business analysis interview

Business Analyst Interview Questions and Answers

Q. How do you define a requirement?

Ans: A requirement is the capability possessed by a solution to solve a problem or achieve an objective.

Q. How do you define the role of a BA in an organization?

Ans: A business analyst is a liaison between different stakeholders in an organization. He acts as a bridge, a connector and helps the complete project team work as a tightly integrated unit. Since stakeholders belong to different domains (e.g. finance, business, marketing) it’s very important for a business analyst to be able to sort and balance the needs of these stakeholders while fulfilling the business objectives at the same time.

Q. What is your requirement elicitation strategy?

Ans: The elicitation strategy depends upon the type of the project.

One can take advantage of direct collaboration with client and have facilitated workshops, interviews and observe the end users. In conjunction, we can use techniques that provide us with more precise information like prototype and scenario building.

Q. What are the best practices you follow while writing a use case?

Ans: The following are the best practices that are followed to write a clear and well documented use case:

  1. Capture both functional and non-functional requirements in a use case.
  2. Include use case diagrams along with the use case.
  3. Include the UI details/notes in the use case.

Q. What do you know about scope creep?

Ans: Scope creep, also known as requirement creep is a term that denotes uncontrolled changes/deviation in the project’s scope without an increase in the other resources (schedule, budget) of the project.

Scope creep is a risk to the project and is usually caused by poor project management, improper documentation of project’s requirements and poor communication between the project’s stakeholders.

Q. What are the skills that a business analyst must possess?

Ans: A business analyst must possess fundamental skills such as elicitation skills, problem solving skills, communication and management skills. Alongside, he must have knowledge of IT skills,

Software development understanding and domain knowledge regarding the domain he is working in. For more details read here.

Q. How do you avoid scope creep?

Ans: Scope creep is a hindrance to the project’s success and could be avoided by:

  • Clearly document the scope of the project.
  • Following proper change management.
  • Informing the effects of change to the affected parties before making a change.
  • Documenting the new requirements in the project log.
  • Refrain from adding additional features to the existing functionalities (also called Gold Plating)

Q.How do you deal with difficult stakeholders?

Ans: Stakeholders sometimes could be difficult to deal with but we could overcome this situation by:

  • Patiently listening to them and being polite.
  • Make them understand the situation from a prospective they understand.
  • Show a commitment to working with them.
  • Make them realize how their interests will be realized when they are more open and collaborative.
  • Engage them and make them realize that their contribution is valued.

Q. When are you done with requirements?

Ans: We consider the requirements are complete when:

  • They are elicited from all the stakeholders from all they key stakeholders of the project.
  • They align with the project’s business case.
  • When they could be done with the resources available i.e. attainable.
  • When the stakeholders of the project are in consensus with the elicited requirements. All the requirements which pass the above four criteria, they are considered to be as formal and final. These requirements re then documented and become a part of the project scope.

Q. What is the importance of a flow chart?

Ans: Simply, flow chart explains the flow of a process through symbols and text. It is important because it:

  • It displays information graphically which is both clearer and easy to grasp.
  • Helps in process documentation.
  • Helps programmers to write the logic.
  • Aids testing and troubleshooting.

Q. What is UML modeling?

Ans: UML (Unified Modeling Language) is a general-purpose modeling language, which is designed to provide a standard way to visualize the design of a system.

A modeling language is any artificial language that can be used to express information or knowledge or systems in a structure that is defined by a consistent set of rules. The rules are used for interpretation of the meaning of components in the structure.

Q. Why do we use Activity diagram?

Ans: Activity diagram is a graphical depiction/flowchart of actions, representing a stepwise listing of activities. We use activity diagrams for the description of those business processes that describe the functionality of the business system.

Q. What are some of the common tools that a business Analyst uses?

Ans: MS Visio, Enterprise Architect, Rational Requisite Pro, MS PowerPoint, MS Word, MS Excel, DOORS, Balsamiq.

You could learn more about these tools here.

Q. What documents a Business Analyst should deliver?

  • Use case documents
  • Process/business flow documents
  • Requirement traceability matrix document (RTM)
  • Functionality matrix (FM)
  • Functional requirement specification document (FRS)
  • System requirement specification document (SRS)
  • Activity/sequence diagrams
  • Business requirement document (BRD)

Q. How do you manage rapidly changing requirements?

Too many changes can be detrimental to the success of the project and hence requirements should be managed carefully. We could do so by following a strict ‘Change control’ plan, according to which:

  • We document when the change was requested, its description and its severity.
  • We assess whether the change is in line with the business objective of the project.
  • We then analyze the effects of change on the project constraints.
  • We communicate the tentative schedule, cost and resources expenditure to all the stakeholders.

