Violet is a young, vibrant business analyst who exhibits her vigour and passion for her work. Joining the delaware Singapore team in 2019 fresh out of university, little did she know that her work as an Enterprise Information Management (EIM) analyst required more people skills than others.
With resilience, adaptability and a bright smile on her face, Violet quickly overcame new challenges in her way. From carrying out the system testing for the content system server upgrading to handling her first change request (CR) for data migration of sensitive documents, Violet shares some fundamental practices that she incorporates into her work.
Starting her journey 15 months ago, here are some of her key experiences working at delaware, which helped her acclimatize to the way she interacts and handles customers while also working closely with the internal team.
Change management plays an essential role in helping users understand how the deployed changes or enhancement might affect their day-to-day work while addressing their concerns. This includes going the extra mile to assist customers with managing their end-users problems while scheduling time to ensure my duties and ensure that they are not compromised.
For instance, the change management plan we came up with is to help the end-users (the employees) be informed of the system enhancements, whether it is the reduction of steps required to perform a task or if entirely different sets of actions are needed. Thus, the implementation came hand in hand with frequent email communications to users and designing self-help guides for users to refer to and retraining. In addition, we addressed anticipated questions to provide a better understanding of the update. We also have regular check-ins with the helpdesk to ensure that our information is user-friendly.
At work, I often incorporate elements of the design thinking approach into my solutioning process to create the most value for our customers. It allows me to think through each phase of the change requested to understand how we can eliminate any points of frustration that users may face.
This thinking process helps us to uncover new areas of potential concern that customers did not know about, recommend further enhancements to features and components, and address any unintentional downstream impacts to other processes. In addition, this process gives me a more precise understanding of the customers’ business needs and pain points to reach an agreement on the problem statement before creating relevant components of the solution (mock-ups/MVPs of the solution).
My team and I frequently use the agile methodology during the project with customers. It grants users the opportunity to provide timely feedback about the experience and difficulties of using the product. It is also crucial to encourage collaboration between the different teams at the customers’ organisation to ensure the product meets all customers’ expectations. This will allow us to solve any problems at hand while assessing and implementing the requests within reason before it becomes even more complicated.
As consultants, we sit in a unique position where we interact with many parties within the organisation, giving us a birds-eye view of how all the business functions work together. This is something individual departments may not have as they operate primarily within their silos. Therefore, the most significant value-add we bring as consultants is gelling the different bits and pieces together, providing solutions that benefit the multiple parties.
We create value in our work through transparency and assurance to our clients by laying out all the facts on the table and patiently following through with problems until they are fully solved.
Quality Assurance & Rapid Documentations
While working on projects with tight deadlines, I have learnt several ways to work ‘smarter’. One of which was developing templates and documentations for higher quality assurance and working more efficiently. This can also ensure future knowledge transfer and documentation, such as designing documents that detail the rationale behind the changes and individual components of the solution.
If it is user interface based, the document would then detail the behaviour of each field/button. While these templates are not project-specific, it allows consultants like myself to refer to the templates to gather requirements quickly, ensuring greater consistency and better estimation on resources required and timeline.
I was also able to ensure rapid and consistent assessment turnarounds by using checklists to remind myself which components I need to include in the file. This can help save time thinking of what needs to be done while reducing the back-and-forth emails between the customers and us.
I have adopted stricter governance and proof of completion throughout my time working with customers to ensure that we have all email documentation if the client asks us to provide completion dates.
Reusing modules and designs
One of the tasks required me to provide a wide range of ready features previously developed to improve system efficiency and productivity (e.g. auto-filling user profile data to reduce the necessary fields for users to fill in for workflow forms) By taking previously developed features and using them to enhance the current CR (or project) features. Thus, it reduces the time required to develop the enhancement while making the user’s interface more advance.
Internally, this has helped cut down development time by enhancing already existing products resulting in faster turnaround time. In addition, there are less vulnerability because these modules are ‘tested and proven’.
During my time at delaware, I learned that what makes delaware different as tech consultants is our commitment to listening and understanding our customers' problems and finding the right solutions to fix them. This makes my work more meaningful, going beyond using the technology for the sake of it but really to add actual value for our customers.
The biggest challenge for me was when I first started in my role as a functional analyst consultant was that I felt rather unqualified to tell customers what can or cannot be done since I am fresh out of school with limited experience. There were times where I had doubts about how I can add value to them due to my inexperience. I managed to break out of this mindset by seeking help from my peers and colleagues. Talking with friends about how they handled working in similar situations did indeed boost my confidence over time. My first encounter with a demanding customer made me realise that I needed to be in more control of the situation.
Looking back to when I first graduated from university, I have become more analytical and critical in the things I do, even outside work. In the classrooms, we are only exposed to mostly the theoretical and the ‘ideal’ situations. However, being a consultant and working closely with customers has taught me to expect unexpected challenges while being more critical and analytical in my work and life.