The Shock Absorber: Salman Saleem
Categories: Business Analyst
Name: Salman Saleem
Title: Functional Specialist
What company do you work for?
I work for Telenor Pakistan, the second largest telecommunications operator in Pakistan. It is part of Telenor Global, which is the world's 7th largest telecommunications service provider. We started off as a telegraph service provider in 1855 and now we have expanded to over 13 countries, and further growing. Our vision is that we are here to help in any manner that we can to improve the lives of the people. Telenor never backs off from trying new things to improve customer experience and bringing ease into their daily lives.
What is your main role at your current employer?
My role at Telenor Pakistan can be divided into:
- Understanding and assessing customer and organization business needs/requirements, analysing options and proposing suitable solutions.
- Eliciting requirements using interviews, document analysis, storyboards, surveys, site visits, business process descriptions, use cases and scenarios.
- Representing requirements using alternative views, such as analysis models (diagrams), prototypes, or scenarios.
- Discussing any proposed solution with architects, specialists, developers and end users to ensure its technical viability and to identifying any problems.
- Working with development/application architects, quality specialist and other team to provide a consensus-based enterprise solution that is scalable, adaptable and in synchronization with ever changing business needs.
- Getting involved in the development of policies, standards and guidelines that direct the selection, development, implementation and use of application within and outside the organization.
- Conducting and planning training for users of the new system to ensure that it continues to work effectively and to their satisfaction.
- Effectively participating in the overall product development lifecycle including the analysis, design, testing, and implementation of software solutions, and helping align business requirements with software functions and features.
- Anticipating and catching deviations from a plan or schedule as early as possible and keeping all team members and stakeholders informed.
What do you find challenging about your job?
The most challenging thing about my job is its ever changing nature. Every day comes up as a new challenge; every stakeholder has a different set of needs that are to be dealt with. You have to earn their trust (the most difficult part), make friends with them, advise them, mentor them, challenge them, convince them, assure them and understand their needs. These different facets require me to wear different hats, and I absolutely love this part of my job.
What have you found that makes your job easier?
Bringing everybody together makes your job a lot easier. Communication is the key as we all are on the same boat. The more closely I work with stakeholders, the more easily my job gets, so is the case with the solution development team. Over time, I've found that the most effective way to make your job easier is to make the lives of all those involved easier and remove their fears. Remove the fear from the stakeholder that he/she is going to get exactly what is required in the process, remove the fear of over commitment/difficulty from your side on behalf of the development team, and it makes work and interactions very easy to do. Effective communication makes your job fun.
How did you become a Business Analyst in terms of career progression?
Business Analysis is my fascination ever since I stepped into the university. When I graduated, there were very few jobs in Pakistan for Business Analysts, usually combined with programming as a 'Programmer Analyst' or 'Implementation Analyst'. The 'Business' in business analysis was missing. I started off working as a Technical Writer for a well-respected management consultant and information solutions firm. Documentation was my only responsibility, from technical to promotional. But this served as the launch-pad for my career as I got to work on different business domains, large and small, giving me the opportunity to learn end-to-end business models, which gave me vast amounts of knowledge that I could use to understand user needs in the future. My next job was as a Business Analyst for a software solutions firm where I got the first chance to use the knowledge I had gained. Now I work for Telenor Pakistan, heading and working with a team of business / functional analysts.
What is one piece of advice that you would like to pass on to junior Business Analysts?
Anyone and everyone can be your teacher. Be open, passionate and willing to learn at all times. Never hesitate to share your knowledge with others, it will increase your knowledge more than you could ever imagine.
What does a day in your role as Business Analyst look like?
The day starts with receiving emails from different employees for support / resolution of any issues they face using / in the applications. I usually filter out what seem to be understanding issues that come in my domain, call them up, and try to have resolution to issues right there and then. Technical issues are filtered and sent to the technical team for resolution. Next activity usually is a series of meetings, internal and external, where we review progress on our current projects, or get in touch with the stakeholders (team and business process owners) for their input. On and off interaction with different members of the team and guiding them on solving any problems they're facing is also on the go. Based on the lifecycle phase we are in, I engage either as a Business Analyst with the team or in case of Quality Assurance, snap check the application at different points to see if they are being developed as desired. When available with some time, I research on new methods / approaches and different areas of Business Analysis and discuss anything new I learnt with my team. Some of my evening time, usually late hours are spent attending short webinars from different speakers throughout the world, on different topics in Business Analysis, and this is mostly due to the difference of time zones.
If you were to learn a new skill or competency what would it be and why?
I would love to learn stakeholder profiling at greater depths, because this would allow me to define my strategy in dealing with the stakeholder. In brief, I've studied that psychological/analytical and business profiling of stakeholders is performed by Business Analysts to provide them with exactly what they are looking for. I want to provide consultancy services to companies on how to improve their business models, as I gain more experience in this arena.
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