We implement the change only when all the stakeholders are in consensus with the revised project constraints.

Q. What are the non-functional requirements?

Ans: Nonfunctional requirements or ‘qualities’ of a system are the requirements that are used to judge the operation of a system. These requirements define how a system is supposed to ‘be’. E.g.: Throughput, usability, reliability, scalability and security

Q. What do you think is better, the Waterfall Model or Spiral Model?

Ans: Each project has got different and unique needs and thus the SDLC phases should be chosen based on the specific needs of the project. In brief:

Waterfall model follows a structured approach with each phase having specific deliverables. But, it has little flexibility and adjusting scope later is very difficult.

In spiral model, estimates of project constraints become more realistic as the work progresses and it involves the developers early in the project. But, it takes more time and high cost to reach the final product.

Q. What do you know about a misuse case?

Ans: A misuse case is inverse of a use case and documents the scenarios that should not happen within the system. The actions depicted in a misuse case can be performed by any person or entity in order to harm the system.

Thus, misuse case are usually used in the field of IT security and data protection.

Q. What are the use of configuration management and version control?

Ans: Configuration management is everything that you need to manage in terms of a project. This includes software, hardware, tests, documentation, release management, and more. Configuration management includes, but is not limited to, version control.

Version control is saving files and keeping different versions of them, so you can see the change over time.

Q. Describe your understanding regarding high level and low level use cases.

Ans: The high level use case usually refers to the entire business process whereas when it is divided into smaller units, the outcome or the sub units are what are then referred to as the low level use case.

Q. Please explain the use of SDD.

Ans: This is the abbreviation of the term System Design Document; it acts as the mediator between business users and the system developers so as the system developers may understand the business requirements of the system they are developing in order to know where to put emphasis and end up with a quality and objective based system.

Q. What is Pareto Analysis?

Ans: Pareto analysis is a technique which is used to identify the issue that are causing the most number of defects. The issues and their respective defects are plotted in a bar graph and the issue which is causing the highest amount of defect is addressed first.

Pareto analysis is considered as a creative way of looking at causes of problems as it organize data into logical segments for better analysis, comprehension and communication.

Q. What can you tell us about BPMN?

Ans: BPMN stands for Business Process Model and Notation. It’s a global standard for graphically representing business process in the form of a diagram.

BPMN contains a set of graphic elements which are used by business users and developers to create activity flows and processes. BPMN’s four basic element categories are: Flow objects: Events, activities, gateways

Connecting objects: Sequence flow, message flow, association

Swim lanes : Pool, lane

Artifacts: Data object, group, annotation

Q. Explain the difference between a task and an activity with respect to BPMN

Ans: Activity is a generic term that is used to denote a process/sub process and is a collection of a task or group of tasks whereas a task is a self-contained piece of work.

Q. Are you aware of JAD?

Ans: Joint Application Development (JAD) consists of a structured workshops session between end user/client, project manager, business analyst, technical team and subject matter experts (SME) to facilitate the design and development of the product.

Applications developed through JAD development approach has higher customer satisfaction and less number of errors as the end user is directly involved in the development process.

Q. Do you know about the term ‘force-field analysis’?

Ans: Force-field analysis aids in making decisions by identifying the factors for and against a proposed change to the system. The ‘for’ and ‘against’ factors are tabulated and are then analyzed, discussed and evaluated for their impact on the change.

Q. What are Test cases?

Ans: A test case is a document which contains listing of all the possible scenarios that could happen based on a respective use case. Thus, every test case is developed with a use case as a base.

A test case contains main flow, positive scenarios, negative scenarios and scenarios covering non-functional requirements also.

A single use case could contain many test cases and these cases are clubbed to make a test script. Test Cases are written in a testing tool like Test Director, but they can be also be written in MS Word. The audience for a test case are the QA testers.

Q. What are the different testing techniques you use?

Ans: The aim of testing is to verify and validate the quality of a developed functionality according to the project requirements. A BA does various types of testing, which are:

Black box testing: This is a functional testing where a BA validates that the output generated by the system is as per the requirements/use case

Unit Testing: A BA does unit testing on a developer’s machine to make sure the requested functionality is being achieved.

Integration Testing: This type of testing is done when more than one piece of code are integrated to realize a functionality. A BA does integration testing to make sure than the system is performing as expected after different modules are integrated.

Functional Testing: A BA is expected to conduct functional testing to validate that the system is achieving the functionality specified in the use case/functional requirement specification document (FRS).

