ATL Product Management

DaughertyStep: Lalit Devraj Breaks Down How Business Analysis Is Like Beatboxing

Lalit Devraj

It was the Crossroads Beatbox Battle. Lalit Devraj stood on the stage at Tapcade in Kansas City, a projector screen behind him displaying the Kansas City skyline.

He was competing in a beatbox battle against an individual he’d never met before. But the individual was performing for himself, and the crowd wasn’t feeling it.

So when it came Lalit’s turn, he knew his best shot was to test a few styles until he landed on one that he crowd was feeling.

“You have to go with the flow,” he said.

This is at the heart not only of what Lalit does as a professional beatboxer, but as a business analyst with Daugherty Business Solutions.

When Lalit works with clients, he begins by gathering requirements, interviewing stakeholders around their needs, and then helping to prepare potential designs that could solve all those needs. It requires him to understand the business, to have tools and templates he can leverage to extract the information he needs, and to understand the technical components of a solution.

All three of these are aspects of beatboxing as well.

  1. Understanding the business/audience. In beatboxing, the audience tends to sway toward either Mainstream or Experimental. To wow a Mainstream audience, Lalit needs to focus on what they want. To wow an Experimental audience, he tends to show off the range of tricks he can perform.
  2. Having the right tools and templates. In business analysis, Lalit might work with pre-existing templates, like a business unit response plan or a vendor scorecard. But he can’t just keep those templates boilerplate, because every client is different, so he tailors them accordingly. Likewise, beatboxing starts with the basics — “Boots n’ Cats,” a phrase that roughly translates to the bass, hi-hat and snare. From there, Lalit has taught himself a variety of new flavors — hums, lip-rolls, throat-based noises.
  3. Understanding the technical components of a solution. Beatboxing is more than just being able to manipulate your voice. For example, if Lalit is performing, and the bass isn’t great on a sound system, he needs to adapt his performance to not include as many throat-based noises. Likewise, Lalit needs to understand the technical components of solutions he’s delivering for clients. For example, if his client uses Office 365, and employs all .NET developers, then Amazon Web Services might not be as good a solution as Microsoft Azure.

The way Lalit looks at it, he’s a subject matter expert in beatboxing, and his voice is his application. And the more knowledge he has about his voice, the better experience he can deliver.

Through working with a diverse team, Lalit is able to accomplish more than if he were to set out on his own. For example, having networked with beatboxers across the globe, he’s noticed certain styles from different ethnicities. In America, accents are more elongated, so throat-based noises are easier. But Koreans, by virtue of their language, tend to be very fast. By working with Korean beatboxers, he’s learned how to incorporate more speed into his trade.

In the same vein, as a business analyst, everything goes back to the team. That is the first line of support for Lalit, and the way he is able to back up his recommendations. No one person has all the answers, but by communicating well, everybody can put the best solution forward. Beyond the team, he has the greater Daugherty family.

With each client, Lalit wants to be positioned well — able to execute but also able to back the decision. It goes back to understanding culture. In beatboxing, Lalit positions himself for the type of scene he wants to perform in. And it’s brought him success; he opened for rapper B.o.B. back in the day.

“When you come to a client, you definitely know what your client wants after the first few touchpoints,” Lalit said. “You know who you’re serving, and you position yourself to make them happy. If you have an audience to please, it goes both ways.”

To see him perform, go here!

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