You got the business analyst job, now what? By the end of the first week, you want to be able to demonstrate you’ve made at least some forward progress towards being an effective contributor, but what exactly does that look like?
In this article, we’ll look at how to make the most of your first week. (This article is part 3 of a 4-part series about starting a new business analyst job.)
Learn Communication Logistics
Business analysts are communicators, and as communicators we rely on a host of technologies and services to help us keep in touch with stakeholders. By the end of the first week, you’ll want to be able to handle the technical side of any necessary communications. Here’s a checklist to start from (of course, the specifics will be different by organization):
- Send and receive email – Customize your email signature (be sure to implement any organizational standards), learn about any groups or lists that you might email to or should be on, and know how to email new people in your organization, preferably using a directory.
- Send and receive phone calls/voicemail – Set up your outgoing voicemail message, know when you have new voicemails and how to obtain them, and know how to call someone using the company directory.
- Schedule meetings – Understand all logistics related to scheduling meetings including booking conference rooms, scheduling conference calls, and using web sharing software for virtual meetings.
- Informal Communication – Understand what other communication methods your team uses, such as instant message or Skype, and set up any appropriate accounts.
- Intranet – Understand how information is shared publicly throughout the organization and review the information that’s available.
Get Up To Speed On Your Organization/Project
By the end of your first week, ideally you’ll have enough understanding of the organization’s or project’s background that you could make a meaningful contribution to the project. (Sometimes managers decide not to assign new business analysts to a task right away, in which case you may not have an actual activity to do to make a contribution, but you should feel you could jump in when the opportunity presents itself.)
Minimally, you’ll have completed the following:
- Reviewed any background information provided to you and annotated it with questions.
- Reviewed sample requirements documentation and/or templates (if they exist) or have ready-at-hand templates to suggest to your team if they do not exist.
- Received access to any technology systems and software you’ll need to analyze or use in your initial role. (In certain organizations, getting access can take some follow-up, so be sure to be proactive about what you need.)
Ideally, you’ll also have completed the following:
- Met with one or more subject matter experts to ask follow-up questions (here’s a checklist of questions to ask about a new business domain) or receive demos of key processes or software.
- Met with your manager or a fellow business analyst to get a deeper view into the business analysis process. This step might also include a deeper review of any technology tools used by the BA team.
- Explored any systems your business stakeholders use to understand generally how they work and so you are able to confirm requirements or derive relevant questions about the current state of the software.
Suggest a Next Step or Make a Contribution
While some managers want new business analysts to have more than enough time to get their bearings, it’s important to be proactive and begin making a contribution, even if it’s small. This shows you are engaged and moving.
If you’ve been assigned one or more tasks, then working through those tasks and getting the information you need to be successful in those tasks should be your top priority.
If you haven’t been assigned a task yet, here are some ideas:
- Put together a short business analysis plan showing how you expect to contribute to the team.
- Plan a meeting to discuss business objectives or whatever you deem to be the next step in the business analysis process for your project.
- Compile the results of what you’ve learned so far along with a series of next steps to discuss with your manager or project manager.
As you make suggestions and contributions, seek out and be open to feedback. While you bring expertise in business analysis, expectations vary among organizations. Ask for advice and review your plans with your manager, project manager, and key stakeholders.
As you can see, your first week is going to be a busy time but it’s also going to lay the foundation for a successful employment situation as a business analyst. Once you get through your first week, it’s time to start planning your first month or two. We cover that topic in the next article in this series.
>> Learn the Business Analysis Process
An essential element of succeeding in a new business analyst job role is understanding the business analysis process. We walk you through an 8-step business analysis process in the BA Essentials Master Class. You’ll learn a step-by-step business process that you can customize for your organization and project situations, how to create a timeline for a new business analyst assignment, and be prepared to handle the more common issues BAs face on new projects.