Acceptance Testing: A BA along with the client, does the acceptance testing to validate that the system is performing as per the business requirements and the product’s acceptance criteria. Regression Testing: Regression testing is done after a modification has been made to the existing system. Its aim is to make sure that all the system functionalities are working as expected.

Beta Testing: A BA along with the testing team, does the beta testing and it is done on a pre-production version of the product. This testing is done to make sure that the functional and non-functional requirements of the system are met.

Q. Tell me about SaaS

Ans: SaaS is Short for Software as a Service and it is a software delivery model under which a software and its associated services are remotely accessed by an end user as a web based service. E.g. Facebook, which is deployed over internet and the users access its services by an internet enabled device.

Q. What problems a Business Analyst could face during requirements gathering?

Ans: Some of the problems faced by a BA during requirements gathering are:

  • Lack of Clarity in the Scope of the Business requirements
  • Misalignment of the requirements with the business case of the project
  • Ill management of Business Requirements
  • Constantly changing requirements
  • Unavailability of the key stakeholders
  • Communication gap between the stakeholders

Q. Could you describe the main qualities of a good requirement?

Ans: The golden rule to measure the quality of a good requirement is the ‘SMART’ rule. According to this rule a requirement should be:

Specific: The requirement should be specific so that it could be properly documented Measurable: We should be able to measure the success criteria of the requirement by different parameters

Attainable: The requirement should be possible to attain with the given resources

Relevant: The requirement should be in line with the project’s business case

Timely: The requirement should be posed in time i.e. early in the project life cycle.

Q. What are different diagrams that a BA should know about?

Ans: There are a couple of different diagrams about which a BA should have concrete knowledge. They are: Entity relationship diagram, data flow diagram, use case diagram, class diagram, activity diagram, sequence diagram, collaboration diagram, component diagrams and deployment diagrams.

Q. What are the main responsibilities of a BA?

Ans: A business analyst is expected to visualize the ‘big picture’ and his responsibilities extends towards both the business side as well as the technology side of the project. The major responsibilities that he is expected to fulfill are:

  • Ascertain the feasibility of the solution/project/product.
  • Analyze, organize and document requirements.
  • Liaise and enhance communications with stakeholders.
  • Clarify doubts, concerns regarding the solution to be developed.
  • Conduct unit testing and verify the development is as per the requirements
  • Gain acceptance/approval of the deliverables from the client.
  • Document and prioritize change requests from the client.
  • Create final product documentations, achieve records and document project lessons learned.

Q. What are the different analysis techniques employed by a BA?

Ans: The major business analysis techniques used by a BA are: interview, SWOT analysis, facilitated workshop, brainstorming, observation, prototyping and root cause analysis.

Q. What is a 100-point method?

Ans: The 100-point method is a prioritization method that can be used to prioritize items in a group environment. Each person within the group is given 100 points which they can distribute as votes across the available items.

Q. What do you know about 8-omega?

Ans: 8 Omega is a business change framework to improve the existing business processes. Based on its name, this framework consists of 8 lifecycle phases namely; Discover, Analyze, Design, Integrate,Implement, Manage, Control and Improve. Also, it address 4 key perspectives of business i.e. Strategy, People, Process and Technology.

Q. What is FMEA and why it’s used?

Ans: FMEA stands for ‘Failure Mode and Effects Analysis’ and it is used for failure analysis, risk analysis and quality engineering.

It involves reviewing components, systems and subsystems on parameters like functional, design and process to identify failure models. The resulting data is then used for risk management and mitigation.

Q. What is a use case ?

Ans: A use case is a methodology used in requirement analysis to identify, organize and document the requirements. Following are the main characteristics of a use case:

  • Contains both functional and non-functional requirements
  • Describes the flow of events/scenarios
  • Defines the actors involved in the scenarios
  • Contains main flow, alternative flows and exceptional flows.
  • Contains business rules and associated diagrams.

Use cases can be used at various stages of a project and its audiences are both technology and business.

Q. Tell us the difference between an alternate flow and an exception flow of a use case?

Ans: Alternate flow are the alternative actions that can be performed apart for the basic flow and might be considered as an optional flow whereas Exception flow is the path traversed in case of the error or an exception being thrown. For e.g. on a logic page the ‘Forgot password’ is the alternate flow and system showing ‘404 error’ when correct username and password are entered is exception flow.

Q. What is the user of trigger in a use case?

Ans: Trigger is an action which will invoke a specific flow which would otherwise have been inactive.

Q. What all diagrams are used to visualize a use case?

Ans: Use Case Diagram, Activity diagram, Sequence diagram, Communication diagram and State machine diagram.

