BA interview questions & material

1)What is a business analyst?what does it take to be a business analyst?

Ans : Business Analysis is the task of understanding business change needs, assessing the business impact of those changes, capturing, analysing and documenting requirements and supporting the communication and delivery of requirements with relevant stakeholders."
The business analyst role is often seen as a communication bridge between IT and the business stakeholders. Business analysts must be great verbal and written communicators, tactful diplomats, problem solvers, thinkers and analysers - with the ability to engage with stakeholders to understand and respond to their needs in rapidly changing business environments. This can often involve dealing with very senior stakeholders and can often involve challenging and questioning to ensure that value for money is achieved from IT developments.

                    A business analyst does not need to have an IT background although it can help to have some basic understanding of how IT systems work. Some business analysts come from a technical or programming background but they will often come from within the business itself - having a detailed knowledge of the business domain can be equally useful (if not more so!)

2)Why Have Business Analysts?Why have many traditional organizations adopted the idea of having Business Analysts on staff?

Ans : There are three general reasons, all of which I believe are misguided:

1)Developers can't elicit requirements. The common stereotype is that developers don't have the communication and modeling skills necessary to elicit requirements effectively, and sometimes they don't even have the inclination to do so. At best this is a self-fulfilling prophecy: if you believe that developers can't do this sort of work then you won't give them the training nor the opportunities to gain the skills on the job. My experience is that it is possible to train all but one or two percent of developers in the sort of communication skills and business knowledge required to successfully perform business analysis, although that doesn't imply that all of them understand that this is important nor does it imply that they want to gain these skills.

2)Stakeholders can't model and document their own requirements. In one respect this is true, particularly when stakeholders aren't given any sort of training or support. With the use of inclusive tools and techniques, and with a bit of training, stakeholders can become active participants in the development efforts. Yes, project stakeholders still need someone to guide and facilitate their efforts, but they can do the majority of the work.

3)You need analysis experts. You definitely need to do analysis, but whether you need someone who just does that is a really big assumption. Agile developers are generalizing specialists, people with one or more specialties, a general understanding of the software process, and a knowledge of the domain. One of their specialties might be in analysis, or then again it might not. It is unreasonable to expect everyone to be an expert at every aspect of software development, but it is reasonable to expect IT professionals to have some analysis skills and for some people to have deep skill in this activity (amongst many of their skills).

3)How will a BA gather requirements if the business object is to build equity trading system?

Ans : Techniques for Requirement Gathering:
  • Requirement Walkthrough or Discovery Session with Business Stakeholders (or SMEs)
  • Brainstorming
  • Interview
  • Questionnaire / Survey
  • Document Analysis
  • Observation such as Job Shadowing
  • Prototyping
  • Interface Analysis
  • Focus Group
4)Tell me some of the common tools that a business analyst uses?

Ans: There are several tools a Business Analyst is using for different purposes. Like:
  • SOFTWARE: MS World, PURPOSE: Functional Specifications, Requirements Documents, Vision Document, Business Case.
  • SOFTWARE: MS Excel, PURPOSE: Capacity planning, Traceability, Data Analysis.
  • SOFTWARE: MS Visio, PURPOSE: Process Models, Use Case Models, Domain Models (Class Diagram), Sequence Diagrams.
  • SOFTWARE: ErWin, PURPOSE: Entity Relationship Diagrams.
  • SOFTWARE: MS PowerPoint, PURPOSE: Present of problem statements, Present possible solutions, etc.
  • SOFTWARE: Visual Studio Web Edition, PURPOSE: UI Mock ups, Prototypes
Apart from the above tools some other tools they also use around:
  • Skype - our entire team standardized on this for chats and remote white boarding. This is really helpful with teams spread out around the world. Sometimes we get the whole team in one chat from many locations, to either amuse each other or ask real questions.
  • OneNote - there are several peoples around who loves it.
  • Google Desktop - great searching through emails and notes.
  • FreeMind - or any free mind mapping software.
5)What do you think about challenges faced by Business Analyst?

Ans : Change management is the biggest challenge because this happens in real time as well. After requirements stage when development is started client will come-up some changes or enhancements.

Cross departmental or cross team management – like conflict management between teams. Also individuals. This requires soft skills and smartness.

Communication problems – In real time this can happen. You might be good in speaking and understanding the English language. BUT sometimes it happens like Different people across the globe speak different style of English. In USA itself Mexico people speak English differently. Romans speak different English. So at initial level to understand the accent can be a challenge but after some time you will become perfect. 

6)How do you resolve issues?

