The role of the business analyst is crucial to the success of the project for a number of reasons.

Business Analysts are generally responsible for gathering business requirements from the business areas and translating/transforming them into functional/non-functional requirements that others can act upon to create/modify computing systems.

This means that Business Analysts must interact with and develop a material level of understanding of the as-is and to-be business processes. It’s more than just conducting interviews and writing requirements documents – it’s really digging in to the subject matter to understand the value being delivered by the products and services. And then it’s really digging in some more to understand the technology that helps deliver that value.

Business Analysts are also perfectly positioned to provide value in the Quality Assurance and Testing efforts of the project. With their expert knowledge of the requirements and the business processes, they can provide insight to building user acceptance test plans and test cases, and help identify and craft test data useful in shaking out systems and validating requirements.

Business Analysts often have one foot in the business world and one foot in the technology world – they help bridge the gap of understanding between business desire and technology capability, helping each discipline understand the other and work out alternative solutions.

When constructing your project teams, carefully consider the role of the business analyst and what they can, and are expected to deliver. Getting this part right will make the rest of your development, whether waterfall, agile or something else, work smoothly with fewer defects and shorter cycle times.