Q. Please explain the term Use Case Points

Ans: Use Case Points are normalized unit of measurement used to size and estimate the cost of work that is to be done on a system.

Q. What is use case generalization and actor generalization?

Ans: In the context of use case modelling, sometimes two or more use cases share a common structure and behaviors. When this happens, we create a new use case that describes the shared parts of its parent use cases.

Similarly, actor generalization is the relationship between two actors in a use case where the child actor inherits the properties of a parent actor.

Q. What are the advantages of unit testing?

Ans: Unit testing is the type of testing which is done at the developer’s desk and if a BA conducts unit testing he is able to find a defect before it gets integrated with other codes. This way, a bug gets identified early and is usually fixed in less duration.

Q. Elucidate the difference between assumptions and constraints

Ans: Assumptions are scenarios that are considered to be as facts while a product is being designed/developed and constraints are restrictions that are imposed and have to be mandatorily followed.

Q. Explain Kano analysis

Ans: Kano analysis is a quality measurement process aimed at categorizing and prioritizing the customer requirements in an effort to increase the customer’s satisfaction.

Q. What is a RACI matrix?

Ans: RACI matrix is a type of responsibility assignment matrix used to assign roles and responsibilities within the project team. The acronyms stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed.

Q. How can you explain the user centered design methodology?

Ans: It all depends on the end users. In such scenario, we develop the system with a user’s point of view. Who are the end users, what they require etc. Personas are basically social roles, performed by any actor or character. It is derived from a Latin word meaning character. In marketing terminology, it represents group of customers/end users.

Q. How do you define Personas?

Ans: Personas are used instead of real users that assist developers and technical team to judge the user behavior in different scenarios, more clearly. Personas are basically social roles, performed by any actor or character. It is derived from a Latin word meaning character. In marketing terminology, it represents group of customers/end users.

Q. Define Application Usability?

Ans: Application usability is actually the quality of the system that makes the system useful for its end users. System’s usability is good if it is capable of achieving users’ goals. Personas are basically social roles, performed by any actor or character. It is derived from a Latin word meaning character. In marketing terminology, it represents group of customers/end users.

Q. Define OLTP Systems?

Ans: OLPT stands for On-Line Transaction Processing; such systems are capable to perform database transactions and are meant to provide good speed for database transactions. These systems are mainly used for data entry and retrieving data from the database.

Q. Do you have any idea about Pugh Matrix?

Ans: Pugh Matrix is used to decide about the most optimal and alternate solutions. This technique is now a standard part of Six Sigma technique. It is also known as problem or design matrix.

Q. What BPMN stands for?

Ans: It is Business Process Model and Notation. It is a graphical representation of business processes.

Q. Define BPMN Gateway?

Ans:BPMN Gateway is a processing modeling component that is used to control flow of interaction, sequence of processes.

Q. Define BCG Matrix?

Ans: The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) matrix is developed to analyze several of business processes and new product offerings from companies. It is a useful tool that can be used in portfolio analysis, strategic management, product management, and brand marketing.

Q. Differentiate between Fish Model and V Model?

Ans:Fish model is comparatively very costly and time consuming, while, V model requires less time and cost. Moreover, Fish model is used when there were no ambiguities in the customers’ requirements. Otherwise, other model is preferred.

Agile Business Analyst Interview Question and Answers

Q. Can you elucidate something about agile?

Ans: Agile is a software development methodology in which the development is carried out iteratively and the requirements evolve through continuous inspection and adaptation. Some of the most commonly used agile software development methods/frameworks are: Adaptive Software Development (ASD), Extreme Programming (XP), scrum and kanban.

Q. What can you tell us about Scrum?

Ans: Scrum is the most widely used process framework for agile development. Concepts of scrum include:

Sprint: It’s the basic unit of Scrum development and is restricted to a specific duration

Product backlog: An elaborate listing of all the product’s requirements.

Daily scrum meeting: Each day during the sprint, the project team assembles and discusses what was achieved yesterday, what is due today and the roadblocks faced. This meeting is strictly timed for 15 minutes.

Sprint Review Meeting: a meeting that reviews what was achieved in the course of the sprint and what is left.

Sprint Retrospective: team members reflect on the past sprints to learn from the previous mistakes and continuously improve.

Q.What is the purpose of the sprint planning meeting?

Ans: The spring planning meeting is held at the start of every sprint and comprises of the project team, product owner and the scrum master. The aim of this meeting is to:

  • Ascertain the capacity of the team for the current sprint.
  • Prioritize the items from the product backlog that are to be completed in the current sprint.
  • Select the items from the product backlog to be done in the current sprint based on the capacity of the team.
  • Plan the work and assign responsibilities for complete sprint duration.

