What Do Business Analysts Actually Do for Software Implementation Projects?


Everyone knows who the business analysts are in their organization, but not everyone knows what they actually do and what they are responsible for during software implementation projects.

Anyone who has ever worked on a complex and lengthy software development project knows that the involvement of a business analyst can mean the difference between success and failure. And that involvement starts at the very beginning of a project.

Generally speaking, most business analysts "own the requirements processes," where they work with key line-of-business executives and users on just what it is they want from a new application, says Carey Schwaber, a senior analyst of application development at Forrester Research .

"If you believe that software projects succeed or fail based on the quality of the requirements," Schwaber says, "then you believe that software projects succeed or fail on the basis of business analysts, too."

Beyond gathering requirements, however, the other important duties inherent to the business analyst role (besides being a good communicator) are still not well-known today. In fact, according to Schwaber and fellow Forrester analyst Rob Karel, not many people, including business analysts themselves, have determined a standard definition (complete with typical skill sets, proper training methods and set career paths) for the business analyst position. Business analysts, for instance, are also known as: business systems analysts, business technology analysts, system analysts or requirements analysts.

"Everyone agrees on the importance of the business analyst role," Schwaber and Karel write in a recent report, "but few know exactly what it is that business analysts do." 

Author: Thomas Wailgum



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