8 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Business Analyst Before Starting a New Project

In a perfect business world, the resources you need for a project and the amount of money you have to spend on it would be endless. You would also want to have the best possible resources available to use whenever you need them.

But our world isn’t perfect, and resources are not endless and free. Instead, we need to manage budgets carefully and find resources that are affordable. There are a number of ways businesses can reduce their outgoings. One way that businesses can reduce the amount of money spent on a new project is to devise a plan that involves getting the right professionals on board at the right time. Having professionals involved in a project when they’re not needed will cost a lot of money. Instead, you should work out which professionals you will need at each stage of the project and employ them then.

However, that being said, there are some people that we need onboard throughout the project. Not employing the right professionals in order to save money could negatively impact the success of your project. One of the professionals you need throughout your project is a business analyst. Here are the main reasons why you should hire a business analyst before you begin:

1. A Business Analyst Will Communicate with the Project Client

The project client will have questions they want to know the answer to – both technical and nontechnical. Most businesses are able to answer the non-technical questions without any help, however, it’s always nice to have a business analyst at hand when the trickier technical questions are asked. Having a business analyst on your team will increase the chances of you meeting your clients project needs.

2. There Will Be a Number of Technical Questions to Answer

Technical questions will often be sent back to the project team after a new project has been launched and then it will be handled by the SMEs (subject matter experts) and the project customers. But there will also be a number of technical questions asked before and during the launch of a new project.

In some cases, a project manager may be able to deal with these questions, but having a business analyst on board to help advise is definitely a good idea. Business analysts are extremely good at keeping the discussion open between the:

  • SMEs
  • Project customer
  • Project manager

Business analysts will help to identify potential problems quickly and come up with ways to resolve them.

3. Next Steps Involve Requirements

The next steps after a project has been launched usually involve:

  • A business process review
  • Discovery
  • As-is and to-be planning
  • Project documentation
  • Project requirements

If you hire a business analyst from the start of your project, they will be able to help you with:

  • The SOW (statement of work)
  • The draft project schedule
  • The discussions that take place when you first introduce your new project

They will also be involved further down the line including:

  • Documenting real, detailed, complex requirements
  • The technical design documents
  • Helping to come up with any solutions to problems you face

4. Preparation Includes the Product Schedule

A business analyst will be on hand to help you add value to your initial schedule. The initial schedule will be drafted before a project is released. Most businesses don’t review their initial project schedule in detail during this period, but once your initial schedule is released, it will be in your clients hands. The more detail you are able to put into the schedule, the more your customers will understand it. This will help them feel more confident about the ability of your delivery team. First impressions are extremely important.

Lots of businesses believe that their project manager should be able to handle any customer queries and also add value to an initial schedule, but business analysts usually have superior knowledge. The input of a business analyst can be extremely beneficial if you’re wanting to make a good impression and show that you know what you’re talking about.

5. Business Analysts Help to Reduce the Possibility of Miscommunication and Misinterpretation of Questions

Project managers should usually be able to deal with any miscommunications and misinterpretations, but it’s always handy to have a business analyst on your side to help to:

  • Represent the technical team
  • Are continually thinking about the technological side which allows your project manager to concentrate on the next steps of the project and the organisation

Having a business analyst on your team will help to reduce the possibilities of miscommunication or misinterpretation.

6. Business Analysts Help to Add Precision to the Estimates

A good business analyst can help add precision to your draft project schedule. This schedule is more than just a draft schedule; it is the living, breathing, active schedule your company will be using and will hopefully need no more than minor changes made to it after it’s been released.

A business analyst will work alongside your project manager and help make estimates in your project schedule more accurate. Many project managers consider themselves to be good estimators, but in many cases, a business analyst will be able to help make these estimates even more accurate. Having accurate estimates is always important when it comes to starting a new project. It will help you see if your project is achievable and whether or not it’s likely to be successful.

7. Business Analysts Help Make Project Managers Look Good

Competent business analysts can really help your project manager look good. Project managers have a number of roles including:

  • Organising resources
  • Managing the project team
  • Creating project status reports
  • Managing issues
  • Running weekly project meetings
  • Managing risks
  • Managing finances
  • Managing the project schedule

Having a business analyst on your team can help ensure that all communications with the technical team are handled well and the delivery goes without problems. This can really help make your project manager look good.

Business analysts help sort out technical issues that may occur during the project. They will help identify the problems and then research and solve them to make sure that the project isn’t delayed. While business analysts aren’t usually responsible for the testing of these issues or the coding, they will oversee the issues until they are fixed and make sure they are dealt with effectively and quickly.

8. Business Analysts Help Improve Communication

Business analysts are brilliant communicators. A good business analyst is able to communicate effectively with people at all levels of an organisation. Business analysts are able to answer almost any technical question that is asked and put it into terms that can be understood. If a client asks a technical question, a business analyst will be able to explain the answer to them without making it too hard to understand. This will leave your clients feeling more satisfied and comfortable. It also helps them to feel like they are involved with the project.

Hiring a Business Analyst

Finding the right business analyst for your project can be tricky because it’s often hard to define what skills and experience you’re looking for. Business analysts can play a huge role in project development. They fill the gap between the customers and the IT department. They are often employed to help come up with solutions to problems, but they often don’t get handson.

Working in this role can be extremely tough, but hiring someone to fill this gap can be equally as tricky. While experience and technical knowledge can be a big help, it’s often hard to work out what will be useful for the project and what won’t. Many businesses look for the following when hiring a business analyst:

  • Relevant experience
  • Knowledge of a similar area of IT
  • Internal candidates/outside candidates – businesses often look internally first to see if they already have an employee who can fill the position. Employers often prefer internal candidates as they already know how hard they work and whether theyre capable of fulfilling the role. Another popular option is to train a current employee to fit this role. For those who wish to incorporate analytics into their current position, this post from Aston University Online outlines how it can be used in different career paths. Training a current employee is a brilliant idea as they will know your business better than potential candidates who don’t currently work for your organisation.
  • The ability to document appropriately
  • Problemsolving skills
  • Knowledge of the industry
  • Basic skills – the ability to produce a presentation, understand conferencing software, set up meetings, etc.
  • Motivated individuals
  • Good communication skills

In many cases, business analysts help increase the chances of a project being successful. Unlike the members of your tech team, who aren’t able to do much until the project has started and the design has begun, a business analyst can prove to be a valuable resource from the start. Business analysts can help give project managers the time they need to concentrate on the administrative and planning side of the project.