A good business analyst takes the lead on the project. Sure, there may be a “project manager” involved but the business analyst is the true driver for the project. It’s the business analyst who needs to setup the meetings, create the agendas, ask the questions, writes the requirements, tests the program, and signs off on the program.
I’m sure you are saying to yourself “hold on…there are other groups that do this.” You’re right, there are but the business analyst has the final ok. The business analyst has to have the will to take control in all of these areas. For example, the QA team may do the end to end testing but the business analyst MUST do the additional testing because he/she represents the business. One of the key duties of the business analyst is to think like the client. Therefore, he/she needs to test like the user. The QA team can do the specific testing, but the BA gives the final ok.
The other key component that the BA must take the lead is in the meetings. It’s very easy for a meeting to get out control or lose it’s focus. That’s where the BA must stay in control. You do that by having a detailed agenda. When I create an agenda, I actually create two….one for me, the other for everyone else. My agenda has bullet points and is detailed out with all of my notes and questions. Everyone else gets a base agenda with just the headings from my agenda. I use my agenda to keep the meeting on task and direct the meeting to get the answers I need.