Ans : I would rather focus on issues and the facts related. Origin of issue, severity of the issue,implications and possible solutions to solve the issue. Try not to focus on the person who brought up the issue.Another important part is how to avoid similar issues in future

7)How would you transform business requirements to functional requirements?

Ans : While preparing Business requirements documents you mention why you need to built a system,i.e. problem statement. What you need to do while creating functional requirements is you have to specify is, solution of the problem. Specify thoroughly business problem and explain solution for the same.Business requirement documents does not necessarily contains solution part, functional requirement may contain it how end user wants the system to perform. Don’t forget to add non-functional requirements same doc.
                Following is the instance of Business Requirement, Functional Requirement and Non-Functional Requirement .
Business Requirements :- sales order is made against customers purchase order. Sales order is given for approval to upper authority Functional requirement:- Sales order shall be made with reference from Purchase order and it should be approved from upper authority. Non-Functional Requirement:- Sales order should be in proper format (Specify format) and six copy of sales order should be printed from printer in 1 minute

8)what is the career path for a business analyst?

Ans : A Business Analyst in the IT field has many varied directions among which to choose a career  path. The most direct would lead to a Lead Business Analyst position and then Project Manager whereby the incumbent manages projects through the entire life cycle from inception to post-implementation including the management of business analysts’ system analysts quality assurance analysts and most likely development project managers or team leads. That path would then lead to Program Management perhaps PMO management or Product Manager and on to Directorship. In addition a good Business Analyst may find they are heading toward a Customer Relationship Manager position whereby they become the primary IT interface to a given Business Unit (BU). 
                           This role most often leads to a position within the BU as a Manager of Applications or a Process Management role. Process Management opens many jobs including process re-engineering quality program development and large scale or enterprise process management programs such as ITIL or Six Sigma initiatives. These roles will continue to proliferate as companies realize the benefits of having a SME in process and quality. And still many Business Analysts find their understanding of business process entirely portable into purely system related positions in the business side that are only peripherally related to IT. 
                     These of course may lead to quantitative roles manager roles or operational roles such as supply chainlogistics etcetera.Of central importance to a successful Business Analyst is the interest in speaking to people. Face to face verbal communication is paramount to support other tools such as surveys and diagrams. Incumbents must be interested in understanding not only the pieces that comprise a system but the people that comprise it and the realities that embrace the system.Briefly the Business Analyst must understand and not judge the what should be and the what is

9)What are the problems solved by business analysis??

Ans : As a BA the most critical part is in gathering requirements (we should understand them very well from a Business User /stake holder point of view!!!)Reason: There might be a chance for the whole project to go in the wrong path due to wrong understanding of the Business users/ Stake holders’ needs and the gathered requirements created for the work following that step… i.e. going from A to C instead of going from A to B. 
Notes: (Business Users: are the individuals who work in organizations in different departments like Logistics accounting finance Inventory) in the company who wanted the software in Place for them to work on to help the Customers.Stake Holders: Someone who is related to the Project? 2 types of People are involved:Direct Stake holders: business end users customers developers tech team.Indirect stake holders: management etc.The Project Manager responsibility (usually) identifies the stakeholders determine their needs and expectations and more important must manage and take their help for the project success

10)Who uses the output produced by business analyst?

Ans : The output will be used by the Both IT and Non-It People, as IT people use this document as key for the building of the application and Non - It people use those document where they can see prototype of their application.

11)What are the tasks of a Business Analyst in Software Development Life Cycle?

Ans: Generally a business analyst covers several stages in Software Development Life Cycle.
Like:  Client Consulting, Client Requirement Study, Planning for business needs, Business Requirement Documenting, Work on functional requirement, Prepare test data with inputs from end users, Document use case scenarios, Help Testing team with test plan and testing, Help end users with user acceptance testing UAT, Go live and post production support tasks.

12)Explain the use case models briefly.

Ans : A use-case model is a model of how different types of users interact with the system to solve a problem.  As such, it describes the goals of the users, the interactions between the users and the system, and the required behavior of the system in satisfying these goals.
A use-case model consists of a number of model elements.  The most important model elements are: use cases, actors and the relationships between them. 
            A use-case diagram is used to graphically depict a subset of the model to simplify communications.  There will typically be several use-case diagrams associated with a given model, each showing a subset of the model elements relevant for a particular purpose.  The same model element may be shown on several use-case diagrams, but each instance must be consistent.  If tools are used to maintain the use-case model, this consistency constraint is automated so that any changes to the model element (changing the name for example) will be automatically reflected on every use-case diagram that shows that element.
              The use-case model may contain packages that are used to structure the model to simplify analysis, communications, navigation, development, maintenance and planning.
                Much of the use-case model is in fact textual, with the text captured in the use-case specifications that are associated with each use-case model element. These specifications describe the flow of events of the use case.
                The use-case model serves as a unifying thread throughout system development. It is used as the primary specification of the functional requirements for the system, as the basis for analysis and design, as an input to iteration planning, as the basis of defining test cases and as the basis for user documentation.  

