how it was

This spring we held another Business Analyst Robopractice. It is important for us to keep in touch with the “outside world”, share our experience both with analysts from other companies and with complete beginners who are just starting their journey in business analysis.

At Robopraktik, we talk about how a business analyst works in red_mad_robot, share product and business artifact templates, and show how to apply them on projects. We invite the strongest trainees to the Robot team.

Goals and value

Robopractice allows you to determine the areas of responsibility of the analyst, find out how and why to defend them, and how this affects the entire workflow.

Each participant has a mentor – business analyst red_mad_robot. He connects to the analysis of the main artifacts, answers emerging questions, formulates feedback on homework and, in a personal session, helps to identify growth areas in the field of system and business analysis.

Even such training events are a good opportunity for the development of the robots themselves. Therefore, we invite all the guys from the department who want to take part in Robopractice – in the role of organizers or lecturers. Such activity helps them to level up, develop new skills and share their own experience.

The risks we face

Robopractice in 2022, unlike last year, presented us with challenges that we had not faced before. We had to learn how to quickly adapt, make decisions and act in new conditions.

First, the deadlines. Initially, we wanted to start in June, but then we realized that we need to do it as early as possible, and set the start date for April 7 – with a duration of one month. Preparations began in February. The experience and materials of Robopractice 2021 helped us a lot in this. We say with confidence that the existing developments should be carefully stored, systematized and referred to if necessary.

We also had a clear plan. At first it seemed impossible to compile it in detail – with events, dates, responsible for preparing and holding such an event, but we managed it. The ability to decompose tasks, which we use on projects, helped. At any moment, we knew exactly and remembered at what stage we are now and who needs to complete what tasks.

Secondly, we encountered problems when placing an announcement of Robopractice and conducting an advertising campaign to attract our target audience in social networks. I had to quickly adapt and look for other sources that could be potential candidates for Robopractice. We decided to place an ad with a vacancy for Robopraktik on hh.ru and an announcement in telegram channels.

As a result, we collected 80 applications, from which we chose 15 relevant ones – and invited the guys to Robopractice.

Program

The Robopractic program was rebuilt and made even better than last year.

First of all, we focused on the knowledge that an analyst needs to work on a project, took into account the feedback from trainees and the insights received after internal reflection. Reflashed topics that seemed “boring”, added more discussion blocks. They took out the workshop as a separate event in order to fully immerse themselves in the process and storm it.

We also improved lectures on client-server interaction and API and working with requirements. We translated dry terms into real-life examples, and the interns, together with the back-end developer, built the product architecture.

All this made it possible to sort out complex topics “on the fingers” and ask questions online.

1. Production and analytics

At the lecture, they learned about the main stages of production, the areas of responsibility of a business analyst, about what analysts exist – and what is the difference between them. The guys asked a lot of questions about how analysts differ from each other. We also figured out why the product analyst is not equal to the product owner.

2. Work at the start of the project

We found out what technical and business questions you need to ask the client at the start for product design, learned how to formulate them correctly. We figured out what artifacts can be obtained based on the answers of the briefing.

Lecture “Work at the start of the project.” Parsing the main artifacts

3. Workshop

We worked in teams: on the example of a test project, we learned how to formulate questions for a technical and business briefing for a client. We understood why the right questions at the start reduce the risks in the future.

4. Architecture

We disassembled what a product architecture is, what it consists of, why and for whom it needs to be described. Trainees actively understood the difference between network segments and communication protocols. As part of their homework, the children independently built the top-level architecture of the product.

Lecture on architecture. Understanding different design approaches

5. Design

We plunged into the process of designing functionality: how to collect requirements from the client, why it is important to interact with the development and design team, what artifacts are formed as a result.

6. Client-server interaction

We disassembled the basics of client-server interaction: what is an API, how an analyst participates in the process of designing and describing an API specification.

7. Identification, collection and formalization of requirements

We delved into the types of requirements and their sources, figured out how the analyst should formalize the requirements so that they are understandable to each team member.

8. Homework

On a test project, we practiced filling out a product passport based on the answers from the client’s briefing. Designed HLD (High Level Diagram) and worked with feature decomposition.

