About analysis without scary words
In this article I will try to talk about the profession of business analytics for beginners and those who want to start their career.
Without experience in this field, you may ask a reasonable question: “What is the difference between a business and a systems analyst?” They tried to find the answer to this question many times on Habré, nobody has a definite answer, but there are many good articles.
One of them: Business analyst and systems analyst in IT. Understanding Grades
I have been working as an analyst for Oracle Siebel CRM for more than 3 years, I have been training trainees for the harsh realities of working days for more than a year. As a rule, my teaching style consists of small introductory lectures and the immediate disposal of the trainee for real tasks with quality control of execution.
In conditions of self-isolation, I came across an interesting case: working as a consultant for a company with strict security requirements, I did not have the opportunity to consolidate the transferred theoretical knowledge with practical application. This led me to a very interesting challenge for the mentor: the need to present the theory in such a way as to minimize the concepts abstract for the trainee, preparing him for real tasks without practical experience. I will try to fix the gained experience in this article.
What does the analyst do?
Usually, when answering a question about my profession, I say that the analyst is a translator from the language of the humanities to the language of techies. But is it ever so simple in the world?
In fact, analytics consists of the following steps:
- Receive a request to finalize the system
- Clarification of the desired result obtained by the user at the end of your process
- Clarification of the current work process
- Preliminary solution design
- Coordination with the customer of additional process steps, if necessary to achieve the result,
- Adjustment of the solution
- Coordination of the process with the customer
- Design of technical specifications for the developer
- Testing the main functional scenarios
- Documentation, writing user instructions
- Transfer of functionality to the customer
More about each step
Receive request for revision
As a rule, customers of improvements are people far from the IT sphere. Requirements are rarely systematized, described clearly and logically. This is what you will have to fix before passing the task to the developer.
Clarification of the desired result
Here you must specify what exactly the customer wants. It can be anything: changing the status of an application, generating a document, sending SMS or E-mail, in general, everything that an IT system can do.
Always be guided by the following principles at this stage:
- For you, there should not be a single abstract concept in the statement of the problem from the customer. If you are not sure that the understanding of some words is the same for you and the customer, make sure that you have reached an understanding.
- There are no stupid questions, there are incorrectly formulated and incorrectly addressed. The analyst is not an expert in all areas of business, but must be able to quickly figure out a new area. Don't be afraid to ask.
Refinement of the current process
Most often, the current work process is called the “AS-IS process”
After completing this step, you should imagine the process as black box .
Preliminary solution design
This step involves defining a future process or, as they say, a “TO-BE process.”
After completing this stage, your black box should turn into white, that is, you definitely need to know what is happening inside the process.It looks something like this:
Be guided by the following principles:
- The process must be divided into arithmetic and logical functions. The squares inside the white box are these functions.
- When designing, you must answer all the questions "what if." regarding his decision. If in the future you are asked a question starting with these words, and you cannot answer, then you did a poor job.
Coordination of additional steps
You may have noticed that “Input 3” has appeared in the white box. Sometimes you may find that there is not enough data in the system to achieve the result. Let us take as an example some kind of certificate on concluding an agreement between the customer’s company and the client, which should reflect the patronymic of the client not stored in your system. In this case, you must inform the customer about this and propose a solution to the problem, for example, add the Patronymic field to the system and ensure its completion. For users, this means filling in an additional field when working with the system, which must be agreed with the customer.
Adjustment of the solution
Sometimes coordination of new process steps takes place with comments to your decision from the customer. In this case, you must adjust the proposed solution. But this does not always happen, which means that you are well done and completed the design at the step “Preliminary design of the solution”
After completion of the design, the process must be agreed with the customer. The approval format most often depends on the realities of a particular company and a specific customer. This can be textual descriptions of the process, a description of the notation of the description of business processes, or oral approval.
Preparation of technical specifications
The format of the technical task also depends on the standards adopted by the customer and the contractor and, often, on the competence of the developer: inexperienced developers need a more detailed description of the process. Over my career, I have met companies in which there were no technical tasks at all and everything was discussed in a free format, but all productions have a common feature: you must describe the arithmetic and logical functions defined at the design stage, text or visually, in the form of circuits.
Anticipating the question, yes, analysts often do testing. But, as a rule, this testing is superficial to make sure that the developer understood you correctly. Usually it is limited to going through the main scenarios of work to identify the presence of critical defects, that is, bugs that do not allow you to achieve the desired result in any way. QA experts search for minor defects and test functional under different conditions.
Perhaps this is the most unloved stage of most analysts, but your expert knowledge of the functional should be recorded in writing. Write the documentation well: the process should be described in sufficient detail so that an unenlightened specialist can understand what is happening inside the white box, and short enough so that it can be read and not fall asleep.
User instructions is a short memo for the end user of your functionality, in which user actions are described in steps. This type of documentation should consist of a list of actions; it should not contain technical terms.
The format of these documents also depends on the standards adopted in a particular company-customer.
Transfer of functionality to the customer
The most enjoyable part of the job. Here you demonstrate the work done to the customer, collect laurels, take pride in the work done and charge yourself with positive for the next task.
The work of the analyst includes a bunch of communication, brainstorming and using all the capabilities of the logic that nature has endowed you with.
If you enjoy systematization and optimization, if you like everything in life to be clear and logical, working as an analyst will give you a lot of pleasure, and you will surely achieve the heights in your career.
I hope my article helped you build up your impression of analytics and led to your awareness of your path in life. Good luck !.