13)What is the difference between Business Analyst and a System Analyst?

Ans: A business analyst deals with the more high level and functional aspects of the project and is generally not involved in technical details related to the project. A system analyst on the other hand is closely involved with the technical design aspects. 
                          Both business and system analyst will communicate with the business but the nature of conversation between a business analyst and business user is more functional and tends to focus on higher level user requirements. A system analyst usually communicates a more technical nature of topics and usually interacts closely with technical architects and even developers. Both the above roles can sometimes overlap and there have been posts such as business systems analyst.In a typical uml terminology business analysts are expected to write use case and process flows while system analysts focus on sequence and activity diagrams

14)What is the difference between Agile and Waterfall techniques?

Ans : More and more s/w developers are switching to Agile over waterfall.

Waterfall: You do complete requirements gathering, Design the s/w, Implement, Test, and go live.
But the biggest shortcoming is that the entire cycle takes so long that if in the meantime requirements change then you are in big trouble because your design may not be flexible enough or because you are in middle of a big project and just couldn't divert.
     The waterfall model is a sequential software development process, in which progress is seen as flowing steadily downwards (like a waterfall) through the phases of Conception, Initiation, Analysis, Design (validation), Construction, Testing and Maintenance.
Agile: With this methodology you come up with small sprints of work and keep implementing in 2-3 week cycles. Thus giving you advantage over the other method.
     Agile Software development refers to a group of software development methodologies based on iterative development. Where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self organizing cross functional teams.

15)Difference between a business analyst and business analysis?

Ans : 
  • A Business Analyst acts as a liaison between business people who have business problems and technology people who know how to create automated solutions. 
  • Business analysis are the skills that are need to carry out the job of a Business analyst. 
16)What is use case diagram used for?

Ans: The use case diagram defines the role of each actor that is associated to a particular role or system. A use diagram is also a behavioral diagram and a part of UML. An example of this is an “Order Management” as the main function, in such a case the person that is given the order is an actor. 

17)What are some Limitations of use case?

Ans : Use cases have the following limitations:
  • Use case flows are not well suited to easily capturing non-interaction based requirements of a system (such as algorithm or mathematical requirements) or non-functional requirements (such as platform, performance, timing, or safety-critical aspects). These are better specified declaratively elsewhere.
  • Use case templates do not automatically ensure clarity. Clarity depends on the skill of the writer(s).
  • There is a learning curve involved in interpreting use cases correctly, for both end users and developers. As there are no fully standard definitions of use cases, each group must gradually evolve its own interpretation.

18)What are the tasks of business analyst in a Software development life cycle?

Ans : 
  • Interview customers
  • Definition/Planning for business needs,
  • Document business requirements,
  • Work on functional design,
  • Document the requirements traceability matrix,
  • Prepare test data with inputs from end users
  • Document use case scenarios
  • Help testing team with test plan, testing,
  • Help end users with user acceptance testing UAT,
  • Support users with cutover tasks, implementation rollout, Go live and post production support tasks.

19)Explain what is the process for documenting Business Requirements?

Ans : This process usually involves becoming an expert in the workflows of the end users thru interviews observations and analysis of the systems and /or tools used. The BA will document the business requirements but must always be sure they they have the end users concurrence that they have correctly defined the "WHAT". The WHAT being what the workflow or problem.

20)Explain what is the process for documenting Functional Requirements?

Ans : Functional Requirement is where the BA working with the end users and the developers begins to actually design the system that will satisfy the Business Requirement this is the "HOW". This Function Requirement will layout the various screens and features that will allow the end users to satisfy the Business Requirements i.e. HOW the system will satisfy the WHAT.

21) Explain what is the process for documenting Technical Requirements?

Ans : Technical Requirement normally the BA will assist the development team with advise but will not write the Technical Requirements. The Technical Requirement will lay out the databases tables and processes that will be used to run the system.

22)Waht are the Levels of business analysis?

Ans : 
  • Planning strategically, it refers to analyze the strategic business needs of the institution.
  • Operating/business model analysis, the main obligation of the person here is to analyze and define the business approaches of an organization.
  • Process definition and design, the person who works for this area does the process of modeling.
  • IT/technical business analysis, here, knowing about the requirements of the systems is the main task

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