The business analyst is a vital role within any project; it is their job to gather requirements from the business users. They clarify and organise those requirements, and translate them to the developers. They then work with those developers to design a suitable solution.
The problem with this, however, takes us back to the childhood game of Chinese whispers (or the telephone game if you’re from the US). The concept of this game being – a message is passed between individuals and will inevitably be distorted along the way, to a point where the originator (in our case the business) and the recipient (in our case the developers) are not working with the same information.
At Spitfire we believe in providing Consultants as opposed to Developers. Read on to find out more about our Planning Analytics Consultants.
Our belief is that to be a Consultant you must be skilled in the systems that you work with but more importantly you must be able to interact directly with the business and take on that Business Analyst role. All of our Consultants have come from a Finance background, so they understand the issues that a Finance Team is facing. The benefits of this approach are:
- Detail – we won’t just ask what the system needs to do but WHY it needs to do it. Exploring the core reasons behind a task not only helps the Consultant better understand your business (improving communication efficiency) but allows for them to suggest alternative solutions based on their experience.
- Testing – the more we understand about your business means the more testing we can do before we release it to the users for User Acceptance Testing. Our approach of using Consultants who understand Finance and therefore your issues, cuts down issues during the Testing phase, as they are able to catch and fix the majority of issues before the users even see them. This reduces the time required by the business to test and retest; and more importantly increases the confidence the users have in the system before it is released!
- Clarity – regular communication in small bursts allows for a true implementation of the agile methodology better suited to meeting your true requirements. During every interaction between the business and the Consultant, the business expand their knowledge of the software and the Consultant expands their knowledge of the business. This means that requirements can be updated based on the improved understanding; and the business secures a system that actually fits their needs.
- Relationship – at Spitfire we understand that sometimes the person in the business with the knowledge required to build a solution can find it all a bit daunting. They’ve probably managed to get by with their current process for a long time and could be worried at having to learn how to use a new system or even worse in fear that their job will be replaced by a system. We take the time to work with those individuals and show them how each part of the system works for them along the way, designing it not just to solve a problem but in a way that makes logical sense TO THEM. We can show them how the system will help deliver insights quickly that allow them to take that information and act on it in ways they will wish they could have done all along.