As you prepare to begin your development project, the point of contact at your chosen software development company will shift from sales to project management. This may involve a business analyst (BA), project manager, both, or an individual in a hybrid role that combines the two positions.
Good software development project management can mean the difference between tremendous success and a spectacular crash-and-burn failure, so it’s important to understand the role of a BA and/or project manager so you will know what to expect. You’ll also be well-positioned to speak out if it appears your project is not getting the attention it needs and deserves.
What is a Software Development Business Analyst’s (BA) Role?
A business analyst plays a critical role in software development project management, as they are directly involved in clarifying requirements and the product roadmap. A BA also serves as a bridge that connects the client to the development team.
Business analysts work directly with the client business groups and are especially instrumental in the early discovery and innovation phases before actual development kickoff, performing tasks such as:
- Gathering business requirements from the client and passing this info to the development team;
- Answering client questions and addressing concerns as the project progresses;
- Setting expectations for the client in terms of product features and project scope;
- Facilitating information-sharing between the client and the developers;
- Communicating requirements to UI/UX designers and supporting the design of the UI (user interface); and
- Helping the QA team understand requirements so they can develop relevant test cases.
Business analysts will also evaluate data that arises from various aspects of the software development process. A BA commonly identifies processes that require modification in an effort to improve the client’s experience, the development process and the overall quality of the mobile app or software platform that’s under development.
The BA’s goal often extends beyond the improvement of the client’s experience and the quality of the software; they also seek ways to streamline and fine-tune the development company’s processes too. Each development project can serve as a learning experience that allows the BA to make positive changes that will enhance and improve the company’s work in the future.
What is a Software Development Project Manager’s Role?
A software development project manager is responsible for delivering — on time and budget — a product or deliverable that meets the client’s requirements as identified by the BA. They are responsible for the entirety of the delivery as they are — in essence — the quarterback of the project. The project manager’s focus is centered around that single client, their development project and its overall success. Additionally, the project manager generally doesn’t perform the in-depth data analysis that a business analyst would be expected to perform.
A software project manager’s role can include:
- Keeping the project on-schedule and addressing delays if they arise;
- Managing project costs and risks;
- Managing the project delivery board, such as Jira, MS Project, or other project management systems;
- Making sure all involved parties have what they need to be successful;
- Working with all third-party companies or service providers that will be involved with the project;
- Planning the sprints and phases of the development project with those companies, along with engineering and development teams. That information and schedule is then conveyed to the client;
- Providing updates directly to the client as the project progresses and answering questions as they arise;
- Setting realistic expectations for the project; and
- Addressing any problems that arise and working to facilitate a resolution.
A project manager — like a BA — serves as a vital bridge between the development team, third-party service providers, the BA and the client. Notably, though, the project manager usually works more internally and behind the scenes, whereas the BA is a more client-facing role.
There can be some significant overlap between the role of project manager and business analyst. For this reason, they may be combined into a single hybrid position when working on a smaller, more agile project.
How Does Bad Project Management Impact the Development Process?
Poor project management or a faltering business analyst can lead to dissatisfaction on the client’s part and a software platform that falls short of expectations.
If the client fails to receive timely and complete updates, this can result in a feeling of being left in the dark, which can rapidly result in a lack of confidence — or downright terror in cases where hundreds of thousands of dollars are involved.
If a project manager fails to keep the client informed on the progress of a project, the client will lack important and accurate information. But even more problematic can be the lack of client input, which may result in a software interface that falls short of expectations.
Mobile app and software development is a highly collaborative process and the client must be involved from start to finish, offering the input and feedback that is required to create a piece of software that meets and exceeds expectations.
Quality is adversely impacted when communication is lacking between the client and the software development team. This also leaves the door open to miscommunications that can have far-reaching, costly impacts. For instance, if there is a point of confusion early in the development process and the client is not roped in to a degree that allows for the early discovery of this problem area, it may result in additional problems downstream in the software development process. This opens the door to large-scale modifications that are both costly and time-consuming (and this says nothing of the negative impact on the client’s experience with the development company.)
Good software development project management is indispensable. Skilled business analysts and other project management team members convey your needs to the developers and vice versa. Then once the project is underway, they’re going to serve as a go-between, ensuring that the client’s expectations align with the development team’s plans and transferring feedback and information between these parties.
Choosing the Right Software or Mobile App Development Company
At 7T, we take tremendous pride in our project management skills, with talented, detail-oriented BAs and PMs who oversee a project from start to finish. In fact, we believe client collaboration is required to succeed, so we make it a point to get lots of feedback and input from our clients throughout the development process.
Whether you’re building an iOS native app or prefer a cross-platform mobile app to suit users on a wide range of different mobile devices and operating systems, the team at 7T is happy to assist. We’ve earned a reputation as a top Dallas mobile app development company, with a reputation for developing dynamic mobile apps and innovative software platforms, from CRM platforms and ERP development, to Snowflake data solutions.
At 7T, our development team works with company leaders who are seeking to solve problems and drive ROI through digital transformation. We’ve earned a reputation as an innovative Dallas software and mobile app development company, as 7T integrates cutting-edge solutions into virtually every project. We’re here to deliver collaborative, multi-phased software development services to clients in all business sectors.