It is common knowledge that millions of ideas appear every minute throughout the world. The same innovation may even come to multiple people simultaneously. So when you're blessed with a good product idea, you would likely need a product team to implement it. Because user experience is one of the most critical aspects of your product success, it is important to have expert professionals on board, and Cieden can help you with that.
If your product team is struggling to define requirements and create a clear understanding of the final product, here is when the BA role comes into play.
This article will describe the importance of the Business Analyst role during the design process within a product design agency.
Video version of the article:
Types of Business Analysts
There are different types of projects and specific Business Analyst roles for each. Here is a list of the most common types:
Business Process Analyst is an IT professional specialized in analyzing business processes and workflows whose goal is to improve or automate whenever possible.
Requirements Analyst works with project stakeholders and end-users to bridge the gap between the business and technology and is in charge of eliciting, documenting, and analyzing requirements.
System Analyst helps to design and create a solution by working with the technical team and putting together all the specifications that the solution requires.
Data Analyst is a professional who focuses on analysis and problem-solving related to data, types of data, and relationships among data elements.
User Experience Analyst is responsible for creating the user interface look and feel, user interaction considering efficiency and ease of use, and understanding the end-users’ behavior.
So the Business Analyst in the product design agency includes the responsibilities of all the above Analysts, as well as some Product Manager roles (such as defining Product Vision, creating a Product Roadmap, conducting market and user research).
Now let us break it down based on one of our recent products.
The context: product and our goal
I’ve just begun my career path as a BA at Cieden, and the first project I was involved with will surely be memorable. I hoped for it to be innovative and disruptive, and it just so happened that it was.
The client currently works with some of the top Silicon Valley companies. They outlined an idea to create a smart ecosystem for a simple and safe delivery process across the US market.
Startup entrepreneurs, as it usually happens, want to gain funding and start full-cycle work. Our goal for this project was to create a prototype to be used in a demo presentation to investors.
Initially, it looks like we need to provide a design solution, but understanding the business objectives is significant here.
Before we start: What to expect from a Business Analyst startup project
In short, the main tasks for the Business Analyst/Product manager in a startup project are to understand the market capacity and dynamics, quickly gain domain knowledge and validate solution hypothesis market fit. A Business Analyst facilitates feature prioritization with all the stakeholders and frames scope for a minimum viable product (MVP).
Thanks to the Business Analyst, the process becomes more focused on the end-user and the future scenario.
Where do we start?
One of the most important things at the very beginning is to conduct discovery. From our viewpoint, this involves a process of collecting and analyzing information about the project, its intended market, and audience. The Discovery Phase allows us to get a well-rounded and in-depth understanding of the goals, scope, limitations, and the end-users needs and requirements.
Despite the fact our task was only to create screens for the demo presentation, we began by gaining general market understanding and domain knowledge. Lucky for us, our clients have done their homework very well. They conducted primary research, figured out, and shared with us a clear vision of the product. Because of its uniqueness, this product will face no competition, and the client will cooperate with all similar products on the market.
Our team was able to strengthen this position. We followed up and adjusted the process to get the best results. Here is the process we aim for here at Cieden:
How do we conduct the research
Carrying out market research for a startup is our greatest priority, as it helps founders make knowledgeable decisions before launching. It generally takes a lot of time and effort to perform an in-depth market analysis. To win in the long run, entrepreneurs must understand the general market situation and domain execution within which the startup is working.
At Cieden, each process and project begins with research, allowing us to dig deeper into the domain context, ensure that all business needs and objectives are understood, map the current solutions and analyze their pros and cons. The Business Analyst is solely responsible for this part of the project.
What were we looking for?
General market situation and its capabilities
Competitors and existing products
Potential users and their routines
We gather material from different sources, structure, and pull data to gain further insight. All relevant information is mapped using cloud-based whiteboards, which team members and stakeholders can easily share.
At this point, it is also necessary to become familiar with users. User research helps us to understand how people go about performing tasks and achieving goals that are important to them. It gives us context and perspective and puts us in a position to respond with useful, simplified, and productive design solutions.
We strive to conduct both qualitative research, in the form of user interviews, and quantitative research as in surveys/questionnaires. These tools are extremely useful during the research phase, as they allow us to speak directly to users, get responses to specific questions, and validate our hypothesis.
Let’s talk about the solution
As soon as the Business Analyst had collected all necessary data, analyzed the competitors, and interviewed users, it was time to move forward.
Now we can brainstorm with clients and the team to prioritize essential features based on delivered value, create MVP scope, and define the product roadmap.
Initially, we created a product mind map — a visual representation of a system and its processes. The Business Analyst, in cooperation with designers, brainstormed all potential solutions ideas. The mind map tool helps us to structure this data.
We figured out a Product Vision Statement, which describes the overarching long-term mission of the product. This document is essential because it serves as a guide and reminder to all stakeholders involved in a product’s development (design team, development, the executive staff, marketing, etc.) about the shared objective they’re trying to achieve.
Based on the current solutions and user interviews, we found gaps in the existing products and suggested improvements. This is called the TO-BE state. We’ve created a new process for dealing with user needs using a customer journey framework, where we foresee the issues that could happen and try to avoid them.
Finally, I can mention the BA support during the implementation phase. We provide client documentation ready to use by developers, work breakdown structure of all the scope, use cases or user stories (depends on what the technical team requires), and acceptance criteria for each feature.
We also upload all the relevant research materials, interview insights, solution vision, product roadmap, and upload design files to the client's account.
In the 4 years since Cieden was founded, we've completed more than 200 disruptive products in different domains, with various capacities and permanent innovations. If you have an idea and look for a product design agency, Cieden would be happy to help you, and I would be happy to provide BA services.
Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org now and let's get to work.