The Balance Between Business and Technology

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Zakiyya Cassimjee, Project Manager at PPS Insurance, talks about the balance between business and technology with Rafieqah Isaacs, in business analysis: the job, the role and the career.

What does ‘success’ mean to you as a Business Analyst?

The perception of success is where a solution is accepted and readily used by those who it is intended for. It sounds pretty basic stuff and is often misunderstood. Also being an agent of change and a facilitator to the business.

What has been the most difficult part of your job?

Saying No and helping business to prioritise. Have to say No or that’s not possible or last on the list from what I have observed. Also lack of clarity in the scope of the business functions and requirements not well defined often leads to scope creep, poor code delivery and quality of solutions. These issues are often picked up during the testing phase and this puts a lot of pressure on people to deliver and meet the deadlines.

In your opinion, is there a threat to the Business Analyst role becoming redundant?

No, the role of the business analyst continues to evolves and involves multiple services. Best advice would be to embrace the revolution. This role is still maturing. The goal was always to improve communication between developers and project stakeholders, now changing to be a communication mentor on team thereby reducing the feedback loop. There is clearly value to be added with better collaboration, knowledge sharing and skills transfer. It is a role and not a title – a facilitative role.

As a project manager, the role of the BA is a highly supportive and dependant role. You are the SME , and a lot of input is given into the direction of the project and what business wants.

What would be the one thing that you would change about the Business Analyst role today, and why?

To embrace the facilitator role and keep the discussions on topic and to keep stakeholders engaged. Sometimes the conversations drift that they are no longer relevant and this wastes time and causes stakeholders to become disengaged and be ready to respond to the dynamic world.

How do you find the balance between Business and IT in your job?

The IT Plan and the business plan need to be defined in conjunction. It is a difficult and delicate balance to maintain between doing what is best for the business and what do our customers want. There is an opportunity cost in everything that we do. Everything that is undertaken should provide value both for the business and the customers. We definitely face challenges as there is a always a distinction between business and IT. Greater collaboration is required to move in one direction and support each other in delivering the strategic objectives.

What are the habits of a successful Business Analyst?

To be proactive and see the bigger picture. Most projects that suffer from scope creep do so because the intended scope, the boundary between what is in and what is out, was never documented. There is no substitute for experience.

‘The Balance Between Business And Technology with Zakiyya Cassimjee‘ was first published in the 2015 Inter-View Report. Talk more about the balance between business and technology on Twitter with @Zakiyya_C and @Raf_Sunshine.

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