Business analysis in Software Development

Implementation of a business solution is a process that requires the commitment and competence of many specialists. Whether the project is small and simple or large and complex, it is necessary to collect requirements that will allow us to define the client’s needs.

Customers often have specific requirements, and someone needs to write them down, verify their feasibility (or not), and then pass then on to the IT team. This person is called a Business Analyst (BA). 


Business analysis in Software Development

Table of contents:

  1. What is a Business Analyst?
  2. Elements of Business Analysis
  3. Qualities of the Business Analyst
  4. Summary

What is a Business Analyst?

A business analyst acts as a bridge between clients and the development team. Many people assume that an analyst is responsible only for the preparation of documents. However, experience shows the reality is quite different. Reducing the role of an analyst to participating in meetings and writing down the requirements is a great oversimplification.

In fact, his or her scope of duties goes beyond identifying the needs of stakeholders and determining the feasibility of the project. The Business Analyst has to be able to think critically, understanding the customer’s actual needs, and actively recommend optimal solutions.


Elements of Business Analysis 

According to the BABOK (A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge) guidelines, written by IIBA (International Institute of Business Analyst), business analysis consists of the following elements:

1. Enterprise Analysis

Identification and understanding of the needs of a given business or industry, and selecting the most appropriate solution approach. The BA needs to define a solution scope that can feasibly be implemented by the business, then the solution scope is assessed against the business case.

2. Requirements acquisition

Identification of customer expectations, both those directly expressed and hidden requirements, i.e. not necessarily related to the direct purpose of the application. In this case, BA prioritizes and elaborates stakeholder and solution requirements, enabling the project team to implement a solution that will meet the needs of the customer. 

3. Requirements planning and management

Planning the process of documenting requirements along with determining priorities for their implementation and change control mechanisms. The BA needs to ensure that the business stakeholders and project team remain in agreement on the solution scope. 

4. Documenting requirements

Preparing a description of requirements in such a form and level of detail that they can be properly designed and implemented by designers/programmers. if done properly, documentation can improve the collection of requirements by increasing stakeholder involvement.

5. Communicating requirements,

that is, sharing analytical documentation with project stakeholders. It also includes informing stakeholders about changes in the scope of requirements etc.

6. Assessment and validation

of the solution to determine if it best fits the business need. The assessment also identifies gaps and shortcomings in solutions, and establishes necessary workarounds or changes to the solution. The BA evaluates the performances of functioning solutions, to understand their value and identify opportunities for further improvement.


Qualities of the Business Analyst

Regardless of the chosen methodology of software development, the BA plays an extremely important role. One has to remember that errors made in IT projects at the analytical stage can be very costly. Therefore, in many cases, the function of a business analyst is the crowning achievement of a career, where you can get to know both the business conditions and the technological possibilities and limitations when trying to meet the client’s requirements.

The personal development of a business analyst should cover many areas. To name a few – knowledge and understanding of the specific industry sector is very  important. Since the analyst’s task is to describe the business, it is necessary to contact the people who run the organization and they expect the analyst to know the language and specific terms used in their industry.

On the other hand, there is an urgent need to invest a lot of time and effort trying to develop technical know-how. Without a deep understanding of the complexity of systems, it will not be possible to correctly place the customer’s requirements in the correct technological context. 

The job of an analyst is technical, but it also requires soft skills. The BA needs to have the ability to clearly and precisely formulate thoughts. Listening and asking the right questions also play a crucial role. And without negotiation skills and the ability to persuade people, the BA cannot function in the business environment. 



As software development expands, the demand for business analysts will also increase. Since this position has traditionally been seen as a link between business, design, and IT teams it requires many abilities including both soft and hard skills. Without them, it is impossible to ensure the customer’s requirements are captured and fully understood by the technical team before solutions are developed and implemented.

However, it is also worth noting that the role is quite varied and versatile. Depending on the model, the Business Analyst can play different roles in development teams. 

To learn more about what a BA does, please check our blog post entitled  “Role of Business Analysts in Scrum”. 

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