How I Became Both QA and BA - At the Same Time

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Once upon a time, there was a 10-year-old kid, and her name was Lucija. She grew up in a small town in the south of Croatia. One day a school teacher asked every child in the classroom, "What do you want to be when you grow up?".  

The kids said things like, "an astronaut," "a doctor," etc. But the girl dreamed about being a professional athlete and winning gold medals. I am sure you are already guessing. That girl is me. Now a Quality Assurance and Business analyst, so much of a doctor...

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“I want to be the best sports player ever!“

Now, 20 years later, my mom showed me that old paper where I wrote my wish. Firstly, I was surprised how she is still keeping the paper, and secondly, how my priorities changed over the years. I remember that no one of those children answered, "I want to work in an IT company and be an IT expert!"

People are occasionally asking me, "What do you do?" I am always trying to make a joke saying, "I am a messenger between the client and developers, and I am finding a needle in the haystack." While working with brilliant and talented people for the last year and the several years before that, I've learned that my dream is to be an IT professional. I surely didn't make a mistake switching from sport to IT. I was working as a Travel Agent and Finance Expert.

My decision to be a Quality Assurance and Business Analyst came unexpectedly. It was a situation that opened to me a sea of new possibilities and showed me the proper path in my career. And here I am now, working as a Business Analyst and S(Software)Quality Assurance in the company with the best energy and the most friendly atmosphere that I've experienced.

How does the QA and BA career path come together?

In the past years, both in the former company and in Q agency, our IT department employed more business analyst positions. Some came from the internal companies, some came from the external companies ... and from which department did most people come? The S(Software) Quality Assurance.

My transition into the Business Analyst and Quality Assurance position started years before actually arriving here. The story has begun with specializing for analysts' approach, at first as a financial analyst, but then evolving to the Business Analyst position. From experience (both successes and failures), I learned the critical importance of several things:

  • Know the values of your company
  • Do more
  • Be kind
  • Move Fast
  • Search for opportunities to train on testing tools
  • Mentoring is important
  • Be Agile
  • Understand requirements

Quality Assurance vs. Business Analyst

The goal of Quality Assurance is to ensure that testable requirements are successfully implemented within the developed system. Business Analyst uses its problem-solving skills to define the correct, testable requirements for the business needs. Both are striving to solve real problems.

Some activities that overlap Business Analyst with Quality Assurance are crucial, and these are some of the points how Business Analyst can learn from a Quality Assurance person and opposite:

  • Model and document: A Quality Assurance person is thinking out of the box to cover all user stories so that none of the edge cases are missed in the application. Business Analyst writes user stories that are shared with all stakeholders.
  • Translate Business Need: Quality Assurance person is responsible for testing the overall system and a key person in STLC. He can predict that changing one module can affect some other modules. Business Analyst is working in the same direction more professionally.
  • Requirement analysis: A Business Analyst person is also responsible for all requirement analysis, a Quality Assurance person is also responsible for requirement analysis to some extent.
  • Testing and validation: In the end, Quality Assurance verifies all requirements of the application. And a Business Analyst verifies all requirements from a user perspective.

Therefore, connecting the work of Quality Assurance and Business Analysts seems reasonable.

From my perspective, there are few benefits from having a Quality Assurance/BA working almost the same job in your team, and those are Communication and Happy developers :)

Even though there are plenty of similarities, you can still find some differences. Without a doubt, one of the significant differences is dependence on others.

To clarify, when I work as a Quality Assurance, and if I document, test well, pay attention to details, and put in the extra time when necessary, success follows. On the contrary, as a Business Analyst, you depend on the team. When you have problems and the project is behind, it doesn't matter how many use cases you have written or updated or how many meetings you have been on.

We would rise or fall together, and this is what I like, that we are all ONE TEAM. As a former water polo player, I learned how important it is to be a team player. When your teammates don't have a good day, there's always someone out there who will give more and help the team. Thus, I have learned how to keep my head above the water in any situation.

The best thing if you are working as a Quality Assurance and BA is that you understand both sides of the job. Meaning, if I want to criticize the Quality Assurance on my team, I stop and think instead about the problems I could face in his situation. It works fine, putting yourself in the other's shoes. I understand what they need to do with Quality Assurance experience to reach the definition of done, and I can be honestly thankful. Always say "Thank you."

Thanks to my Business Analyst and Quality Assurance background, the best thing I have learned can be summoned in this sentence: "I can admit that I don't get it. I don't know how to do my job perfectly. So I ask."

Last but not least - Remember, your end goals are the same.
A successful project is when the requirements are implemented successfully in the software. At that moment, the team won the gold medal!

I won a gold medal!