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A Day In The Life Of An IT Project Business Analyst

“Among the big pluses of being a Business Analyst (BA) is the fact that every day is different!”

That was the feedback I got when I ran the idea of a “day in the life of a BA” blog post by Stoneseed’s team of Business Analysts.

A Stoneseed BA’s day will vary depending on the client’s requirements and project type. Whether it’s an Agile, Waterfall or Hybrid environment and whether its product, Infrastructure, software or digital transformation project for example. The life of a Stoneseed Ba is very varied, on this particular day, it is a for a client who is delivering an Agile software upgrade and development project.

A BA’s day might consist of attending and facilitating workshops, BA workstream planning, documentation management and communication, and liaising with stakeholders about proposed solutions based on the BAs own analysis. Oh, and creation, application and delivery of something called a “user story”. More on that to come.

It’s a role that changes by the day and that’s why BAs are never bored!

Jess, a Stoneseed BA from Manchester, agreed to keep a diary of a day!

Enjoy!

A day in the life of a Business Analyst

6:30 AM – The Morning Routine

It’s an early start for an IT Project Business Analyst. My morning routine consists of a strong coffee, then over breakfast, I catch up on any overnight emails. This sets the tone for whole the day. I also like to skim through industry news and trends to stay updated with the latest tech advancements and market changes – this social ammunition not only keeps me informed but also prepares me for potential discussions with my colleagues and project stakeholders.

My harvesting of “talking points” and new ideas can spill over onto my train commute, if I’m office based that day, but on this particular day I was working from home, as this is a hybrid working engagement, so my commute was across my hallway to my home office.

8:00 AM – Start of the Working Day

My first task is to familiarise myself with and review the day’s agenda and prioritise tasks – often the agenda set the day or a week before is no longer pertinent to the project’s actual priorities. Checking emails for any urgent requests, updates from the development team, or feedback from stakeholders can give me a sense of the day I need to design. I can then rearrange meetings and workflows; a well-organised to-do list is crucial for managing what will unfold throughout the day.

8:30 AM – Teams “Stand-Up” Meeting

The company I’m supporting currently (Via Stoneseed’s Project Management as a Service), runs mainly Agile projects. So, a daily stand-up meeting with the project team is a key to my day as a BA. If we’re all office-based we’ll do this as a stand-up meeting, but it works on Team as well. This meeting is usually no longer than 15 minutes and allows team members to share what they worked on the previous day, what they plan to work on today, and any obstacles or challenges that they are facing. A BA’s listening skills are essential here, by listening actively, and taking note of any issues that need addressing, I can ensure that the project remains on track.

9:00 AM – Requirements Gathering

Today I had a “Requirements Gathering” session, I love these! Gathering and documenting project requirements is among the most critical tasks for a BA, and this involves meeting with stakeholders to understand their needs, discussing project scope, and translating these needs into clear, actionable requirements. A good BA must ask the right questions and listen attentively to ensure nothing is missed and have excellent communication skills to make sure everyone is on the same page every day!

11:00 AM – Analysis and Documentation

After gathering requirements, I spend time analysing the information, identifying patterns, rewording requirements, and making sure that everything aligns with the business objectives. I then create detailed documentation, that will serve as a blueprint for the development team, a reference point for stakeholders and a place of focus, transparency and clarity for all who will need it. I’ll also prepare either a Requirements Review workshop or send out the requirements for review, once my analysis is complete.

12:30 PM – Lunch Break

I try to always stop for lunch, that 30 minutes gives me a well-earned break from my screen and a chance to grab some lunch. It’s a chance to refuel and also mentally refocus ready for the afternoon. I also like to network with colleagues over lunch, especially when onsite, which gives me a chance to learn more about the culture and activities of the business I’m supporting (often talking like this can spark fresh and innovative ideas). Location permitting, I will sometimes take a short a walk in the fresh air.

1:00 PM – Stakeholder Meeting

It’s not usually 90 minutes, but often I’ll check in with stakeholders for a meeting to review and confirm requirements to ensure that the project remains aligned with business goals. It’s also a chance to ensure that any changes in scope are addressed promptly. I facilitate and direct these discussions, listening to and addressing any concerns stakeholders might have and making necessary adjustments to the project plan. Clear and open communication avoids misunderstandings and keeps everyone on the same page at all times.

