esol artificial intelligence

The BA Role - Demystified

In IT projects the importance of having a designated individual on the team whose primary responsibility is to take care of the client's expectations, business goals, requirements, and needs during the project life cycle is often overlooked.

“Why do I need a Business Analyst on this project? I know what I want and the team can directly start the implementation of the solution, no need for extra budget for this.”

The above image (albeit exaggerated) illustrates the importance of a business analyst’s involvement in the early stages of a software project.

Working with a BA ensures that what you explain at the start of the collaboration is well analyzed, discussed, clarified, and transformed into clear requirements for the development team to implement so that in the end the solution you receive is often more effective and clever than what you imagined in the beginning.

But after all… what does a BA do? We’ll take a real-life example to explain this.

Project Implementation & Planning a Vacation - An Analogy

Let’s imagine you and your family want to go on vacation - you know where you want to go, you just don’t know how yet.

This is where the BA kicks in and starts asking questions:

  • What are your expectations regarding this vacation?
    Maybe the destination is not very suitable for your goal, a vacation in Ibiza will not really help you relax, or allow you to meditate and do yoga on the beach at sunrise since you’ll most likely stumble upon party people finishing a night of clubbing with an awesome sunrise and one last sip of champagne.
  • How long do you want to stay there?
    This will make you ponder about your budget, how many vacation days you can take, and so on.
  • What kind of transportation do you prefer and how quickly do you want to get there?
    Perhaps you’d like to go on a road trip but want to get there in 3 hours. In this case, a car and a road trip might not satisfy your timing needs.
    There’s a decision that needs to be made between the two.
  • What kind of accommodation do you want, what kind of location and what can you afford?

You get the idea.

After all the questions and decisions are made, the business analyst comes to you with a proposed solution: 10 days of vacation in Greece, by plane, a direct flight in September, 3* hotel accommodation & breakfast included, 15 minutes away from the beach on foot.

But you don’t like Greece (yes, I know, who doesn’t, but go along with me on this) and you want to stay in a hotel closer to the beach.

The BA then reviews and updates the plan according to your new requirements and adjustments. After the final revision, some additional discussions and planning, you have your perfect vacation planned.

Real Process for Software Development Projects

Just as with planning a vacation, in a software project, the BA is the person making sure that you and your company not only get what you want from your project but also what you need, while taking into consideration the available budget.

At first, you don’t know what you can afford, so you ask for the 5* hotel on the beach and a private driver to explore the location. The BA then harshly stops the daydreaming by explaining what that costs per day and then adjusts the requirements accordingly, all while keeping in mind your goal and needs.

After several discussions, some solo thinking, and analysis time for the BA, you get to the most optimal solution for your needs, all summed up in a proposed solution.

The proposal is then discussed from the financial point of view with the sales representative or a project manager and with a team of developers that can offer a more detailed overview of what the implementation of that solution means from a timeline and effort point of view.

Finally, the proposal turns into a development contract - be it agile or fixed price (the latter is usually not such a great idea, since one party will have something to lose - either money or time, which after all are almost the same).

The Analysis Process in an Agile Environment

At this point, you have your vacation plans laid out but don’t have the exact steps and actions that will move you closer to your destination and relaxation. So, the BA starts creating tasks such as flight booking, transport from and to the airport, hotel reservation, activities during your vacation, dinner reservations, and so on - everything you need for your vacation to turn out exactly how you need it to be.

In a software project, after the contract is signed and the project kickoff meeting takes place, the BA works closely with the development team and with the client during the whole implementation phase so that the client is always kept up to date with all the progress that is being made.

The analyst starts building the Backlog which consists of the list of tasks (in Agile, more commonly known as “User Stories”) needed to be implemented for the project’s agreed solution. After the first set of User Stories is created and written, the BA together with the development team, starts discussing them, clarifies the requirements, and creates a development plan by selecting the first set of tasks to be implemented.

The work done by the developers is grouped and planned, according to set priorities, in Sprints - time intervals of usually two weeks in which the development team works on the selected tasks from the Backlog with the goal of delivering a piece of functionality at the end of the period.

The analyst’s job is to always be two steps ahead of the implementation in order to speed up the development time, acting as (co) Product Owner.

Therefore, during the two weeks in which the team implements the clear and most important tasks, the BA works on detailing, clarifying, and writing the rest of the tasks and requirements for the solution.

During the two-week sprint, the whole team meets in a Refinement Meeting and discusses the requirements that are the most important in the Backlog, usually the ones that are going to be selected for the next sprint to be implemented. During this internal meeting, any unclear information written by the BA can be clarified with the client until the next sprint starts so that the team has a Backlog consisting of clear requirements ready to be worked on without any additional discussions or delays

Finally, at the end of the two-week cycle, the development team gets together in a Sprint Review with the client, project manager (Scrum Master), and business analyst (PO), meeting during which they present to the client the piece of working solution they have been implementing for the last two weeks. In this meeting, usually, the client can decide if the solution works as expected or if any adjustments need to be made.

The adjustments can be then discussed and detailed in the Sprint Planning in which the whole project team gathers and selects from the Backlog the most important items that need to be implemented in the next two weeks, including the agreed adjustments from the Review meeting.

And a new cycle begins… another two weeks of development, analysis, and meetings until the agreed working solution is ready to be released into production and bring value to the client’s business.


BAs bring value to a software project by ensuring that it delivers the intended business value, meets client expectations, and achieves its objectives effectively and efficiently.

Business analysts take into account not only the technical aspects of the project but also its broader implications for the business, the end-users, and other relevant factors. The project's objectives, requirements, constraints, risks, and opportunities are all taken into account when detailing the proposed solution and when building the project backlog.

The BA’s activity and communication (with the develoment team and key stakeholders) usually require smooth interdisciplinary collaboration and cooperation, process optimization thinking, and a consideration of the project's wider context when working on creating the proposed solution and detailed requirements.

Context Is Also Important

There’s no single recipe for business analysis, it can vary based on the solution, project type, and client, and can even differ from one BA to another. However, the outcome remains consistent - a functional solution that brings real value to the client, that satisfies their business requirements, and achieves the agreed-upon goals and objectives established at the beginning of the project.

It’s also important to note that not all projects require a BA. The projects consisting only of technical implementations that have little to no business rules don’t need a specialized person writing the tasks for the development team.

But don’t take my word for it! Why not try it once? Try implementing a project with a BA onboard and compare the results regarding the financial value return, the implementation time, and the communication effectiveness.

Let us know your project idea and we'll be thrilled to help you implement it! Contact us and we'll reply as soon as possible.


About the Author

Ioana Popescu

Ioana Popescu is a Business Analyst with 10+ years of experience in IT projects, whose journey started as a Software Developer and who continued her professional journey as a BA for the last 5 years. In her role as a BA working at eSolutions, she helped create and build projects in diverse business domains such as retail, e-commerce, event management, entertainment, business websites, and many others. She is passionate and likes discussions regarding business optimization, and business processes and her attention to detail contributes to the success of the projects and organizations she’s working with.