The complete duration of the spring planning meeting is eight hours.

Q.What are the advantages of agile methodology over the other software development methodologies?

Ans: Agile development, due to its innate nature, is both iterative and incremental. Owing to this characteristic, all the development aspects (design, quality, requirements) are constantly reviewed and improved progressively with each sprint. Thus, the product could be adapted at any time based on the client’s need and the level of customer satisfaction is very high.

Whereas, in the conventional development methodologies, each project phase is only traversed once which restricts the flexibility to incorporate new requirements or modify existing requirements.

Q.How do you define a sprint backlog?

Ans: Sprint backlog is a collection of requirements that the development team must achieve in the next sprint. A sprint backlog is created based on the development team’s capacity and the priority of the requirements.

Conversely, a product backlog is a prioritized list of high-level requirements of the product.

Q. Why do we use a sprint burndown chart?

Ans: A sprint burndown chart is graphic visualization of the rate of progress of the current sprint. This chart is updated daily over the course of a sprint.

Q. Who all constitute a Scrum Team?

Ans: Scrum Team comprises of Product Owner, Scrum Master and the Development Team

Q. Tell us the responsibilities of a Product Owner and Scrum Master

Ans: The responsibilities of a Product Owner:

  • Primary stakeholder of the project/product
  • Create, edit and prioritize user stories
  • Add user stories to the product backlog
  • Different from the scrum master role

The responsibilities of a Scrum Master:

  • A facilitator to the project team
  • Makes resources available to the project team
  • Enforces the scrum rules on the team
  • Manage and encourage the project team
  • Chairs and arrange stand up meetings

Q. What do you know about the term ‘Spike’ in relation to scrum?

Ans: A spike is a time bound activity to conduct analysis or answer question rather than producing shippable product. Spikes are usually planned to take place in between sprints.

Q. What is the Velocity of a sprint?

Ans: Velocity of a sprint is the total amount of work the development team is capable of doing over the duration of the sprint. Velocity for a sprint is agreed upon based on the historical data available about the previous sprint of the project.

Q. What is a ‘Story Board’?

Ans: The progress of an agile project is represented by a story board. To do so, a white board is divided in four columns ‘To do’, ‘In Progress’, ‘Test’ and ‘Done’ and post It notes are placed in each column indicating the progress of individual development item (user story/task).

This way, everybody is aware of the current status of the project and of the user stories as well.

Q. Are you aware of the term ‘Tracer Bullet’?

Ans: The tracer bullet is a spike with the current architecture, current technology set, and current set of best practices which results in production of quality code.

Q. What do we mean by the terms ‘Impediment’ and ‘ScrumBag’?

Ans: Impediment denotes the ‘cause’ that is hindering the team member to work to its fullest capability and ScrumBag refers to the person, group, or any other blockers that could be a factor for Impediment.

Q. How do you define a user story with respect to Agile?

Ans: A User story is document which defines the requirement of a system/project/product in the agile environment. They dictate the ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘why’ of a requirement.

To explain a requirement, a number of user stories might get created with each one of them defining a specific aspect of the requirement. These user stories are the prioritized based on their importance, broken down into tasks followed by the developers estimating the duration of completion of each of these tasks.

Q. Have you heard of the term INVEST in relation to scrum?

Ans: INVEST is a mnemonic describing the characteristics of a good user story: Independent – The user story shouldn’t have any dependency on any other user story Negotiable – They could be changed and reframed

Valuable – They are able to add value to the end product

Estimable – It should be possible to estimate them for better planning

Scalable – they should be small sized and manageable

Testable – the tester should be able to verify the end result of the user story

Q. How is an epic useful in an agile project?

Ans: While managing a large project, there are a lot of requirements spread across multiple domains of the project and it becomes difficult to manage such large number of requirements. Thus, these requirements are documented in form of user stories and the user stories belonging to the same section of the project are clubbed to form an ‘Epic’. An epic is considered as complete only when all the user stories (and their respective tasks) belonging to it are complete.

Q. What do you know about Planning Poker?

Ans: Planning Poker is an agile planning technique aimed at gaining consensus on the estimated time to complete an activity. Team members are given Planning Poker cards with values like 1,2,3,4 and these values represent the estimation unit (hours, days)

Then, a user story is discussed and the team members are called to disclose the duration that an activity is expected to take by displaying a Planning Poker card. If all estimators selected the same value, that becomes the estimate. If not, the estimators discuss their estimates and the same process is repeated until the complete team reaches a consensus.

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