2:30 PM – Collaborating with the Development Team

Today I had a collaborative meeting with the project development team, which is a significant part of a BA’s role, and among my personal favourites as I get to work with the project team’s creatives! A big part of my role is providing a bridge between the business and the development talent, they think and talk differently so I act as a translator. In this meeting, we clarify requirements and refinements, discuss technical constraints, and ensure that the development talent understand the business context of the project. As a BA, I act as a liaison and interpreter, turning technical jargon into business language and vice versa. I also get to participate in design discussions, providing input from a business perspective to ensure that the end product meets end user needs.

3:00 PM – User Story Creation

In Agile projects, BAs are responsible for creating user stories and can be responsible for managing the product backlog, if required, in the absence of a Product Owner. A user story is basically a requirement, in a brief, simple description of a feature from the perspective of the end-user. With the stakeholders, we’ll prioritise such stories based on business value and urgency.

4:30 PM – Testing and Quality Assurance

Quick one today, this part of the day can be much longer as ensuring the quality of the end-product is a critical responsibility for a BA. Half an hour collaborating with our QA (Quality Assurance) team to support in the development of test plans and test cases pays huge dividends later on. This phase is crucial for identifying and resolving issues before project delivery and the end-product goes live. Attention to detail and a thorough understanding of the requirements are essential for effective testing, clarifying the parameters for this is also my responsibility.

Tomorrow in this slot I’ll be supporting the User Acceptance Testing (UAT) to confirm that the product meets business requirements.

5:00 PM – Wrap-Up and Planning for Tomorrow

Before clocking off, I review the progress made and update project documentation accordingly. This is also a time to reflect on any challenges the project(s) faced during the day and plan for the next. Setting priorities for the following day ensures that I remain focused and organised. I might also take a few minutes to catch up on industry news or continue learning about new tools and methodologies.

5:30 PM – Home Time

After a productive day, at about 5.30, I usually head home, but as I’m already there today I headed for the fridge for a well-earned glass of New Zealand Sauvignon! On other days, the commute allows a chance to unwind, listen to a podcast, or read a book. I try to put the time to good use, reading up on the latest trends in business analysis and technology. Continuous learning is vital in our ever-changing industry, and new tools, tech and methodologies are emerging all the time. Once home it’s time to relax, I try not to burn the candle at both ends (well, not too much!), a good night’s sleep is essential to recharge for another busy day ahead when one thing is for sure, the day, like all days, will be very different to the last!

So, What Could a Business Analyst Do for You?

That’s just one BA on one day! BAs are 365-day-a-year stakeholder issue and problem solvers, making stakeholders’ lives easier by translating business wants and needs into requirements and user stories, providing a bridge between the business and the tech, to define the best technological solution that’s fit for purpose. BAs elicit business requirements from project stakeholders and sponsors on one side of the bridge and produce an array of documentation on the other (uses cases, process flows/models, requirements catalogues, gap analyses, etc), for the technical teams.

They’re more than just “documentation” though and collaborate with the Project Management team to manage stakeholder expectations and timescales and build stakeholder relationships with operational and tech talent.

Stoneseed’s BAaaS (Business Analysis as a Service) can provide the BA support that your IT Projects need, without you committing to full time hires or contractors. Whether it’s production of a business case for an IT Project, requirements gathering or gap analysis to help with project implementation, we can supply BA expertise and resources. Resources can be deployed to support just one project, multiple projects or a programme of projects in any geographical location.

You can align resources as and when you need them, on a cost effective, full-time or part-time basis and BAaaS can be tailored to your specific requirement. Stoneseed’s BA team are experienced across multiple technology solutions, sectors and industries and we work with all types of projects and programmes such as Business Change, Transformation, Infrastructure, Digital or IT Project Delivery.

Click to find out more about Business Analysis as a Service and our wider Project Management as a Service portfolio or call Stoneseed to explore how “days in the life” of our BA team could be making a real business IT difference for you.

Find out more about BA as a Service from Stoneseed

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