Business Analyst Role
What is your role during each stage of the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC)?
In your business analyst role you will always (if you are in a project environment) be working on artefacts which is a deliverable of a part of the SDLC. Your role changes as the SDLC goes through the cycle. Let’s have a look here at what you will be doing in each phase.
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Planning for the SDLC
Strictly speaking this is not part of the SDLC as such. However, this is a crucial activity to plan for each of the SDLC phases and as a Business Analyst you play a big part in this phase too!
You will get involved with the following in this phase:
- Plan for the Requirements Management Approach
- Plan the Business Analysis Roles & Responsibilities
- Identify who will be involved, who will be your stakeholders
- Plan for all the Requirements Activities
This phase is sometimes called the Initiation Stage but essentially, this is where the cycle starts. An idea or concept is evaluated and a proposal is put forward.
The more senior business analysts tend to get involved during this stage where thebusiness need or business problem is evaluated at a very high level. You business analyst role here could include:
- Developing a Concept Statement
- Perform a Feasibility Study
- Prepare an Options Analysis
- Prepare an Impact Analysis
- Prepare a Cost Benefit Analysis
During the Analysis Phase most of the typical business analysis requirements related activities take place.
You will be heavily involved in:
- Requirements Gathering – Workshop Facilitation, Interviews, Observation, Research
- Requirements Documentation – Business Requirements document,Requirements Traceability document, Functional & Non Functional Requirements documents
- This is where you will also use your modelling skills to document business requirements.
- Requirements Validation & Prioritisation activities
- Stakeholder Engagement
You will use a lot of your Business Analysis soft skills during this phase!
The Design Phase is when your requirements are being interpreted by the solution design teams / evaluated by the software vendors. You role here is typically to:
- Review the solution documents
- Work closely with solution designer and architects to ensure requirements are clear
- Keep the stakeholder engaged to reassure them their requirements are implemented as specified in the business requirement artefacts. In some projects, such as Agile projects, this part of the iteration will have close involvement of stakeholders right through the SDLC.
- Manage the changes to requirements both from the business and from your solution designerís point of view through a change control process. It is a great time to actively start using the Requirements Traceability Matrix!
The term implementation can be slightly confusing but in terms of what it means here is that this is the “build” phase of the project. The requirements have been designed into a solution which is now being implemented. In some case this is via a packaged software solution and in some cases it is built from scratch.
The Business Analyst doesn’t have much to do in this phase. In small teams it can happen that the BA is asked to clarify requirements or in Agile projects the BA will be asked to review prototypes.
Take note that in Agile projects, there are basically many short SDLCs in one larger project which makes the role of the BA condensed doing all the different tasks in smaller chunks but parallel with each other. Very action packed!
During the testing phase the Business Analyst can assist with reviewing test scripts to ensure all functional requirements are being tested. The role of a Business Analyst is not to actually execute the testing! Testers do that..
A business analyst will also get involved with defect prioritisation in some projects.