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From requirements specification to complex business analysis: interview with a1qa head of BA

Check how we at a1qa converge business knowledge with IT skills to deliver maximum value. 
17 August 2017
Interviews
QA consulting
The article by a1qa
a1qa

a1qa has made a 14-year journey in software testing and quality assurance market. The company’s core services include full cycle of testing, test automation, QA audit.

Although software testing plays a central role in a1qa business, it’s not the only viable service after all. The company invests in development of new services as well, going beyond software testing.

One of such services is business analysis. To find out why and how the SQA company has grown to establish its own BA Department, we’ve talked to Anton Trizna, Head of the Department.

Anton, tell us a bit how you got to where you are today.

I started my career as a software testing engineer at a1qa testing applications with complex business logic. Sometimes, I documented requirements and prepared requirements specification for the software. To join the BA team at a1qa, I underwent professional training and obtained diploma in BA. Years later, I was promoted to the Head of the Department.

If you were asked to outline the business analysts’ role in a software development project, how would you do this?

We talk a lot (laughing). In fact, we bridge business units with IT departments to make sure the developed software will meet the requirements. I’m proud to note that despite its novelty, our service at a1qa has already earned positive reputation with such clients as Gazprom Neft, Aeroflot, etc.

Do all the clients realize the importance of BA in the project?

Unfortunately, many clients underestimate the value of BA in a project, but building up accurate requirements is the basis for implementation of high-quality software. The fuller specified requirements to the system are, the less rework leading to extra costs will be required on the last stages of development.

How many BA specialists are there onboard at a1qa?

Currently, our BA team consists of 12 people and we are planning to expand the staff soon. Our new BAs come through the educational program during their probation period and pass the final exam to meet our standards. The training program is based on real-world BA tasks that are modelled to evaluate the knowledge and skills of a candidate, to teach basic BA technics and to see the progress of the candidate.

What business domains do you specialize in?

We’ve gained vast experience across multiple domains, including such specific areas as oil mining and production.

What are the strong sides of your team?

Among a1qa business analysts main advantages are quick adaptation to client’s conditions and close interaction within all stages of the project delivery. Our specialists often go on business trips to have onsite meetings with a client, investigate business processes, and elicit requirements establishing effective communication with stakeholders.

Let’s touch upon your work. What will the client get ordering the BA service at a1qa?

The most common scenario of engaging our specialists looks like this: the customer wishes to solve some business problem by developing an IT solution. They possess some idea of how it may work but that’s it. Here come BAs. We conduct requirements elicitation, analyze them, document, and test them. Upon the client’s demand, we can also participate in user acceptance testing and verify whether the solution has been developed as required.

Speaking precisely, our activities usually include the following steps:

  • Requirements elicitation, analysis and specification
  • Creating static and dynamic UI prototypes
  • Analysis of “as is” state of the business processes and modelling of the “to be” state
  • Consultations on the selection and implementation of an IT system that provides an optimal business solution
  • Requirements implementation control on all stages of the project
  • Requirements management: evaluating change requests for IT solutions and documentation update
  • Maintenance of reworks on the development and testing stage
  • Review of a project or technical documentation, requirements testing

Could you please elaborate the requirements testing service?

Our BA Department offers assistance in software requirements testing. Requirements testing is a process of requirements validation against such quality criteria as completeness, correctness, consistency, feasibility, unambiguity and so on. The purpose of such activity is to find bugs in the requirements specification in order to prevent their leakage to production.

Based on our experience in preparing requirements specifications, we identify potential defects that may be found in the documented requirements and devise the approach to the requirements testing.

When testing, QA specialists provide customers with regular reports on the delivered work and state of quality. What about BA? What artifacts do you prepare?

Among the artefacts that we prepare are the following:

  • Vison & Scope Document or Business Requirements Document that covers all business objectives and high-level business requirements and defines the scope of the future solution.
  • User Requirements Document describes user requirements using Use Cases or User Stories.
  • Software Requirements Specification/Requirements specification of different levels of detail in which functional and non-functional requirements are described.

If agile methodologies are implemented, BAs create Epics and decompose them to User Stories that are prioritized in the backlog and provided to the dev team.

Our BA team aims to keep up-to-date with new BA technics and tools. Tools that are new to the market are applied to check their efficiency and applicability in communication, modelling, prototyping, etc. Our BAs visit specialized conferences and seminars to improve their knowledge and skills and try their strengths in sharing their experience. Every year our specialists participate in the International Conference named Analyst Days, the largest one in Eastern Europe on System and Business Analysis.

Thank you Anton.

Get in touch with a1qa today to learn how the combination of software testing and business analysis will take your business to new heights.

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