This will be the first in many series where we will be giving a recount of what Business Analysts (BA) actually do on a day-to-day basis.
I will start with a recount of my own experience as a BA in one of the top Telecommunications Company in Europe.
I read through my emails from the previous day, and then checked my calendar to see how much I needed to clear out of the way. It seems like today will be one of those very busy days but then again, busy is good (sometimes).
I looked through my meeting agenda for today; some vendors will be around today to sell their services to us. I had prepared a series of questions and sent it ahead of the vendors’ visit; this was to ensure they understood our problem statements and had a clue of what we wanted (we were not interested in any blind selling). I went up to the 3rd floor to ensure all the equipment (projector, laptops, phone and video conferencing screen) were working fine; I did not want any surprises.
The first vendor arrived and I got an email from reception, so I had to dash down to get them into our meeting room on the 3rd floor, good thing the elevators were working fine. It would have been a good exercise for us all. I chatted with them, trying to break the ice by using my BA communication skills.
10 AM- 2.50 PM
When I said busy, I really meant busy. It was a full workshop, four of the vendors we had identified during our initial research, who had responded to our Request for Information (RFI) came in today. I had prepared a series of questions to ensure they were on track with the level of information we required.
Even after steering the vendors in the right direction to ensure that they focused on our problems, an “Expert Sales Director” representing one of the vendors still went ahead with his sales pitch. Needless to say, we set him back on track. I had the critical task of eliciting and documenting all the necessary information from the vendors and at the same time I updated my knowledge bank with new and relevant information from the workshop.
At the close of the work shop, I had to collate all the information from the sessions. I then started to put the pieces together for the early part of the Vendor’s Requirement Documentation. I had enough information to set the ball rolling. I also started creating a Vendor Selection Justification Pack, which would eventually be presented to the Project Steering Committee and Head of Procurement. There must be a concrete reason for not selecting any vendor and I was responsible for ensuring this was aptly captured.
3 -3.45 PM
I dashed down to the kitchen to buy myself a cup of coffee and an energy snack bar and then rushed back to my desk, just in time for the team meeting. The weekly team meeting is chaired by the Project Manager, who tries to review the progress of the project and discusses any project Risks, Assumptions, Issues and Dependencies (RAID).
I updated the project team on where I was with the end to end analysis I was carrying out and then gave a structured walk-through on the High Level Process I had designed for the project. A few changes to some steps in the process was suggested by the team. Some risks I called out previously were also closed.
The Systems Architect and the Subject Matter Expert (SME) suggested that I engaged with some newly identified stakeholders who may be affected by our project. This also meant I had to carry out some more People Process & Technology (PPT) analysis.
I completed the first draft of the “Vendor Selection Justification Pack” and emailed it to the Project Manager, then I had a quick chat with him to ensure that I had adequately covered all angles. He made a few suggestions and I went off to update the pack.
I started to put some flesh to the Vendor Requirement Document but still had a few open questions that I would need to clarify with the SME and the vendors; the vendor’s bit would have to wait till the next day. I was able to clarify a few of the open questions with SME and the Head of Business Analysis for Business Support Systems (BSS), not a bad start!
I also created the framework for the Vendor Scoring Matrix that would be used by the project team for the next vendor selection phase.
I parked (temporarily suspended) the Vendor’s Requirement Document and started to prepare an agenda for the next day’s workshop with key stakeholders. The aim of the workshop will be to go through the intermediate vendor selection process and to review the first draft of the Vendor Requirement Document with the stakeholders.
I finally had the chance to read through the outstanding emails for the day. By the time I was done with the emails, I knew it was clearly time to head out. Quite an intense day but all is well that ends well.
Tomorrow will definitely be another busy day.
This account has been provided by Toyin Aromire, a Lead Business Analyst with a leading Telecoms company in the United Kingdom. You can ask him any questions regarding this post.