Business Analysts: Different Types in the Team

22 August 2014
By Ekaterina Shalapanova, Project Manager and Maxim Matsiyevskyi, Business Analyst

Today we will talk about analyst teams for IT projects.

Who do we need to play this specific role? What particular skills and responsibilities an analyst should have to be efficient and cost effective? We will cover several aspects in this small blog entry; mostly, we address the needs of mid-sized or large project.

First, let’s define who is a business analyst. Like developers, who have their favorite programming language and the area of their professional focus, analysts have areas of their specialization and career paths. Below we described typical roles an analyst can play in a project:

  • Business Analyst
    On the one hand, this is an umbrella brand for an IT-analyst, and on the other hand this role has a quite formal definition within the industry. Their job is to drive optimization of the of the client’s business processes. They do that by analyzing the current state of the business and suggest specific steps to be taken for improving enterprise efficiency. They are more focused on business processes rather than technology.
  • Business Consultant
    Responsibility of a business consultant is to build new business processes based on their industry knowledge and experience. These specialists have excellent knowledge of the industry, watch trends and bring high value by implementing industry best practices to reach the goals of a particular project.
  • Marketing Specialist
    They usually work with end-users, research markets and competing products, gather end-user expectations, collect feedback and plan promotions. Usually they report to a Product Manager, and this makes them a part of an analyst team.
  • Product Manager
    The responsibility of product owner is to envision the product, define the place of the project in the company’s product line and its positioning against competing products. He has the authority to accept or reject features based on their vision of the product. Product Manager is an expert in their market niche, who directs the product development.
  • Requirements Manager
    Requirements Manager’s responsibilities are to identify, classify, document, maintain, receive approval for requirements from business stakeholders and mediate conflicts.
  • System Analyst
    What System Analyst is supposed to do is convert high-level requirements into software workflows and then elaborate a set of screens and rules that are suitable for software developers and QA engineers. Thus, source code, test cases and the acceptance criteria are all based on results of their work. These people understand technology capabilities, aware about usability and design.
  • Technical Writer
    Their job is to maintain project documentation including requirements specifications, user manuals, operational documentation, etc. This person has good writing skills and the ability to express their ideas.

No matter how you call it, someone always plays this role in virtually any project. In some cases these roles are played by the business people who explain their needs to IT and share their ideas with colleagues, who write documentation and build user interfaces based on their understanding of the requirements. However, in some cases this is not enough and a lack of these skills in a project can lead to failure.

So, when you start thinking about a new project, do not forget about analysts.

The next step is to look at the people already involved into the project and identify the ones with the appropriate skills and capacity (which is very important too). If you are not sure that you have right people in the team, it’s better to involve them from outside at the very beginning. They will help you to shape your ideas and inspire all people whose support is required for the project to succeed.

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