An example of homework from one of the trainees

9. Mentor meeting

The guys presented the main artifacts and goals of the project to their mentor as a client. We analyzed the points of growth and why self-presentation is so important for an analyst.

So that the schedule and recordings of lectures are always at hand for the guys, we have prepared a convenient landing page for them.

Feedback from participants

You can talk about yourself endlessly. But how Robopractice actually took place, the participants themselves can best tell.

The robopractic went great. I closed some technical gaps, outlined ways for further development – it turned out that in one month it is difficult to understand architecture, even high-level ones, from scratch. I applied the acquired skills almost immediately – the lecture on API was very useful, I did not meet the explanation in more detail. The group was small, so the lecturers had time to answer all questions and analyze everything using examples. The Robopraktika team is wonderful, I was very impressed – great people, great atmosphere. I liked it so much that after Robopractice I chose red_mad_robot from all the offers.

Natalia Zalesskaya, completed Robopractic

I went to Robopraktika with a very specific goal – to get cases of designing intra-system and inter-system interaction: how and what documents analysts write in other companies, how they interact with development on design issues. And in general, I was more interested in the part of training related to system analytics, since at the current stage I am trying to develop in this direction – from a business analyst to a system one.

The Robopractic program lived up to expectations, the guys showed both the construction of architecture and the documentation of interaction methods. Separately, I will note the connection to the developer’s lecture, since I did not have experience of direct interaction with them at my place of work.

Almost immediately after the classes, I began to document some points, for example, the API specification for artifact templates. How this format will take root in the long term, time will tell, but I started trying the received chips right away.

Emil Kharisov, completed Robopractice

I applied for Robopractice to gain practical experience and learn how business analysts work from the inside using a specific company and a real case as an example. The program is rich and interesting. It covers aspects of not only business analytics, but also system analytics, which made it possible to improve knowledge in this area and note which points need to be studied in depth.

The very atmosphere in the company encourages work and self-improvement as a specialist. When you are surrounded by such active, smart, creative guys, it is impossible to sit still and do nothing.

Robopractice is perfect for both novice analysts to develop theoretical knowledge, and guys with experience who want to broaden their horizons.

Arina Zelenovskaya, completed Robopractic

Feedback from the organizers

The Robopractic format allowed the robots themselves to gain new experience and level up. Here’s what the lecturers shared.

Acted as a lecturer at Robopraktik. It was a challenge to prepare storytelling on the topic in a way that was useful and not boring to listen to. I wanted the guys to take with them not only theory, but also practical experience applicable in the work of an analyst. It was difficult, but judging by the reviews, it worked out. The training helped to better understand how to teach and create the value of knowledge. From a different angle, we managed to look at the process of onboarding new people in a team and transferring knowledge in general.

Nastya Voytseshko, Business Analyst at red_mad_robot

During the Robopractic, I, as a lecturer, had a great opportunity to improve my skills in preparing high-quality and useful content, explore options for the format of presenting material and interacting with the audience, and put it into practice. At the lecture, she focused attention and more closely immersed the trainees in the problems and difficulties that the analyst most often faces, talked about the tools for solving them and gave examples from personal experience.

It was very important that after the practice, new knowledge would help the trainees in solving their personal problems and work cases. At the lecture, communication and an active audience helped a lot – it highlighted the places that should be given more time. Robopractice helped me look at the process of building communication and presenting material from a different angle, and I actively apply new experience and knowledge on my projects, and especially as part of mentoring.

Sveta Shirokova, Business Analyst at red_mad_robot

Results and future plans

Robopraktika proved to be fruitful for everyone. Two interns have already joined our team and are now actively involved in the implementation of projects. And the rest of the guys share their successes in their work.

We plan to continue to conduct Robopractic in the future, taking into account past experience and feedback from trainees, in order to continuously improve. We already have a vision for organizing such events.

We were able to test our methods in battle, hit some bumps and understand what mistakes it is better not to make, and what exactly you need to pay attention to when preparing and conducting Robopractice. Soon we will prepare an article where we will talk about how everything is happening from the organizational side. So stay connected!

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