Role of a Business Analyst in UAT

15 Jul 2016
Harish Mani
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A Business Analyst plays a vital role in any software development phase. BA does requirements gathering for development of software. It is very critical to understand the business needs and the kind of components which need to go in the system to be built. For this purpose to be served; the business analyst needs to step into the user’s shoes, have a thorough knowledge of the domain and be detail oriented. UAT is one of the important phases of software development life cycle, after which on receiving a sign-off, the system goes live. Once the software or the system is developed, it undergoes various stages of testing and UAT is one of the testing stages performed by the business users. The ultimate goal is to build a system which meets the requirements specified by the business and a system which is bug-free.
Importance of Business Analyst in UAT
  • The Business Analyst is a bridge between the business side and the development team. The development team solely relies on a BA to developthe software as far as the functionality and the components of the system are concerned. A gap in understanding can lead to gaps in the system. There are various important reasons for involving a business analyst in UAT.
  • As already stated above, BA understands the functional working of the software and has the know-how to validate the system. The fact that the system has been built as per the requirements specification, doesn’t make it acceptable. A sign-off from the stakeholders is necessary for this. BA and the stakeholders work mutually towards this.
  • When testing comes into picture; test cases are prepared which are performed during UAT by the business users. Test cases help in getting a real time understanding of the functioning of the system developed. A business analyst helps in achieving this.
  • UAT checks the effectiveness and efficiency of the system. When a BA is involved in UAT, he can help clear the doubts and questions of the users during testing sessions, as he is the one with end-to-end functional knowledge of the system.
  • UAT also helps in zeroing down if any new feature or functionality needs to be incorporated in the software. The rationale behind the necessity of the new feature is evaluated by the business analyst and Change Advisory Board together, along with other business stakeholders.
  • If any errors are discovered during UAT, which impose risk on the working of the system and have a high impact on the functioning of other modules, they are rectified or undergo change management (depending on the severity of the error). A business analyst helps in determining the severity of the errors.
  • UAT helps the users in checking if the system is running smoothly as per the specifications and expectations. This helps in avoiding any drastic changes to the system once it has gone live. The presence of a BA helps in ensuring the precision of the software.
Conclusion
The involvement of a business analyst depends on the type of organisation and the type of project. In any case, it is important that a business analyst has commendable analytical skills, should wear his thinking cap when decision making is concerned, should be detail oriented and knowledgeable about the business domain. If not, then a good research work always helps. Having a business analyst involved during User Acceptance Testing will not only help in making the business users properly understand the working of the system, but also aid in supporting the training, find out the loopholes and give a proper solution or a mitigation plan for the same.

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