Sunday, July 21, 2013

A day in the life of ... A Business Analyst

Business Analysts or BAs as they are typically called, come in various flavors, and their duties vary accordingly. Some BAs code quite a bit, while others interface mostly with internal clients on applications (e.g. acting as internal consultants on critical projects), gather requirements in support of new systems, processes or tools, while yet others mine organizational structures to find ways to make the business more efficient. The best BAs tend to be excellent generalists at the very top of their game.

Depending on their roles and how they conduct themselves relative to business stakeholders, BAs may be either loved or hated in the organization. Of course a lot also depends on the organization's culture and management's attitude towards internal consultants. In a good company, people in these roles have the ear of senior management and tend to have access to the fast-track in terms of promotions, career growth etc. And of course, if the company has
a stellar reputation and is one of the leaders in its field, then these BAs tend to have excellent exit options in other firms of repute, landing there in director level positions. Usually though, these positions go to managers of BA teams, not individual contributors.

More often than not though, company culture doesn't give BAs the importance they deserve, so many of these people either leave or move towards more specialized functions where they get more attention and better compensation. 

A typical BA's day might go something like this: 

0730: show up at work and catch up on email. hopefully no crises
      surfaced from the other side of the world while the US was 

0800: prepare for the morning meeting, gathering notes on 
      progress made since yesterday with clear notes on tasks 
      accomplished, those pending, blocking issues etc

0830: attend a meeting hosted by project management with boss 
      and rest of team present give readout, take feedback

0900  launch application (if that's what you're working on)
till  write application documentation
1500: identify weak spots or issues, determine contacts or 
      Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to fill these in, set up 

1500  meet with various contacts within the company to gather 
till  more information add more details to your specification
1800: check email to track any new urgent issues
      conduct training sessions as needed with users or your team

1830: log off and go home.

2130  get on the phone with staff in other time-zones and monitor
till  progress or provide support as needed (usually, if in the 
2330: US, this is staff in "low cost centers")