I started at Auto Trader in October 2020, alongside 15 other graduates starting a variety of different roles. I’ve joined product development, working to build and develop the products we offer to our customers.
8:30am — Prepare for the day
I typically log on around 8:30am. I like to have some time in the morning to have breakfast and go through my calendar for the day, preparing for calls where necessary and pulling together a to-do list.
Unfortunately, since starting at Auto Trader I’ve only managed to go into the office twice due to the pandemic. Luckily, however, I’ve still had plenty of opportunities to get to know the other graduates and my tribe virtually.
I’m really grateful that Auto Trader have provided everything I’d ever need to work from home comfortably, including a monitor, chair and standing desk.
Ready for the day — coffee compulsory!
9:00am — Catch up with my graduate cohort
The first thing in my calendar this morning is a catch up with the other 2020 graduates and our early careers managers.
We started our Graduate programme in October with an 8 week ‘Graduate Academy’, which was delivered virtually due to COVID-19. During the Academy we were taught everything we needed to know about Auto Trader and the automotive industry through workshops, presentations, and days in our tribes. We also developed our soft skills with sessions on personal brand, presentation skills, and wellbeing, to name just a few.
Since finishing the Academy at the end of November, we haven’t had an opportunity to all get together and catch up - it’s great to hear how everyone is getting on, given that we’re all working on different projects in different areas of the business.
In this session, we also touched on the importance of self-care and some top tips for looking after ourselves, especially as we are currently in the third lockdown. The session was delivered by our Learning and Development Team, who do an excellent job. A key takeaway for me was the ‘Self Care Spectrum’ (below), encompassing five categories of activities we can do to make sure we’re taking the time to look after ourselves physically and mentally. I’m definitely going to try to tick off as many these as I can over the coming weeks and months.
The Self Care Spectrum
10:00am — Focus time
After catching up with the other graduates, I’ve blocked out some time in my calendar to go through my to-do list and pick out some specific tasks to work on until lunchtime.
Today, I’m working closely with a designer and product owner to scope out the requirements for some enhancements we’re making to one of our customer products. The aim is to get the piece of work to a place that a developer can pick it up next week. This means understanding the optimum solution and finding any inner related requirements and dependencies. Ultimately, I’ll look to make sure the user story can easily be understood and implemented by a developer.
Since starting in my role at the end of November, I’ve been working closely with another business analyst in my tribe to develop my skillset and domain knowledge. I’m only a few months in but I’ve been given the opportunity to take forward my own pieces of work and build relationships with stakeholders around the business. Something I love about my role as a business analyst is that I get to collaborate with others around the business every day, including product designers, developers, product owners and many more.
12:30pm — Lunch
I think it’s really important to take a full hour for lunch given we’re all stuck at home at the moment. It’s easy to fall into the trap of continuing to work and eating at our desks.
Depending on the weather, and whether gyms are open, I’ll try to either go the gym or go for a quick run. I took the picture below on a run before Winter arrived in full force!
Salford Quays in the sun
2:00pm— Daily Project Standup
As part of the squad I’m working in at the moment, we have a quick 15 minute stand up every day where the developers run through:
- What did you do since yesterday’s standup?
- What are you going to do today / tomorrow?
- What are your blockers?
As a business analyst, it’s important to pick up on and understand any blockers there may be for the developers that may require some further analysis from us.
These short sessions have also been a great way for me to get to know many of the developers in my tribe, as developers rotate on / off the work stream every two weeks.
3:00pm — LGBT+ Network Coffee Chat
There are an abundance of opportunities to get involved in at Auto Trader outside of your day-to-day, whether that be through our sports and social clubs or guilds and networks. Since starting in October, myself and another graduate have founded the music club, I’ve been taking part in our bi-weekly photography club competitions and I’ve also joined the LGBT+ Network as a facilitator.
The LGBT+ network coffee chat is open to all Auto Trader employees, and is a fortnightly opportunity to talk about different topics that impact the LGBT+ community. This week, we’re talking about some of our favourite LGBT+ TV shows with a focus on RuPaul’s Drag Race (UK). Personally I haven’t watched it, but I think I’ll have to try it out now!
4:00pm — Check in
Myself and the other BA I’m working with will usually check in every couple of days to discuss what we’re working on, any blockers, and pick out any more work that requires analysis. In this session, we have a quick catch up, run through what we’re currently looking at, and decide on the next few pieces of work to take forward this week.
After this, I pick up some more work that we highlighted as needing further analysis. I also work on a diagram I’m pulling together of the process flow on the work stream I’m currently collaborating on (using Miro). The aim is for it to show where work comes from, what categories of work we see, and how it is prioritised. I’m hoping this will be a useful resource for the tribe moving forward.
5:30pm — Finish
I will typically finish up at 5:30, however, depending on how eager I am to get away from the screen, I’ll sometimes take half an hour to look at some of the LinkedIn Learning courses I have saved. Auto Trader provide subscriptions for all employees who are interested and I’ve found these courses really useful, especially the ‘Business Analysis’, ‘Scrum’ and ‘Agile’ courses.
Otherwise, I’ll go for a walk, play some guitar, and try my best to cook something interesting for dinner (with mixed success)!