Life as … a Business Analyst– Andy Van Hove
The majority of our Tobania world (called “the galaxy” according to our Tobians) is populated by our consultants. Each with their own expertise strapped to their backpacks, they head out to our client’s workplace to deliver targeted projects. Perhaps at yours as well? Well, time to get to know them personally! Featured in this edition: Andy Van Hove, Business Analyst.
What makes working as a Business Analyst so unique?
You get the chance to be in the middle of the action with very different people with very different skillsets. Finding a way to align everyone with the challenge at hand, feels rewarding. There is a constant appeal to your creativity: something that worked before, may and will not work today. Being an analyst also brings a comfortable pitch in working with others, you get to ask a lot of questions and the outcome of your work is always the result of shared contribution. To me, being able to catalyse change in processes may be the most unique experience as a Business Analyst.
How would your colleagues describe you?
Reviewing my latest feedback forms, it states that I must be enthusiastic, proactive, structured, hands-on and self-critical. My team finds me supportive and challenging at the same time. They probably find that I occasionally make lousy jokes.
Who inspires you?
People who are very skilled at what they do and yet remain completely open and humble to all. I don’t have any name in mind in particular, as there are a whole lot of people out there that meet those requirements. Also older leaders that empower young people get my sympathy. Knowing they probably had to grow through rough old and hierarchical systems to end up in their position only to share their power with a new talented generation in a new way of working, is inspiring.
What is your go-to productivity trick?
If the day or project has a complex feel, I start making lists, drawing processes and reaching out to others for valuable insights or contributions. Every meeting which can be avoided is a 100% efficiency gain. I like direct gentle, but no-nonsense communication. The momentum gathered from steadily transforming the scope into reality right before your eyes provides a boost of energy to get other less appealing things done as well in the meantime.
“Don’t say you are sorry when something goes wrong, say it will probably happen again, but that you will never stop fixing things.”
How can you stand out as a Business Analyst?
Be vigilant and ever polite. Always offer help and thank others for their help. Dare to intervene where you feel things are going off track. Be positive, especially when there is a negative vibe. Don’t say you are sorry if something goes wrong, say it will probably happen again, but that you’ll never stop fixing things.
How did your career path look like? At Tobania since?
Very diverse actually. I grew up between the family restaurant business and my father’s fascination for technology. Both have shaped me. In my early career I was more focused on event management and gastronomy, but gradually the love for the world of information technology took back over. I have about six full years of IT experience growing from support roles to junior PM, product owner and analyst. That experience was mostly built in supply chain and telecom. I’ve been with Tobania for six months now. I still remember stumbling upon the Tobania website several years ago and thinking: “Would be great to one day be working for a kind of company like this one” until one day I actually received the LinkedIn message and invite.
Can you tell us more about your current project?
At LCM, the market leading health insurance fund in Belgium, I’m assigned as part of a software delivery team. Together with 6 great colleagues we are building and running a set of applications which provide manual work relief to the front office colleagues. Whenever one of the 2 million LCM members receives a letter, form, call or mail regarding by example subscription status, retirement information or financial support measures, there is a good chance our code was behind that automation. The development is done in OutSystems and Java and as the scrum master and analyst of the team I guarantee a clear and structured environment where we can work as efficiently as possible.
If you could go back in time. What would you say to yourself at the beginning of your career?
Worry less, get up early and do one thing at a time, keeping track of all other things. Dare to take initiative do what you like to do, because that’s the only thing that will make you grow in a sustainable way.
“I enjoy helping solve a high-impact problem, combining the skills of a diverse group of people or being a moderator in difficult negotiations.”
What gives you a professional high?
I love to create bright one-pager flowcharts which capture the essence of a process for all stakeholders. It then becomes a common ground to the draw functional, business, data and infrastructure layers on. I also enjoy helping solve a high-impact problem, combining the skills of a diverse group of people or being a moderator in difficult negotiations.
Do you have any mentors in your professional life?
Yes! You get awarded one once you start at Tobania and my colleague Jef Van de Weghe has done a great job at that. Also, Maarten Jacobs and Laura Pornel were always helpful in showing me around. With all the extra evening learning sessions organised by fellow consultants, actually everyone kind of becomes a potential mentor. There is no strict hierarchy over here, you can actually just talk to anyone and ask a question. Everyone will help.
Do you aspire to be a mentor for others?
I tend to believe I’m already starting to take up a supportive role, but I still have to grow within Tobania before becoming a real assigned mentor. In my team at LCM I like to make everyone feel equally welcome and worth. Whenever there is anyone having some struggles, I’ll always offer to listen and I’ll provide a confidence boost.
What skill did you develop over your career that was worth all the effort?
Empathy I hope. Always trying to understand and feel why a person says things or reacts in certain ways and why that has an effect on me. With those insights, I become more to genuinely connect to this person, past formal conventions. Whenever strong relationships of trust and respect form in the working environment, it allows for great things to be achieved.
What does your desired future look like?
I don’t know. The only thing I know is I’m currently at the right place to go in many possible directions. The future is always in motion and for the time being I enjoy being a Scrum Master to the full extent.
Why should fellow Business Analysts join you at Tobania? Why is working as a Business Analyst extra special at Tobania?
Because of all the great food you get at the events! Just kidding. No actually not, it’s really good. Because of the fun, motivated bunch of colleagues and mainly because at Tobania, you feel that you are close to the frontline of technological innovation. There are so many talented people walking around here and there is a load of interesting running and new projects on the roadmap. You actually get to choose which project or assignment you want to go for. It’s totally up to you.