Business Analyst Interview Questions and Answers
BA Interview Questions & Answers
1. How will you prepare for a remote client(s) meetings located at different locations and time zones?
2. What are the essential elements to look out for in a Business Requirement Document (BRD)? Who are the stakeholders for the sign-off.?
A BRD should have a logical flow and should be easy to follow. Example of high-level list of essential elements is:
Appropriate designated officials of business partner should sign off the BRD.
3. How does a Use Case (UC) document derived (if at all) from an existing BRD? Does a changing BRD have any impact on the UC?
A use case describes all the possible outcomes of an attempt to accomplish a particular goal that the BRD will support. A use case further describes several scenarios in the form of primary and alternative flows of the business requirement noted in the BRD. The primary or basic flow represents the simplest way to accomplish the goal of the business requirement. Special circumstances and exceptions that result in a failure to complete the business requirement are documented in alternate flow. If a business requirement is changed use case is bound to be changed accordingly.
4. What is the goal of a UI Prototypes? How the BRD, UC and the UI prototypes related (if at all)?
The goal of the UI Prototypes is to specify the interface’s behavior and elements in order to make it clear to the stakeholders what to build and how the application should operate. It is the visual medium to make it easier for stakeholders to visualize the functionality.
If there is change in business requirement it leads to change in UC and UI. If user recommends a change in flow or UI, the corresponding business requirements and UC have to be changed as well.
5. How can a BA quickly strategize and prepare for change management?
Changes to requirements may occur at any time. A good BA should always consider the expected likelihood and frequency of change and ensure that the change management process is effective for those levels of changes. Effective business analysis practices can significantly reduce the amount of change required in a stable business environment but cannot eliminate it completely. Some of the strategies a BA should consider for change management are: determine the process for requesting changes so the process is streamline and changes are not flooded haphazardly, determine clearly who will authorize changes so there is no ambiguity and chaos, thoroughly perform impact analysis before considering the change requests, perform the cost and time estimation of change, evaluate the benefits and risks of change, consider and recommend the best course of action for change, coordinate prioritization of change etc.
6. What is the purpose of Requirement Traceability Matrix (RTM)? What are the typical elements of an RTM? Who are the creators and consumers of this artifact?
RTM provides an organized and systemic approach to ensuring that the system does everything that user want it to do and the system doesn’t do anything extra than that. RTM is a tool which helps the BA trace from requirements through design, implementation and QA testing. The RTM generally looks like a table where an empty cell usually indicates that we have skipped a step or left something out of the system. RTM generally has following elements – business requirement number, use case number, test case number etc. RTM should ideally be used by all IT team players from PM, BA, and developers to QA testers.
7. Who is typically the owner of a Functional Requirement Document (FRD)? Does a BA need to get involved in the creation of a FRD. If “yes”, in what capacity. If “no”, then explain?
FRD is created by Business Analysts. After analyzing the business rules and business requirements, the functional description is written to help the user understand why the requirement is needed. Functional requirements may be calculations, technical details, data manipulation and processing and other specific functionality that define what a system is supposed to accomplish. BA should describe the proposed system’s behavior in details and specifics after analyzing business rules, through elicitation sessions with users, stakeholders and SMEs, and while developing use case document.
8. Is it a good idea for a BA to get involved during the testing phase? If “yes”, explain how a BA can ensure his/her involvement during such a phase?
Yes, BA can and should play a vital role in testing phase. Since BA is involved in system building process right from the inception stage they have clear idea what the end users are looking and not looking for. BA should therefore take equally active part along with QA testers to ensure that end product is delivered as per the business requirements and expectations. BA should simply interact more with QA team in testing phase and make themselves available to QA team if any question of doubt arises. BA themselves should also perform extensive testing to make sure the end product is up to the mark.
9. How is the Agile methodology different from Waterfall methodology? Does is make any difference to the responsibilities of a BA?
Waterfall model of software development is a sequential process. Like in waterfall, the water progressively falls from one altitude to the lower, in a similar way, the production cycle progresses sequentially, from one stage to other. The phases of waterfall model software development are as follows: requirement specification, conception, analysis, design, coding, testing and debugging, deployment and finally maintenance. In this sequentially structured approach, the development team goes ahead to the next stage of development only after the first is fully accomplished. Emphasis is placed on documentation of every stage of software development. Whereas, the Agile model as the title suggests, focuses on agility and adaptability in development. Instead of one time consuming and rigid development schedule, agile model involves multiple iterative development schedules that seek to improve the output with every iteration. Each iteration goes through all the steps of design, coding and testing. The design is not set in stone and is kept open to last minute changes due to iterative implementation. The team structure is cross-functional, closely knit and self organizing. Less importance is given to documentation than speed of delivering a working program.
The waterfall model is suited for development of programs that are already stable that is, their design doesn’t need a major make over. In situations where designers of a software can accurately predict the flaws that may arise can be developed through a waterfall model.
Agile models are applicable in every area of software development. It depends a lot more on the team effort of above average programmers, than relying on a few expert programmers. It is best suited for web based applications where its iterative nature helps in incorporating and correcting various bugs that arise over time.
I personally feel agile model to be more efficient than the waterfall model, due to its adaptability to the real world. The ‘One Phase’ and ‘Rigid’ development cycle makes it difficult to make last minute changes in requirements or design in waterfall model. While the agile methods, due to their iterative and adaptable nature, can incorporate changes and release an application in lesser time.
A sample scenario:
Anne Marie is a senior lead Business Analyst involved in an application transition project. Her organization Zeus Corp. has recently acquired a competitor Atlas Corp; and intends to use one of their state-of-the-art Business Application, “NewClaimApp” – a distributed web application. Anne Marie has many challenges in order to transit from existing “OldClaimApp”. (Owned by Zeus Corp).The long term business goal is to replace the OldClaimApp with that of NewClaimApp.
Typical challenges that appear on the horizon are:
List 10 basic strategies that Anne Marie should employ for implementing this transition.