throughout the development process.