How to Onboard 10+ new Business Analysts at the same time?

Why 10+ new BAs at the same time?

We successfully finished our BA Bootcamp (see more details in the article here) and ended up with 10 offers for new Business Analysts (BAs). At the same time, we hired a few more BAs, who joined us very soon after our newcomers from BA Bootcamp.

But even though we shared a lot of knowledge during the Bootcamp, there was more context to understand and more insights were worth knowing. To have a successful start as a BA in Evolution and feel more comfortable and useful for the dedicated teams.

New idea

During the Bootcamp, we concentrated more on the game BAs’ area and the related knowledge, but during Onboarding, we had to divide new BAs between different areas such as Games (Portfolio), Data, Integration, Compliance, etc. Considering our domain specifics, the size of the company, and our previous experience, we knew — any BA should have at least high-level knowledge of all the main areas regardless of their future team’s area.

Considering the amount of information, which we planned to cover, the number of new BAs joining us at the same time, and available resources on our side — we came up with a new idea: a step-by-step Onboarding journey for 15 weeks with the goal to get everyone ready to process a standard BA task in dedicated teams individually after completing BAs Onboarding journey.

Onboarding plan

Our Onboarding plan consisted of three main parts, which helped our new BAs gradually receive additional information, work on real tasks, learn from their mentors (other BAs) and work together with real Stakeholders.

The 1st week — was a time to “get comfortable in the water”, with the main goal — to establish a good foundation for future collaboration and communication with related mentors (existing BAs) and each other (new BAs). This week included such activities as:

  1. Enrolling in the Onboarding program and finding out plans for the upcoming weeks;
  2. Joining Meet & Greet Meeting event — to learn more about each other and facilitate future communication;
  3. Finding out insights about Engineering Departments and teams, their processes, and used Agile ceremonies as well as discovering differences between them.

For the next few weeks, BAs worked in smaller groups together with the mentors, in particular, on real tasks related to the weekly topic and provided by Portfolio (Products) teams. We covered different topics related to Live and FP games, Dealer module, Common components, and Lobby.

For each topic, there was a small intro about it and additional useful information related to assigned tasks and stakeholders. The goal for each week was to complete the assigned task using a so-called “BA Golden Standard”, which included these steps:

  • Research — to elicit scope, identify As-Is status, goals for the task, required changes, and other initial information together with stakeholders;
  • Analysis — to identify and define work on different solution options, and evaluate them;
  • Specification — to describe solution option, add main acceptance criteria (AC) and/or create related User stories, create mockups and other supporting materials like models, diagrams (if needed);
  • Validation — to validate requirements with related stakeholders and mentors and finalize assigned tasks;
  • Communication — to provide and explain final requirements, and details about Acceptance criteria to the stakeholders and team.

The 2nd part of the Bas’s Onboarding journey (starting from Week 8) came with more challenges for our newcomers — get to know their dedicated teams, keep learning about other areas and start working on individual tasks in their teams with the help of individual mentors.

Week 8 was dedicated to joining the teams, meeting team members and dedicated Product Owners (POs), and getting to know more about a particular team’s specifics. We didn’t plan any practical activities for that week — for the newcomers to have time to get to know the team’s processes and ceremonies.

Starting from Week 9, most new BAs received their individual tasks and started their first, independent steps within their teams. At the same time, we continued our Onboarding journey and introduced other important topics about BackOffice & Reports, Promotion tools, Integration, and Compliance areas. Our new BAs were also introduced to NetEnt and RedTiger slots and the One Stop Shop (OSS) solution — a common platform for all games integration. This was important, as Evolution game portfolio / ‘family’ has been significantly increased after the merge of NetEnt / RedTiger.

Based on the received feedback, these were very challenging and busy weeks for our newcomers, despite the fact that we used fewer practical activities and almost no group tasks for these weeks.

The outcome of our BA Onboarding journey

At the end of the BAs Onboarding journey we have:

  • 14 new trained and strengthened BAs for their future BA activities within 13 different teams and 5 different areas;
  • Prepared Onboarding materials for 14 different areas, which can be used for other newcomers in the future;
  • Recorded 10+ videos from the Topics Intro meetings, which could be used for any person from Evolution interested in a particular topic;
  • And 8 BAs with new experience working as mentors for newcomers and experts in their dedicated areas.

We planned small congratulation events in both locations (Riga and Minsk), too. Together with all newcomers, we celebrated the end of the already finished journey (BA Onboarding) and the start of another journey. This time — as independent and knowledgeable BAs in Evolution.

Lessons Learned

As for any event, we tried to learn from our mistakes and improve some challenging moments on the fly. One of the very helpful tools here was a bi-weekly Retrospective (Retro) event together with our newcomers, where they could openly share their experiences and feelings for the previous weeks:

  • What they liked and would love to keep and continue;
  • What they missed or was not enough;
  • What was too challenging and maybe could be changed or removed at all.

After each Retro, we reviewed the received feedback and its outcomes and agreed on potential changes in our process to improve the quality of the whole event. For example, we:

  • Minimized the number of common meetings for each day;
  • Tried to provide more feedback and support as mentors;
  • Reduced group task amounts, and even removed them at all, as newcomers were very busy in their dedicated teams already.

Another moment, which could be considered more in the beginning, was our mentors’ and lecturers’ experience in these roles. For most of our existing BAs, this was the first time as a mentor or lecturer. Therefore, they needed more support and detailed information initially — to feel more confident and knowledgeable regarding what is expected from them and how to prepare and do a better job.

Altogether we learned that this whole activity was worth it — because it not only gave a new experience for both sides — for newcomers and existing BAs, but also generated a lot of positive emotions and good vibes in our BA Community in Evolution. Below one can see the feedback from our newcomers about the BA Onboarding journey received during our last Retro. They warmed our hearts and encouraged us to continue with similar events and keep working on improvements for future Onboarding activities.

How did we manage this?

As you could guess — the whole organizational process was resource-consuming enough, and possibly couldn’t be completed without the help of our great BA colleagues and other people from Evolution. As soon as the draft plan and idea were created, BA Leads introduced it to other BAs and started to look for volunteers — people who would like to join and help in this activity either as mentors for new BAs or as experts in their areas. And lucky for us, almost everyone was ready to join and help with different steps either during preparation or later.

One more challenge was to cover different Onboarding areas, where we didn’t have BAs at that moment, but which were an important part of Evolution and needed to be included in our Onboarding program. We invited additional experts from other units of Evolution to cover these areas. For instance, we got a lot of help from the Data Department and their Product Owners, Integration Department, and their top-level managers, Legal and Product Compliance units, and the representatives from the Slot game development area.

The most interesting fact was that during the last weeks of our Onboarding journey even our newbies helped with Onboarding other BAs in their dedicated areas. I think this fact just confirms how valuable, encouraging, and evolving the whole Onboarding journey has been for the newcomers.

Thanks to all parties involved in the preparation, management, facilitation, and knowledge sharing in this amazing Onboarding journey! BAs rock!

The article was written by Ineta Bucena, with the help of Yauheniya Karol, Lizaveta Antanovich, and Natalija Hrmacenko.
Illustrations created by Yauheniya Karol.

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