Business Analysts are Important to Digital Health Development Architecture

Blog / Business Analysts are Important to Digital Health Development Architecture

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    Sheraz Sarwar
    Sheraz SarwarDecember 10, 2021

    I ensure that our clients & developers are happy as we build exciting products.

    Few can dispute the value of business analysts to any digital health software development project. They clarify the defined objectives of the business into a set of clearly defined goals.

    They translate desired features into carefully mapped functionality specifications.

    And they have the challenging task of managing the flow of information between stakeholders and the developers. All the while managing the expectations of both.

    While CI/CD may not be the obvious place to find business analysts, their involvement is essential.

    Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery both require attention to detail and high quality of work. A high standard of coding, functionality and performance has to be there from the outset.

    With so much emphasis on developers and DevOps, it’s easy to overlook the role of the business analyst once the project is effectively delivered.

    But in reality, business analysts apply their talents for insight, quality and business acumen to ensure the work is delivered to the highest standards.

    The financial impact of poor CI/CD

    Undirected, undifferentiated development burns more budget than we realise. Not only on the projects the developers are working on, but also on the projects they should have moved on to.

    Without clear direction, developers find busy work that invariably falls out of their core set of skills. Or their assigned area of the project. This inevitably leads to problems further down the road as mistakes get made and the app or solution is full of bugs.

    The more downtime you have or time spent unpicking bad code, the more revenue you lose. 

    Lower developer productivity also tends to impact the quality of the software. Essentially developers are at their best when they have clear instructions and a clear objective. The code suffers when they don’t know what they’re building or what it’s for.

    This has a knock-on effect concerning employee satisfaction and staff retention. This is a big problem as, thanks to the skills shortage, developers can afford to be choosy. 

    If they don’t feel they’re being given the tools or structure to succeed they’ll simply leave.

    Introducing a business analyst to work with DevOps can help to provide the structure needed so developers can do their jobs.

    Business Analyst

    Business Analysts think Beyond Software

    The measurement of success is different depending on your perspective. For developers, it’s the completion of the project. DevOps measures whether or not the project was delivered on time and within budget. For investors or shareholders, it’s how much money the project made.

    Business analysts will be looking at all of those things as well as how well the product was received. The next step is identifying how the requirements can be conceptualized better so that those features are more useful.

    This subtle difference in mindset makes business analysts invaluable during any stage of a project’s lifecycle.

    The emphasis is on delivering value, rather than simply goal delivery. Rather it changes the parameters of what it means to hit a goal.

    Delivering the most value rather than just delivery should be the measure of success. To put it another way, the emphasis should lie in feature value, rather than just delivering the feature.

    Ultimately this wider perspective serves the entire organization as better products mean an increase in sales. By reframing the requirements of any application, software or firmware to focus on the success reframes the process too.

    Continuous feedback should be an integrated part of any continuous development or integration. Business analysts can look at how the features on an app are used. They can determine what features are most used, barely used, or never used.

    Linked to this is to continually review and remove obsolete or incomplete features that are no longer required. Building in code ‘just in case’ is a common enough habit among developers but it is almost always pointless.

    Scopes change and with an app that is always being integrated, those potential features will inevitably get superseded by others. Business analysts can challenge developers to review and remove these features ultimately improving the solution.

    Continuous Feedback

    The scope of projects can change suddenly due to the changing needs of the client, or their customers. Or a specific feature validation has resulted in a large proportion of your assumptions being wrong.

    It can be frustrating and even a little demoralising. Especially if your team has progressed quite far with the project.

    Business analysts can mitigate this by overseeing shorter than usual feedback cycles. This takes a lot of the guesswork out of the process and makes it easier to adapt the app’s functionality. 

    Business Analyst

    It also saves time and money too. Getting stuck down a developmental dead-end takes a considerable amount of time and effort to reverse. If you’re working to tight deadlines and budgets that can be a problem.

    A business analyst’s role is to monitor budgets and timelines so preventing these issues should naturally fall to them. 

    Your business analyst can put measures in place so your development team knows if they’re going in the right direction. They can also build the methodology around validating assumptions about your solution. 

    Each time you go through this process you will build up a clearer understanding of what the end-user would benefit from. By extension, you get a clear idea of what success for your project looks like.

    This process of continuous feedback and iteration brings you incrementally closer to producing a product that can deliver the most value.

    A Critical Tool for Digital Health Development

    The better the structure around your DevOps and CI/CD the more effective the process will be. Developers will be working on the app rather than maintenance and they’ll write the code faster.

    They’ll also be writing code that solves a defined need or problem rather than coding almost for the sake of it.

    This adds up to faster development, rapid innovation and a competitive edge in a crowded marketplace. That makes your product more profitable, sooner.

    To put a world-class business analyst on your project, hire one of ours. Get in touch with a member of the team today.


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