Building a software startup from the ground up is usually a tricky task. The reason is simple. First of all, there’s the need to win the target audience’s attention by providing innovative services. It’s unlikely that people will change their habits and switch to your product if it does not stand out among the many solutions on the market. Another important factor is a tight budget often typical for young startup companies. When every dollar counts, you have to make sure that each step you take will guarantee a better outcome in terms of attracting new users.
In such difficult conditions, inaccurate management can empty your pockets before the first client receives a working version of the product. To avoid such unpleasant consequences, it’s essential to build a team consisting of an optimal number of specialists who can guarantee a quick start and hitting the target audience requirements. Today, we’ll learn why a business analyst is an essential part of a startup development team and what tasks such a specialist performs.
BA’s Main Responsibilities on a Startup Project
Usually, business analysts have a pretty broad set of responsibilities. First of all, it’s essential to clarify the business idea to determine which direction to choose to meet the client’s expectations. Planning development activities is the next step. Its primary purpose is to shape the development direction. Also, the business analyst assures compliance of the development outcomes with a customer’s business goals. Additionally, during the whole development process, the business analyst receives feedback from stakeholders and ensures that the product is developing according to this data. Now, let’s take a closer look at the main tasks that the BA takes care of during the development.
Since most startups operate with a limited budget, every dollar plays an important role. Besides software product development, post-launch marketing costs also should be kept in mind. These factors leave little room for financial planning and surprise cash shortfalls. Startup budget development requires a scrupulous analysis that will help you to avoid early financial missteps and also allow you to make informed decisions. With some extra money on your bank account, you will provide yourself with an opportunity to determine when to hire employees, buy equipment, or invest in marketing.
Unfortunately, an innovative business idea that should become a game-changer on the market does not always match a startup company’s financial capabilities. That’s precisely the moment when a business analyst’s expertise plays a crucial role. As a “bridge” between the worlds of business and technologies, BA can determine by which means your ideas can be implemented as a working software product. Technical background allows business analysts to estimate how many specialists and how many working hours the implementation of a specific feature may take. With this info in mind, it’s possible to determine whether your budget is enough to finish the project or not. Suppose you can afford to develop the whole product from start to finish. In that case, you can build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that provides fundamental functionality and helps to validate your ideas before spending all available resources on the final version of the product.
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It’s not the 90’s anymore, and it may be pretty difficult to invent something that no one has already implemented in one form or another. Most probably, some players on the market provide software solutions with which your product will have to compete. Market analysis performed by a business analyst can play a significant role in validating your business idea. You’ll know who your main competitors are and what features their products provide to the end-users. This information will help you stand out from competitors by focusing on those killer features that will make your product different from others.
Target Audience Research
No startup business can succeed without loyal clients. A startup must build strong relationships with its first end-users since they can become a solid basis for further growth. That’s why it’s especially important to understand your target audience’s needs before you start spending efforts on product development.
Project management solutions, dating apps, and business communication platforms, for example, have unique target audiences, each with its preferences, habits, and expectations from the app they are going to use. The reasons that can cause end-users disinterest may vary. For example, costs may be too high, or the idea may be too breakthrough for the current time. Clients are reluctant to trust new players in the market with their time and money unless there’s something that strictly matches their expectations. A business analyst can perform target audience research by identifying the exact needs of potential end-users. Involving a business analyst at the early stages of development will help efficiently spend available resources and achieve the market fit essential for your startup’s success.
Planning Development Process from MVP to the Full-scale Project
MVP development is an effective way of testing how the end-users will receive your startup idea. This basic version of your product will help to receive feedback from early users and add new features or polish the existing ones according to this info. The use of MVP allows startup companies to focus only on needed functionality in the first stages of development, reduce rework, build the first contact with the end-users, receive market recognition, save money and time, and simplify testing.
The tricky part is that the set of necessary components included in MVP should contain features that will cover your target audience’s needs and make your product noticeable among the other apps. Following the knowledge of market trends and performed research, a business analyst can prioritize project features and determine which of them should be implemented in MVP. Other features can be postponed to be included in the final version of the product.
Developing the right software architecture at the first stages of development allows ensuring the best outcome and helps avoid budget overrun risks caused by the need to rework and retest some parts of the app on the latest stages. Business analysts closely cooperate with startup companies to better understand their business needs and translate them into project requirements that developers can understand and work with. At this point, the main task of the BA is to turn the flow of information between the business and developers into a single vision of the future project.
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As a result of work on this stage of the project development, business analysts draft nonfunctional requirements that describe how the system is supposed to work. This documentation includes such attributes as usability, reliability, performance, scalability, and others. Functional requirements that are also part of a business analyst’s responsibility include product features that developers should implement to allow end-users to achieve their goals. As a specialist with a technological background, the business analyst can also take part in choosing development tools that better match the specifics of the application that the startup company relies on.
The business analyst knows the complete ins and outs of the startup product, what helps to develop the overall vision, prioritize tasks, and stay within budget. BA’s analysis of the client’s expectations and current state of affairs in the market allows defining what problems and opportunities a startup company may face and what are the best ways to solve them. Attracting first users is one of the most critical tasks that can determine a new market player’s future success, and the business analyst is the exact person who can ensure that your product will hit the target audience. Understanding the market in which your business will operate will help identify a unique service or angle that your startup company can adopt for the best possible outcome.
If you want to know more about the BA’s role in a startup project and its impact on the final result, please contact us.