An IT business analyst is a member of a product development team. Such specialists are involved in all stages of the SDLC, from requirements gathering to software launch. They not only connect project teams with customers but also know the peculiarities of products in detail, resolve disputes and advise how this or that software solution should work according to the requirements. They are also an authoritative source of information for QA professionals. Let’s take a closer look at the role of a business analyst in software testing.
Primary responsibilities of a business analyst on a project
A Business Analyst represents an IT outsourcing company team at the first meeting with a customer and remains the main contact person for product development until the end of a project. This specialist informs developers about the client’s interests and makes it possible for the product owner to give feedback on the software. Business Analysts help to carry out business communication, and any project starts from their work. The main responsibilities of these experts can be briefly described in four theses. A Business Analyst
- Helps businesses to study the market and current offers to learn about competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and thus build the best application. Analysing market trends, a Business Analyst foresees what will be relevant for users at the time of product release. As a result, the platform will be interesting for the target audience and function properly from the first day of launch.
- Advises the client on how to develop a product with minimal investment and maximum ROI in the future. Using the results of market research and relying on the capabilities of the client, they offer a “silver bullet” to solve business problems so that the customer achieves the desired goals at a lower cost.
- Prepares documentation for the project which is a kind of “bible” for the development team. Based on it, programmers write code, designers prepare layouts, and testers create test cases. Thanks to the specification, customers track the progress and make sure that the software meets their vision and the project goes according to plan.
- Advises the development team on relevant issues. Such an expert knows more about the product being developed than other team members. This fact makes them the main product consultant who will clarify any requirements.
“But what about testing?” you may ask. Let’s figure it out.
What does a business analyst have to do with software testing?
As we have mentioned above, an IT Business Analyst prepares the basis for a project and launches the work of all team members. Requirements prepared by this specialist become a guideline for developers, testers, and designers. Business Analysts do not directly test the product, but participate in the following procedures:
Preparation of test documentation. A Business Analyst checks the correctness of test cases, helps to generate test data and suggests an improvement plan.
This specialist signs a test plan if authorised to do so and checks if existing scenarios match user stories.
A business analyst prioritises requirements and features and changes the priority if the conditions on the project change.
Such an expert helps to make sure that the detected incorrect behavior of a system is a defect. QA specialists focus on requirements in their work, but if they do not understand certain points, they turn to Business Analysts to clarify the details, examine bugs, and tell if these are bugs indeed or the intended behavior of the program.
This IT professional resolves disputes between developers and testers. Even if the requirements are written and collected, this does not mean that everyone understands them in the same way. A developer and a tester may see the functionality of a feature in different ways, which can lead to arguments about whether this is a defect or a FAD (feature as design). To resolve the situation, a tester also turns to a Business Analyst. Their resolution is considered decisive.
The more accurate and understandable a Business Analyst describes the requirements for a product, the fewer mistakes developers and testers will make. This means that they will complete the work faster, the functionality will not have to be redone, and the project budget won’t be wasted.
The role of a business analyst in testing
An IT business analyst is an authoritative member of a development team, whom QA specialists turn to for advice at any stage of testing. This expert knows the functional and non-functional features of the application being created, so their word on the project is the law. A QA specialist seeks advice from a Business Analyst when conducting:
- Functional testing. A business analyst explains the business logic of the project and points that are incomprehensible to a tester.
- Regression testing. Based on critical business functions, a Business Analyst advises which test cases to include in this testing phase.
- Usability testing. For a business analyst, it is important that the application is as convenient as possible and has demand in the market. This will allow the customer to evaluate the performance of this expert and their foresight. They also recommend to testers how to improve a particular functionality to increase the quality and value of software solutions.
- End-to-end testing. To create end-to-end tests, a QA specialist needs to understand an application, its business logic, and user scenarios. In this case, the tester will be able to use the important details for each function: the correct input data, the exact restrictions, the correct sequence of steps, and different ways to call a function.
- Acceptance testing. A Business Analyst confirms that the product meets the business requirements.
- Beta testing. IT outsourcing company testers are not involved in this type of testing. In this case, real users work with the application. A Business Analyst observes this process, notes what needs to be improved in the product before its release, and makes sure that the application is really valuable.
Thus, a business analyst is not just the owner of the requirements on a project or a translator of a customer’s ideas. Any development team needs this expert at every stage of the SDLC, in particular during software testing. Business Analysts are responsible for quality and compliance with requirements, that’s why they participate in many project activities: from the specification of requirements, and approval of test cases to UAT testing control. Only in this case, the planned functions will be correctly implemented, end-users will be satisfied, and the client will receive the desired profit.