Rachael Mcloughlin

Rachael Mcloughlin

Business Analyst
Rachael studied Bachelor of Science at University of Manchester

What's your job about?

I am a Business Analyst for a product called XPLAN. XPLAN is a product designed to support and benefit advisers so that they can produce sound financial advice to their clients. My role is look at new requirements that are raised by stakeholders. These requirements might need development to produce the desired outcome. If so, this involves understanding the vision of what we want to build. What is the end outcome we want? The projects I have worked on so far have been specifically for the UK so I have spent time communicating with the UK team to understand how XPLAN is being implemented, how they will use XPLAN, discussing the requirements and trying to make the user experience a better one. Once I understand where we need to get to (or maybe before depending on the item), I talk the requirements and user stories over with the developers and testers in my team so that we can come to a technical decision on how to build the software so that it will satisfy the stakeholders that have an interest or investment in the function. As a Business Analyst I spend time gaining knowledge in the area in which we need to develop so that I can answer questions that could be raised on the subject. It is my responsibility to break development items into smaller ones so that it is easier to prioritise and answer questions on these items if I can, as they come up a development sprint.

What's your background?

I grew up in a town called Wigan, a town in the UK inbetween Liverpool and Manchester. I went to a school not far from my house and I made friends there that I am still best friends with today. I really enjoyed school (mainly because of the friends I mentioned) but I never really knew what I wanted to do when I was older. I always did well in all my maths exams so I continued to study that through college and to university. When I was 17 me and my family went to Cairns on a family holiday to visit my Uncle who lived in Australia and I absolutely loved it. We had a connecting flight on the way home and we changed at Sydney, I remember seeing the Opera House and being disappointed that we couldn’t explore more of Australia. From then I always knew I wanted to come back to Australia at some point, even if it was just for a holiday. I applied to become a Business Analyst for the Avelo (before it was acquired by IRESS) graduate scheme after picking up a leaflet at a graduate fair I went to in Manchester after I had graduated. I passed a few stages and in weeks I moved to Warwick to become a Business Analyst. I worked in Warwick for 3 years before I got the opportunity to move to Sydney to continue working as a BA, a dream come true.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes, you could have had a background completely different to mine and be a great business analyst. I think it’s important to be pro-active and to enjoy investigating new requirements this could be anything from undertaking some research or learning more about the product itself. You must also be good at problem solving and documenting what is needed to produce a quality solution to stakeholders.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

I enjoy the scrum planning meetings; I think it is exciting to finally get to plan when we are going to work on an item, after creating a vision of where you want to get to, splitting it out into smaller chunks, investigating it alone, discussing it with others and deciding on a technical solution. The scrum planning meeting is when all my team is in a room and we plan out together what development items we will tackle over the next 2 weeks. Once the solution has been developed and I know it will improve the end users journey I find that part the most rewarding part.

What are the limitations of your job?

Managing stakeholders is the hardest part of my job, stakeholders can want different things from a requirement and these can sometimes conflict. Having to discuss the pros and cons of a solution and coming to the right decision whilst keeping all parties interested is sometimes hard. It is important that I communicate any questions I have with those who raised the requirements. As the projects I work on are UK based, this means some nights I have to get on calls in the evening which isn’t great but for a project to run smoothly a phone call is much more efficient than an email.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  • Trust yourself to choose the course(s) that you enjoy the most.
  • Enjoy university while you can, 3 years goes so quick so enjoy the atmosphere and social side of university as much as your studies.
  • Don’t pass up an opportunity to think about your future. I picked up the leaflet for the Avelo (before it was acquired by IRESS) by chance at a careers fair.