Betiana is the Head of QA and BA at Making Sense and this is her first article in our blog. She is a Systems Engineer from UNICEN and has a postgraduate in Project Management and an Specialization in Information Systems. She also loves pottery and is a Professor in Visual Arts.

Since I started working at Making Sense, I noticed we have a very unique way of working. In this article, we give you an in-depth look at the steps our team members follow, from the initial phases through development and launch.

A big part of this is our Development Framework, which our clients can view here. We’ve also discussed our Discovery Process in this previous post.

In this part of the series, we’ll take a look at the Business Analysis efforts our team carries out not only during the Discovery process, but the Building and Evolving phases as well. Business Analysis is an important step, and is a priority for us at Making Sense. When we start working with our clients, our Development Framework is what actually goes on behind the scenes with our team in a project. Inside each three phases there are multiple steps that led to a successful implementation of the final product to their satisfaction.  Today, we’ll explain the activities we go through to better get to know our clients, and how this impacts our work.

Discovery phase

At the beginning of the project, the Business Analyst (BA) starts with a discussion with the Product Owner (PO) about what the client expects from the application. These talks center around the functionalities that the users should have, as opposed to how these features will actually be developed. The analyst should realize the business need behind the user scenarios provided by the PO. A List of Requirements is the result of this effort. From here, the requirements can be refined, validated and prioritized.

Based on the Requirements List, the BA establishes User Stories that detail the User Scenarios that are going to be created by the development team. The analyst works closely with UX/UI analysts during this time. User Stories and Wireframes/Comps are complementary: User Stories contain the description of the expected behavior and Wireframes/Comps show how these behaviors should look.

At the beginning, stories are written with a high-level approach to enable the best understanding of how development is going to be organized, and to give priority to certain scenarios over others. The User Stories are organized into the Project Backlog, which also contains the initial Project Scope.

Building and Evolving phase

Next, the BA adds information to the stories including Business Rules, Acceptance Criteria and any other information useful for development and testing. Each story must be validated with the PO to ensure that the description created by the team matches what PO has in mind. If it doesn’t, the team must make the appropriate adjustments or corrections before development can start. This way, any addition rework is avoided. The PO also provides feedback at this point in the process to help prioritize the backlog, always with the team’s support – in some cases, there are dependencies or technical limitations that have to be discussed with PO.

A Sprint Backlog is then created by taking a group of stories from Project Backlog. During planning, the Project Team estimates each story and assigns Story Points to reflect the complexity that developing the story will involve. The BA supports the team here, explaining the functionality described in the Story and helping to answer any questions.

While developers are working on estimated stories during the spring, the analyst works on stories for the next sprint, validating with PO and Project Team when necessary.

New requirements can be added to the project at any time, but once a sprint starts, Stories should remain stable. If the PO wants to make a change, a new story or an improvement is added to the Backlog, which will require additional estimates and development.

At the end of the Sprint, the application is demonstrated to the PO. The BA takes any comments and feedback from this demo to the team, and a Backlog Grooming is made. Stories are adjusted accordingly and a new Sprint can begin.

Business Analysis: Ensuring expectations are met

Our Business Analysis process offers several benefits, not just for our team of developers, but for our clients as well. Here, we can ensure that our team fully understands what the PO is looking for, and that their feedback is incorporated and addressed every step of the way.

To find out more about BA, contact us today.