Name: Jayesh Jain
Title: Senior Business Analyst
Employer: Prism Software Ltd
What company do you work for?
I work for Prism Software which developed the world’s leading Management Information System (MIS) software and shop-floor management tools specifically for the printing and graphic arts industries.
What is your main role at your current company?
I work as a Senior Business Analyst in the MIS Product development team. I work as a liaison between business units around the world and in-house development team. My key role includes elicitation, analysing and managing the sprint release. I ensure the completion and acceptance of requirements, assist QA team and produce training material. I am also a mentor to the junior business analysts at prism.
What do you find challenging about your job?
Working on a commercial product which has customer based in most part of the world does come with its own challenge. Every new feature or enhancement has to analyse thoroughly with an impact analysis to make sure it will work in every region and in every business environment.
What have you found that makes your job easier?
‘Relationship before Task’ is my motto, I spend as much time as possible to built a working relation with every person I interact with (including customers) and have found that extremely helpful. As far as requirements are concerned I make sure they are very clear and unambiguous. Every time there is a change in business process / software I make sure I involve as many end users (actual users) as possible, I never forget that they are the ones which are affected the most.
How did you become an Analyst (or current role)?
During my entire work life I was always involved directly with customers (pre-sale and post-sale support) this gave me excellent opportunity to see things from the business side. My previous company where I joined as developer recognized my business analysis skills along with domain knowledge and formally acknowledge me as a Business Analysis.
What is one piece of advice that you would like to pass on to other Business Analysts?
Get yourself a mentor, someone who you aspire to and has some time for you every now and then. Even if you are not applying or planning for CBAP certification make sure you read and follow the BABOK, record all the details of the projects you are working on (preferably in the knowledge areas defined by BABOK). Join the IIBA study group, it is the best place to meet other BAs and get an exposure to other businesses and industries.
What does a day in your role as Business Analyst look like?
My typical day starts with checking email to make sure there are no urgent issues to be addressed and if there are any feedbacks on the previous proposals. As a ScrumMaster I run the scrum meeting at 10:00 AM and then go through the priority list defined by the business units, start working on the high priorities enhancement/defects. On the planning day run the planning meeting, record the completed task and estimate the new tasks (we use story pointes and planning poker for estimation). Based on the planning estimates we sign up for tasks to be completed that week, finally I inform the business units of the outcome of the meeting. Some part of my day also goes in mentoring other BA within the team, peer reviewing their proposal and making sure the standards and protocols are followed.
How do you see your value and role as BA on an Agile project?
Some of the agile project (if not all) gets disconnected from the business stakeholder over its development course and as a BA I am a very important link to ensure this does not happen. Our Agile development is very organic and does change depending about the business needs, I have to be constantly on my toes to make sure all the changes are discussed, agreed and impact analysis is completed. As a BA I also have business knowledge which puts me in better position to evaluate every option in terms of their business benefit for the business users and best interest of the stakeholders. Since I am involved into day to day changes I am able to report any delay/issues or risk back to the sponsor proactively I also ensure that all the wok performed are aligned with the stakeholder's goals and long term company strategies.
What type of deliverable do you produce as a BA on an Agile project?
I am involved in maintain the ‘Product Backlog’, at the end of a sprint and beginning of another sprint I run the planning meeting to agree on a list of features to be included in the release during the meeting I produce a ‘Sprint Backlog’ and a ‘Sprint Burndown Chart’. For every task in sprint I prepare a card to record the user story, estimate and progress.
If you were to learn a new skill or competency what would it be and why?
I am currently studying towards my CBAP certification, my goal for this year to clear the exam. I would also like to get involve with organization strategies and move my role toward enterprise business analyst.
Anything else about yourself which you want to share with the BA community?
Working in an agile environment is quite different, we emphasise more on working software over documentation. The biggest advantage in an agile environment is the project visibility and the flexibility to change things in case of business changes. I do not believe that there should be no documentation in an agile environment but make sure the documents are light weight and think about how will you maintain it, an unmaintained document is more dangerous to business than no documentation.