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In this case-study, myself and my friend (tester!) Anamitra Majumdar tried to explore what if the same person performs the role of a Business Analyst and a Tester? We then tried to explore both the options – an individual changing role from Business Analyst to a Tester, and on the other hand another case where a Tester changes his role to become a Business Analyst. Rapidly changing market conditions are requiring companies to shorten delivery cycles and become more responsive to customer expectations.
Agile development methodologies are leading the way in helping software development teams adjust to the new economy. Agile challenges our notion of software engineering best practices, project management methodology and how we lead our teams.
In a project based on Agile Development methodologies, a BA and a Tester have some pre-defined roles to do wherein the BA’s involvement is more towards start of the cycle and testers are involved towards the end. The agile movement impacts every role on the project team differently and creates opportunities to learn new skills and develop new ways of working together. Exchanging the roles in an innovative way could unleash the hidden capabilities of each of them to help the project overall. Agile development is a group of software development methods based on iterative and incremental development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams. It promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development and delivery, a time-boxed iterative approach, and encourages rapid and flexible response to change.
It is a conceptual framework that promotes foreseen interactions throughout the development cycle.
Agile introduces a significant shift in how teams look at requirements and when they are defined in the process.
In an Agile methodology, Business Analyst is more involved during the initial stages of SDLC while a tester’s involvement increases during the final stages of SDLC.
In this white-paper, we are trying to present the feasibility of a single person playing the role of a Software Tester and a Business Analyst. Writing User Stories – The Business Analyst is supposed to define and write detailed Requirements after understanding the expectations from Business Stakeholders. Feedback from Users – The BA produces and explores requirements in collaboration with the end users which can include Testers and Developers as well.
Acceptance Criteria – Defining Acceptance criteria after discussing with Testing Team and Business teams is also a BA’s responsibility. Clarifications & Query Resolutions – Starting right from the Sprint Planning sessions, the BA clarifies any development and testing queries related to the requirements.
Show and Tell Session – The BA also attends the Show and Tell sessions to make sure the requirements are developed in line with what the BA had envisaged at the start of the Sprint. The tester is normally involved in an agile world from the Sprint planning sessions till the delivery into production.
Sprint Planning Sessions – The tester understands the User Story requirements from the BA in the sprint planning sessions and discusses on a high level, the feasibility of the User Stories to be tested. The testers also give a high-level test estimation of each User Story based on an initial understanding. Acceptance Criteria – The testers are also involved in reviewing the Acceptance criteria as defined by the BA and POs.

Test Estimations – Based on the understanding of the User Stories, detailed test estimation is done using standard test estimation techniques. Once completed, the Test Cases undergo a peer review among the test team followed by business sign-off after which Test execution is done using these test scripts. Check out: 13 excellent tips for effective test case writing which is all you need during test case design activity. Show and Tell Sessions – The tester chairs the ‘Show and Tell’ sessions to show to the business (including the BA) about what is developed and tested so far. As you can infer from above, the BA is more involved during the initial stages of SDLC while a tester’s involvement is more during the final stages of SDLC. Imagine a case where we have a Software Tester with enough understanding of the systems and, who is given the challenge to play the role of a BA! Early involvement in SDLC – In this hybrid model, where the same person is playing a dual role, the tester is now involved much earlier in the SDLC cycle – right from the requirements shaping. This proves really beneficial in delivering the project with optimum quality as the tester now knows of any new changes coming up his way down the line. Well-defined Requirements – With the tester having in-depth knowledge of the system from a technical point of view, the requirements written by the tester (in the role of a BA) will be pretty straight forward and understandable. Push Back Requirements & Feasibility Study – Having an in-depth knowledge of the system from a technical point of view, the tester (playing a BA) can easily reject requirements with valid justifications. Reduced testing times – In a normal Agile model, if a tester has any query, it goes to the BA who in turn has to go to the Product Owner or business stakeholder in case he is not able to answer. Now, because Tester is the BA, the turn-around time would be much less as we are cutting down on one level of clarifications as tester (playing as a BA) can now directly approach the business stakeholders or Product Owners. Reusability – As Tester is now a BA as well, the visibility of re-using the existing resources is much easier from both technical and business point of view, which, in the end benefits the team effort and cost. We have a BA who has been on a team for years now and has in-depth knowledge of the end-to-end systems. His boss calls him to his cabin and gives him a surprise, offering the dual role of a BA and a Tester. Impact Assessment: Having a better understanding of the requirements from the business point of view, the BA (now playing a tester!), can easily access the cross-impact of any new requirement or change on the existing system. No Dependency on Testers: As BA is now playing the role of a tester, he doesn’t have to depend on testing teams’ inputs to get any functional queries clarified and to run through any user journey. Involvement in SDLC and Accountability: In this dual-role model, the BA (playing the role of a tester) now has a major role to play throughout the SDLC. Also, this model makes the BA much more accountable towards the delivery of the product which otherwise is solely considered the testers responsibility (well, in most cases!). Quick turnaround on Change Requests – Imagine a scenario where a Change Request comes in during the execution cycle and business needs a quick turnaround. Here I have summarized some overall advantages of exchanging, or rather merging roles of Tester and Business Analyst. During the start of SDLC, Tester is not fully occupied, and towards the end BA doesn’t have too much to deliver – combining the 2 roles helps in better resource utilization hence, saving costs.
If 2 sprints overlap it will impact this dual role as now tester testing in one sprint will not be able to write requirements for the next sprint and vice versa.

An individual playing a Tester BA role should have adequate skills to fit in both the roles seamlessly. Having the BA doing testing, you remove one level of the indirection and at least get something close to what the BA had envisaged. Because the BA was the person who dealt with the source of the requirements, it is the best you can get. However, you should never only rely on them because there the risk is too high they only do it superficially and won’t go through all the scenarios you will encounter during normal business use. Specialist testers in combination with the original Business Analyst(s) and end users will give the best results. I hope this case study helps in clarifying your doubts whether a Software Tester can become a Business Analyst (BA) and the other way around. Do I Need to Write Test Cases in Agile Testing?January 25, 2016, No Comments on Do I Need to Write Test Cases in Agile Testing?
Latest trends in Software Testing 2015 – How the World Tests?November 19, 2015, 2 Comments on Latest trends in Software Testing 2015 – How the World Tests? Business analyst training with written documentation,live project documents and case study projects with one to one training as it will more interaction. Our BA EssentialsSM course offers what you need to overcome the challenges and get started in a BA career. Written documentation provides a recap of each course session, plus comprehensive details about BA methods for ongoing reference.
Case study projects give you hands-on practice applying BA methods to real business problems.
Small classes provide direct interaction with the instructor and other students to help ensure the course works for you.
We are so confident you'll be satisfied with what you learn in our BA Essentials course that we offer a money-back guarantee: If at any point in the course you are not satisfied that the course is working for you and that you are learning what you need, you can drop the course and receive a full refund. How to switch you role from Software Testing professional to a Business Analyst, and vice versa? If Testers are positioned far away from the original BA, then they test the system on their interpretation of the interpretation of the BA.
Of course, intensive testing involvement by the key business users will give even a better result. However, I am open to alternate options if you can think of any which you can feel free to voice in the comments section below.
Having spent plenty of years in Quality Assurance, he decided to share his knowledge with the testing community and that is when QST was born! As active practitioners we know the tools, methods, situations and best practices you'll need as a BA, based on our years of experience in world-class organizations.

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