One of the tasks of a Business Analyst (BA) is Solution Validation, as it is defined in the BABOK®. This is usually carried out by supporting the testing phase of the project once the entire solution or one or more features of the solution has completed development. This would depend if you are using the Waterfall or Agile approach to application software development.
The BA should not be executing the testing of the solution, but be supporting the testing effort. However, in reality in many Cincinnati and Dayton organizations, and organizations across the globe; with limited resources the BA is sometimes put in the role of actually performing the testing effort. Whether they actually execute the testing or support the testing effort their main objective in this phase of the project is to validate the solution. The BA accomplishes this goal by identifying acceptance and evaluation criteria, track and investigate issues that come out of the testing effort and performing root cause analysis on defects identified in the testing effort.
Take a step back from the testing phase of the project and realize that while the project was in the development phase, or slightly before, the BA should be engaged and preparing for the testing phase of the application software development project by preparing the test scripts. In preparing the test scripts the BA should ensure that all the business and non-functional requirements of the solution get tested. This process assists in providing requirements traceability from beginning to end; from stakeholder to solution.
In being engaged in this manner in the testing phase of the project, the BA can help ensure that the IT business solution meets the business need on an ongoing basis. This happens by reducing re-work, reducing the number of projects necessary, freeing up project resources and increasing the probability of project success as defined by the business stakeholders and project sponsor.
How does your organization utilize business analysts during the testing phase of the project? Does your organization utilize the Waterfall or Agile approach for application software development projects? Does your organization reap the benefits listed above of engaging the business analyst in solution validation? Please leave your comments to tell me how Cincinnati, Dayton or other business community organizations utilize the BA in the testing phase of the project.