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Dr. David Shepherd has studied software tools at U of Delaware, developed tools at Tasktop Technologies, and is now doing some of both at ABB Corporate Research, where he has a chance to impact the thousands of developers that ABB employs. His articles are focused on helping developers increase their personal productivity by harnessing available software tools. David is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 11 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

It Takes A Village … Business Analysts: The Unsung Heroes

07.09.2013
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Originally authored by Nicole Bryan

Over the course of my career I’ve seen a lot of teams structured in a lot of different ways using a lot of different methodologies.  But the ones that were successful always had one thing in common … a deep understanding that there are a variety of roles that have to be in place to deliver great software products to customers.  My motto … it takes a village to deliver great products!

The Business Analyst is one of the roles that often is under-appreciated but can deliver significant benefits.  I’ve always wondered why that is the case.  After all, the goal is to keep your developers and testers focused on what they’re there for – coding “magical things” – but you need to make sure they code the right “magical things”!  Business analysts are, in my opinion, the unsung heroes who do just that.

It takes a unique combination of skills to effectively capture the needs of your customers and creatively translate those needs into what to add to or change about your product.  When a BA successfully does, they are essentially handing to the developers the proverbial “silver platter” – the developers can then “work their magic” using their creativity and innovation to bring those needs to life.

You may be thinking … “Really?  Even for back-end integration software?  Shouldn’t dev teams know what to build innately?“ Ironically, we see the value of business analysis even more for technically difficult and largely “under the covers” software like ours.  Precisely because it is so technical and behind the scenes we find it is even easier to get lost in the weeds and code the wrong “magical things” or code the “magical things” incorrectly or with short sightedness.  If we deliver a great technical solution but forget to meet the use case our customers need, that great technical solution doesn’t really matter.

One part UN Ambassador, one part translator, one part designer, one part information organizer – the role itself is fabulously varied and requires a very broad skill set.  If you tried to map out a day in the life of a business analyst, I’m not sure you could because the days are so different!

Here at Tasktop, we take the “it takes a village” motto very seriously as we believe that by recognizing the different skills sets and contributions each of the different roles brings, we maintain our competitive edge – and deliver better product to our customers.  To that end, we are expanding our team of business analysts.  Check out our job description – join our village and help us build the right “magical things”.


Published at DZone with permission of David Shepherd, author and DZone MVB. (source)

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