To provide a feel and understanding of the day to day job of a business analyst, here’s a typical day of a BA at a financial software company.
9:00: I’m responsible for a specific part of the financial trading workflow as part of a bigger project to migrate a new client to our software. This means I need to lead the requirements gathering and the specification for this area of functionality. I continue working on the business requirements document that I started yesterday. I detail the workflows that the business currently undertake, both the frequently and not so frequently used flows.
10:00: Its email time. I check my emails later on in the day so that I get a start on the work I need to do. Since I work with a number of different teams, service delivery, enterprise unit delivery, development, end clients, I get emails from all sorts of people. Also, as a business analyst, I have a more rounded knowledge than most people of the trading lifecycle so people will often come to me with general questions.
10:30: I have an internal meeting around service delivery process. The service delivery process is concerned with how we make changes to client systems. This process is having a change upstream around how the service is sold to clients and this has a knock on effect on the work I do and my colleagues. I’m attending this meeting to represent the views of my team and to ensure that any process changes agreed upon, make sense from a business point of view and are justified, especially given that its likely to affect how my team does its work.
11:45: I need to prep for a meeting tomorrow. I need to do a product demonstration to a prospective client. They are interested in an aspect of the software that I’ve recently become responsible for. I prepare for this by rehearsing the functionality I intend to show and ensuring that I understand what buttons, various fields and menu options do.
12:30: Lunch! I might see what they have down in the cafe, they always have a good specials menu.
13:30: I had chilli con carne for lunch! I go back to my document that I was working on before and I’ve identified some sections that I need to get more client input on. These sections explore ‘what-if’ scenarios and further aspects of how their systems currently work.
14:30: Second and final email check of the day. There’s a whole stream of emails relating to a few questions from the enterprise unit. It seems like they’re a bit lost and so I provide some direction as to what details they need to get next so they can provide a solution to the client.
15:00: I’ve got a meeting in half an hour where I need to get two developers with different skill sets talking to each other so that a solution can be coded for a requirement my client has. I’ve done my background work in determining the reasons behind this functional requirement and I’ve done a bit of systems analysis myself in understanding that the product does not cater for what the client requires but can it can do with sufficient customisation. I have various materials that I’ve put together to help understanding and conveying to these developers what is required.
17:00: Meeting went well, the developer I’m working with understands what he needs to do and has a high level plan of the work required. I need to go and talk to the project manager to schedule this work with the other work he has. I also need to have a chat to the client to set expectations around dependant product functionality that the customisation requires. Since its 5pm, I’ll put these items on my task list for tomorrow. I’m going home now!
What’s your knowledge / experience of what a business analyst does?