Business analysis as a profession was identified a necessity as soon as the technology took over. People were required to analyse the business problems and explain them to the technology teams in order for the technology to deliver the solutions. While, there are many industry standards which lists down numerous processes involved when it comes to business analysis, I think, practically speaking, there are four key aspects involved.
Understand Business Problem
It all starts with trying to solve a business problem. Identifying the right problem is the key. In order to do so, I think it is important to know two important things – People and Process involved. Once you identify the right stakeholders, and the process that they follow, it is easier to identify the problem and put a solution to it. Now, this is true for any project.
So, what is different when it comes to digital projects? Most of the times, the digital projects (websites, apps, etc.) are trying to either assist in revenue generation (selling products/services or generating leads), cost optimization (by reducing the contact touch points) or enhancing the brand of the organization. In such scenarios, aligning the requirements and the existing of the digital product/project requires a clear mapping to the strategic objectives of the organization as it generally tends to be a bit ambiguous in these cases.
Document the Business Issues.
Hence, in the context of digital projects, the analysis bit is a deeper, than just documenting epics, user stories and acceptance criteria. The purpose, benefits and key objectives of the project truly helps in driving the documentation and the extent of documentation required for the projects. Also, I have realized that creating end user interface designs helps more as nowadays a design driven approach is best suited, especially in the context of digital projects.
Stakeholders are mostly time poor and as far as they can see and feel the end results, it becomes difficult to proceed. With agile taking over, incremental delivery requires a continuous interaction between the user experience expert, business analyst, developer and most importantly the stakeholder.
Also, one thing that I feel is missing in most of the projects is requirements trace-ability. According to me, this should be the sequence of different outputs mapped end to end, especially for digital projects.
Technical Alignment to assist solution development
With the fast-paced environment that we live in and in order to continuously deliver with incremental value, it is important that there is a strong alignment between the business analyst and the development team. A daily stand up helps in order to understand any questions or issues that the developers may have and in order to address any concerns to clarify the requirements further. A BA’s task is to understand the question, go back to the business stakeholder to seek clarification and get back to the developers asap.
Without this co-ordination and continuous communication and interaction, it becomes extremely difficult to keep going with the delivery. Also, a simultaneous task is to assist the project manager in ensuring that his dates are met based on the estimates which were given earlier, and the delivery is happening as per the plan.
Solution implementation and business uptake
User acceptance testing becomes the most important task from a business analysis perspective, when it comes to the uptake of the solution. And when we are addressing this, it is not only from a business perspective who are going to maintain the digital solution but overall, in terms of the end user, who is going to use the output of the solution (Websites, apps, etc.).
This is one of the most important task, where a digital business analyst needs to be aware of the concepts of information architecture, usability, search engine optimization, content optimization, so on and so forth. This increases the scope of analysis and also the ability of a business analyst to ensure the right solution is delivered and is a key element for the success of the digital project.
I am sure this gives a quick snapshot of the digital business analyst role and the key deliverable associated with the role. I will touch upon these aspects in detail in coming weeks. However, if you feel there are key elements that I may have not touched upon or missed, do add to the comments.
Until next time!