If you were to type ‘business analyst’ into Google you would find a whole host of different descriptions of what the role entails including “developing technical solutions to business problems”, “advancing a company’s sales efforts”, “assessing a business’s integration with technology”, as well as “being a bridge between business problems and technology solutions”. One recurring trend you will find, however, is that most business analyst definitions, in one way or another, describe how the role plays a pivotal part in driving business change.
Here at Ideagen, business analysts (BAs) along with Ideagen’s product designers, work within the development department focusing on driving business change within our products. As business analysts it is our responsibility to dissect and detail problems within our software and bring the whole development team together to find a solution. Ideagen is a product focused business whereby we concentrate on creating and developing best of breed products which benefit all our customers rather than creating bespoke solutions which cater for the few and quickly date. As business analysts, we work every day to ensure Ideagen’s products work in the best way possible to cater for our large and varied customer base. This involves making sure that product enhancements and new features benefit all our product users rather than one or two.
Ideagen’s product managers have overall responsibility for our product roadmaps. They gather ideas for new features and enhancements from a range of sources including customer suggestions, identified technical issues and industry trends. As BAs, one of our main responsibilities is to develop a sound understanding of what product managers really want the product to achieve. It is then our job to work with the team to propose and validate a solution.
To do this, we need to build a story. We do this by whiteboarding. This is when our development team comes together around a whiteboard to share ideas and kickstart our project. During our whiteboarding sessions we try to gather as much detail about each problem and try to answer the following:
- What issue is the customer facing?
- What is the customer trying to do and why?
- What is currently preventing them from doing this?
Once we have built a detailed story and answered these questions, the team can begin to create a solution. On occasion, some features we propose don’t make it into the product and are scrapped. Once explored further, some features are deemed to not be the best fit for the product or may even have negative implications to other key features. We spend a lot of time researching backlog items while the wider team helps by performing usability tests, experimenting with UI prototypes and investigating feasibility studies. At any point during this work the decision can be taken to stop and to scrap the feature.
Although it can be frustrating going back to the drawing board (or in our case the whiteboard…) this means we only push the strongest and most viable features through to development. Our process helps us to ensure that all our features are spot on before we hand over to development, meaning that no precious implementation time is wasted.
Throughout this whole process, business analysts are on hand to answer any questions that may arise from the wider team, ensuring quick responses and continued clarity on requirements. We react quickly to any changes required to help prevent any bottlenecks in the development of new features. Due to this process we are confident that all features added to our products will benefit our customers in their daily use of our products.
BAs across all businesses drive change in one way or another. Here at Ideagen we are proud of how we, as business analysts, drive change for the better of our products, the business and our growing customer base.
If you are interested in becoming a business analyst at Ideagen, please keep an eye on our current vacancies for any opportunities.