Beginners Guide: What Does a Business Analyst Do?

business analyst role

In this article I will explain who the business analyst is. I will show how good business analysts make project management easy. Finally I will cover the four things that a business analyst does does. These four things make a big difference to the success or failure of the project.

To better understand the role of the business analyst, think of a taxicab driver. The best cabbies know their city roads inside and out. All you have to say is “Take me to the airport– I’m late!”. The cab driver does the rest, squealing around corners and cutting avoiding traffic. In the same way, business analysts work out what is actually needed.

The streets and landmarks tell a cabbie where to turn. Requirements list out exactly what a project team needs to do to complete a project. The business analyst owns the requirements.

How Good Business Analysts Make Project Management Easy


As a project manager I have been lucky to work with many good business analysts and some not so good. One thing I have noticed is a good business analyst working on the project leads to less problems. Also it did not matter how complex the project was. A good business analyst equals less problems.

With less problems it was a lot easier to deliver the project instead of fire fighting problems. For example I could spend my time mitigating risks or making sure the project stuck to the plan. The end result would be an increase in the chance of the project being successful.

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What a Successful Business Analyst Does


Understanding

A good business analyst takes the time to understand what the project is trying to achieve. They work with the project sponsor and champion to understand the bigger picture. Then they work with the champion to get more detailed requirements.

Clarity

Excellent Business Analysts have a good understanding of the problem. They know what a successful outcome needs to be. They give the project clarity. It can be a written document, a picture or a flow chart, the business analyst shows what the project must build.

Expert

By having an excellent grasp of the needs they become the subject matter expert. They are able to be the go to person that others turn to whenever there is a need for clarity on the project.

Collaborative

This is an extra role which few business analysts do but when they do this it takes the project to another level. The collaborative business analyst works with suppliers early in the project. They articulate the requirements. They work with testers to make sure the project deliverables meet the needs.

These are the 4 things that a business analyst does to increase the chance of a successful project.

  1. Understanding
  2. Clarity
  3. Expert
  4. Collaborative