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Meet the Team: Five Ws with Maryam Najafian

By idacosta
Jan. 27, 2014

 1) Who are you?

My name is Maryam, and I am an analyst at heart. I love detailed examination of facts and figures, and proposing interpretations and conclusions that could help projects excel. I am organized and detail-oriented by nature, and I find both traits equally important in my job. 

I am also an avid reader and books have always been a big part of my life. These days I mostly follow the work of contemporary novelists and I have too many favourites to count. When I am not reading, most of my spare time is spent with my family, primarily on kids sports and other extra curricular activities and socializing with friends and family. During winter time, we spend most Sundays skiing in Whistler. Work/life balance is quite important to me and I feel lucky to have such balance at Appnovation.

2) What is your role at Appnovation and what does it entail? What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

I am a Senior Business Analyst with the Professional Services Group. As the BA on a project, I facilitate requirement clarification with the business stakeholders to make sure we have a good understanding of not only the “what”, but also the “why” of project requirements. I am responsible for properly establishing and managing project scope to ensure we can meet project  budget. Also, as the liaison between the Dev team and the client, I am in charge of troubleshooting problems and roadblocks for the Dev team throughout the development cycle. 

I spend a lot of time in JIRA, translating requirements into Epics and user stories and making sure the backlog is in good shape at all times. I am often on multiple projects with distributed teams in multiple timezones, so it is not unusual to start a work day with a 7am scrum with the UK team at home, followed by backlog grooming and sprint planning sessions or requirements workshops in the office, and finishing with reviewing and responding to questions and comments from clients as well as the Dev team.

My other responsibilities include mentoring and supporting new team members during their ramp-up process; improving the BA processes and practice at Appnovation; and helping with pre-sales and preparing RFP responses as they come up. 

3) Where are you located? Where do you hail from originally?

I live in Point Grey area and I am based in the Vancouver office in Gastown, so I am lucky to have a short commute to and from the office. Originally, I am from Iran. I moved to Vancouver in 1997 to do graduate studies at UBC. The natural beauty of Pacific Spirit Regional Park got me hooked and I ended up staying!

4) When did you join Appnovation?

I joined Appnovation in June, 2012. 

5) Why do you do what you do? Why did you decide to join Appnovation?

I do what I do  because I enjoy the challenge in analyzing, detailing, and working directly with the client and developers. While we are always bound by the commercial realities of having to analyse and conceptualise requirements to a deadline, Business Analysis is about value for the client: identifying their requirements and giving the development team sufficient information so they can devise the most appropriate solution. 

I was introduced to Appnovation by a friend. At the time, I was wrapping up a contract with the EPFL university in Switzerland - a job that required me to travel regularly between Vancouver and Lausanne - and I was considering switching to local opportunities, since the frequent overseas trips were starting to take a toll on me. I had looked the company up, and was impressed by Appnovation's success story. I found it quite extraordinary that a young CEO had been able to achieve so much in such little time. When I visited the office and talked to various people, more qualities of the Appnovation culture got me interested; including the fast pace, open and transparent management style, and potential for growth. 

The third one was actually the most important factor for me: I saw a young company on a fast track to growth, and I felt that I could contribute to that growth and I wanted to be a part of it. A lot of that growth potential has already materialized over the past 18 months that I have been with the company. We are still going strong, and that is still my main motivation today.


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