My name is Alexis and I’m a senior consultant with Logic20/20. During my three years here, I’ve worked mainly on custom application development projects. In my current project we’re developing a software tool that aggregates data from many upstream data sources then converts designs into materials orders and calculates the correct time to order and deliver them. Our team includes eight consultants, including a technical project manager (TPM), solution architect, database administrator (DBA), four front-end app developers (“the devs”) and me, a business systems analyst (BSA).
What I do
As a BSA, I like to think I sit both on the edge and in the middle of the team. My role is very client-facing, which is consultant speak for a person who is responsible for a lot of direct client interaction on behalf of the team, versus less client facing individuals, who are more purely delivery-focused. I gather business and functional requirements from our clients for changes and enhancements and work closely with the TPM, architect, DBA and devs to be sure that technical requirements and constraints are understood by all parties involved. I partner with our TPM to manage our agile work through backlog grooming and sprint planning, as well as processing requests for enhancements and bug fixes. I’m also responsible for daily testing to keep our team moving quickly.
A Typical Day
A typical work day starts at 8am; I work at the Logic20/20 office 4 days a week right now because our project is in the sunset phase, entering the last six months of an estimated two-year timeline. Even though I know my clients well now, I spend one day a week on-site to ensure some meetings can happen face-to-face. At the start of this project, I spent most days on site with my clients. I spend the first 20 minutes of my day getting settled: I make avocado toast, grab a cup of coffee, and read through any emails received since the day prior and prune my inbox, which includes reviewing and classifying new enhancements and bugs. Then, two short meetings to kick the day off:
• At 8:45, I attend a daily stand up -a 15-minute team call during which each of us shares three things: what we did yesterday, what we plan to do today, and whether we have any blockers to getting that done.
• At 9am, a smaller subset of the team attends a 30-min bug triage, where we document any new bugs or changes discovered and we triage anything we can in a short amount of time.
• From 9:30-4:30, I spend 50% of my time on average in project meetings and 50% of my time documenting requirements and design or testing. Most of my work is client work, but I also spend a few hours a week on internal commitments including career management meetings with my career managees, pre-sales support responding to new RFPs, and committee meetings.
Project meetings include requirements-gathering conversations with our client about desired new features, design meetings with the architect to ensure design accommodates both functional needs and technical constraints in the most efficient manner, sprint planning, calls with the DBA to ensure database changes will cover business needs, deep-dives with devs to flesh out requirements, focused testing sessions, planning meetings with the TPM, and check-ins with one of many integration partners and wider project stakeholders, as the tool I work on aggregates data from seven upstream data sources to produce an output for one downstream integration point.
Requirements and design entails recording in detail the expected functionality and business benefits of new features, as well as wireframing the new UI.
Testing involves ensuring the app operates as desired when code or database schema/views are changed. Though it may sound the most straight-forward, it can be challenging to develop good tests and cover all cases.
Lunch and Breaks
I am religious about eating homemade lunches, but I am bad about actually taking a lunch break- I often eat at my desk. A few days a week, I take a walk down 1st Ave to Starbucks or Macrina Bakery to stretch my legs and get some fresh air. Most days, I leave the office and am done for the day by 4:30 or 5.
• When I’m documenting requirements and design, I’m putting text-based info into Confluence or JIRA, and I’m putting visual design (wireframes) into Balsamiq.
• Process documentation and diagrams are done in LucidChart.
• I frequently use SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) to query data for triage and testing and build quick reports (anything small not taken care of by the DBA).
• I use Excel mostly for pivot tables and sharing sample datasets between teams.
• I use PowerPoint for client presentations.
• And not to be forgotten: SnagIt for constant screenshots and tidy annotation, FullStory for playing back user sessions when I can’t easily recreate a bug, and Postman and Swagger for checking out API endpoints.
• If I’m not in one of those tools I’m in Outlook (although I’ll admit I have all desktop and iPhone notifications disabled for my sanity), on Slack for internal team communication, and on Skype for Business on the client side.
My work is a good fit for me because it keeps me fully mentally engaged and interacting with a variety of people. It’s really important to me to help people, whatever the work is. With my current project, I’m contributing to a tool that Is used by almost 1,000 people every day. The quality and functionality of the tool makes their days go better…or worse. The drive towards creating a better product, and a better day, for all those people is what helps me tackle everything with a fresh mind every day.