In this, the second of a series of ‘In our shoes’ blogs, Triad Business Analyst Samantha Lloyd talks about all things BA.
Q: What is a Business Analyst?
A business analyst (BA) is the ultimate trouble-shooter and problem solver. Often acting as a conduit between business and technical functions, a BA will gather, analyse and evaluate information and ultimately define the best fit solution to a problem for an organisation.
Q: How did you end up at Triad doing this role?
I had been a BA for over 20 years for blue-chip organisations and public sector clients. The idea of being a consultant appealed to me. And I liked Triad’s ethos of ‘doing things right’, because offering a great service to customers is a key motivator for me.
Q: What do you think is the secret to being a brilliant BA?
Having the confidence to be flexible. For every set of data gathered and analysed to every solution/business process designed, there is a need to present this back to users and key stakeholders in a way that is meaningful. Being a brilliant BA means not being afraid to use all different sorts of tools diagrams, report templates and designs to present this data. Also, I think it’s important to be able to visualise the best ways in which information could be presented and not be afraid to create a whole new type of diagram or a hybrid diagram such as a BPMN/system architecture diagram.
Q: Do you have a role model? And if so, how have they influenced you?
When I joined Triad, I adopted Tom Jacobs as my role model. I find that Tom is very grounded. When an unexpected situation occurs, he can evaluate it logically, assessing what needs to be done and which things are not within his remit. He gives great advice and is an excellent mentor. I have been able to learn from Tom’s style and approach, which has helped me to guide more junior team members on projects.
Q: What is a typical day in BA like?
I usually start my day by checking my emails and dealing with anything that requires a quick response, flagging other emails for later. Typically, I plan my day prior to the daily stand-up meetings which we have every morning, so I can update the team on what I will be working on.
On an Agile delivery project, I will be speaking to users, gathering requirements, analysing these and producing options to present in terms of business processes or solutions. I sometimes get involved in wireframing designs to help users visualise what the end result may look like, and I write up the requirements into user stories which I then run through with the developers to ensure that these can be turned into a tangible product.
I recently worked on a discovery project which involved conducting many user interviews, analysing the transcripts from these, and identifying common themes and issues to present in our discovery report.
My favourite assignment so far was helping a large public sector client identify a new COTS project management product. I enjoyed working with suppliers to identify solutions that would best fit the client’s needs. And it was very satisfying when the client implemented my recommendations.
Q: What do you love most about your role at Triad?
The variety of work. Every customer is different. With a different set of needs. And so, every project is a new challenge. It is satisfying to know that you’ve made a difference to somebody’s ability to do their job.
Q: What’s the hardest thing about your role?
Managing expectations. Especially when customers are expecting everything in the first release. However, working with customers to prioritise the most important outcomes really helps with this.
Q: What advice would you give to someone considering BA as a role?
Speak to a BA and find out about all the different aspects of the role. And not all of them are technical. You can choose to focus on a specific are e.g., business change or you can take a broader approach.
If you are interested in Business Analysis or have a question for the Triad team, then please get in touch here.