We sat down with our Business Analyst - Barry to understand the relationship between IT and business and how data analytics is used to assess processes and determine requirements.  

What is the role of a business analyst in software development projects at Mobile Wave Solutions?

A Business Analyst can provide many different functions in different business types and verticals. In a software company, the most likely function is analysing the requirements and feasibility of a product, application or platform to be developed. An effective business analyst makes it his or her business to understand the product under development and bridge any gap between the customer's Product Owner and the development and QA teams. 

At Mobile Wave Solutions, I have a vital role in communication with the client and internal team to ensure that everyone understands the requirements clearly. This includes challenging the client when necessary and also addressing any concerns the developers or QA may have about any given topic. It is key for me to be approachable, friendly and able to engage with different types of personalities.

How do you approach a new client, project and what are the first things you want to know about it?

As mentioned, the first step is to understand the product and to know how it is used - and to really understand the end goals of the customer. The way we approach doing this is to try, if at all possible, to have a scoping workshop with all the key stakeholders to 'kick-off'. A workshop can cut out some unknowns later in the project and make sure that both Mobile Wave Solutions and the client are on the same page in regards to the deliverable. It does not have to go into specific details of every single requirement and technical aspect, but if all parties are aligned on the overall goal of an app/website/game from the early stages, it can cut out a lot of confusion at a later stage. 

How does a client's use of your expertise change over the duration of a project/relationship?

In the initial phase of a project one of my key functions is in confirming a common understanding of the project's requirements and end-goals. As the project moves along its lifecycle, this evolves into a communication and requirements-refinement process and helps to agree and document the inevitable changes. Towards the end of a project, or after, a BA can then often become an extension of the customer's Product team - understanding a Product and helping to shape its ongoing evolution.

For example, we have been building a sportsbook app for a Polish client. Sportsbooks, by and large across the world, share the same fundamental functionalities. However, certain jurisdictions can have certain compliance/regulatory requirements that need to be implemented. It’s important to try and get an awareness of this as early as possible. Knowing that Poland has a certain tax rate on gaming related activity has been crucial to how we have built the app.

Why do you think Mobile Wave Solutions has such a focus of including a BA within a project team?

Customers can often look to have Mobile Wave Solutions’ advice on technical matters and questions of feasibility. As such, my role is vital in creating and maintaining a collaborative, proactive and progressive customer face and relationship. Our company  has a world class development team and their time is best spent coding. A BA’s role in answering as many technical questions as possible without the need of developer collaboration can greatly enhance the efficiency of work. 

We also have expertise on fundamental items around the Google Play and Apple Store, with all of the app submission requirements around them. These non-functional requirements are important to understand for a BA to relay to the team, especially in the gaming industry where rules differ from country to country.

How do you see your role evolving over time?

Looking forward, the opportunities for myself are created really by the aims of me, it is a role with such broad scope that it can, to an extent, be self-defined. I may look to use my special understanding of a specific industry vertical to be a BA-Product-Specialist for that - and the same would apply to technology advancements. Or, I may look to focus my talents on the administrative, intra-team communications and become a BA-PM

A 'deep-dive' into the motivation for the project, the detailed requirements and the technical questions of how they might be delivered. Typically, a given day would involve engagement with the client on certain topics, documenting them in a clear manner that the entire team can understand, and then working with the team to ensure that what has been delivered is what both the client  and ourselves expect. Changes occur - sometimes an API will throw up expected behaviours etc. - so we need to expect this and be able to respond to them when needed.