Business Analysis is the set of tasks and techniques used to interface stakeholders in order to understand the structure, processes and procedures of the organization. This effort includes understanding the current situation, the organizational goals and the changes required to meet the business needs and organizational goals. We include Testing with Business Analysis as the test plans are developed as a part of the process to ensure that the application provides the functionality as required by the end users.
Our focus for Business Analysis has been Engineering, Manufacturing, Services and Finance for major clients. This is a critical component of Business Process Optimization where the end result is Cost or Cycle Reduction.
Required information can be gathered by one or more of the following methods. One-on-one interviews with stakeholders, team work-out sessions and / or review of existing documentation related to the problem provide insight into the situation.
The BA documents the findings from the initial information gathering in a Vision document. A Vision document contains (but is not limited to) a problem statement, identified key stakeholders and their roles, project scope, proposed features, benefits, risks, and dependencies. This document is reviewed and signed off by the stakeholders.
Using the same information gathering techniques, the BA works with the Subject Matter Experts to identify the “As-Is” processes and the proposed “To-Be” processes. Solutions to the problems are not designed in these sessions, but rather, user needs are captured and documented in Activity Diagrams, Logical Design flows, Entity Relationship Diagrams, and Use Cases. Details such as what data is needed, what are the data relationships and how will the user interact with the system are captured. As these documents are completed, they are reviewed and signed off by the appropriate stakeholders.
It is also the BA’s responsibility to work with the Quality Assurance team and the end user community to assist with building QA and End User Acceptance test plans. Upon the completion of a use case by the development team, the BA works with the QA team to test the solution and provide feedback to the stakeholders. If any issues arise, the stakeholders prioritize the need to resolve the issues and the BA captures these decisions by updating the appropriate documentation.
When a solution is ready for production, the BA provides training and end user documentation.
If an Agile methodology is being followed, the BA will iteratively perform the above steps until the project is complete. If a waterfall approach is being used, the BA will complete all the information gathering and documentation before moving onto the development, testing, and production steps.
During the lifecycle of a project, requirements constantly change. It is the BA’s responsibility to capture the requirement changes and work with the stakeholders to communicate, determine risk mitigation, prioritize and schedule these changes or enhancements as needed.
Adherence to the above process provides proper problem identification, optimal solution design and development and ensures that testing validates that the solution meets the end users needs.