Wednesday, 28 June 2017 08:10

Collaboration, Collaboration, Collaboration

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A good Business Analyst is always focussed on stakeholder management, helping elicit, specify, analyze and manage their needs to help them improve their business.

This is very simple when the Business Analyst is engaged purely for this purpose, and the stakeholders are clear. However, BAs often work as part of a team to assist with implementation of solutions, and in our ever-changing world, where there are more resources working on a project, the BA may overlook the stakeholders who are right under their noses.

Why? Well, the reason is very simple – as part of a team. The Business Analyst often believes and works with the view that a project team is a unit, and that everyone on the project team has the same views and objectives – often forgetting, that each team member on the project is an individual with their views, ideals, and objectives.


Lack of collaboration within a project team can lead to delays on the project due to lack of communication, undefined or lack of expectation management and a lack of or incorrect requirements being elicited. Every member of the project team is an integral, vitally important stakeholder on the project, who needs to be supported, just as much, if not more than all the other “business” stakeholders. The question then arises “How do we manage the expectations and needs of these integral stakeholders?” There are a few ways in which this can be done effectively, and if done correctly, it can contribute to the successful completion of a project.

Using requirement elicitation techniques such as interviews, meetings, and workshops (formal or otherwise), you could identify the needs of the other project team members, and develop a clear understanding of what the benefit of your analysis would be for them on the project. Don’t underestimate the process of discovering, refining, and validating these requirements. These needs are likely to change as the project progresses, so continuous improvement is a core concept for effective team collaboration and productivity. This underpins self-organisation within a team. You can also embrace some of the collaboration techniques. For instance, collaborative games are great at breaking down silos or establishing teamwork foundations. They also drive focus towards working efficiently. Additionally, embracing visual displays allows team members to be constantly reminded about key concepts, and enables open group conversation.

For managing work in progress and dependencies, incorporating Kanban boards and story maps provides a more tangible way for the team to understand what is currently underway and any gaps in business value. These strategies are the same, no matter what kind of project you are working on, waterfall, iterative or agile project. In fact, the more “fluid” the project, the more important the collaboration and communication within the project team.

The key to collaborating effectively in a project team, is clear, factual communication, along with flexibility and adaptability to change. Additionally, respecting others area of expertise will allow team members to communicate and develop an understanding of what the needs are for each of these team members.

Of course, this doesn’t guarantee that there will not be any conflicts or disagreements within the project team, but through using effective communication and flexibility, conflict can be resolved timeously. This allows all the team members to focus on the work to be done to complete the project successfully; business outcomes, on time, within budget and to the satisfaction of the customer.

Pascale Weir

1stcontributionPascale has amassed a wealth of Business Analysis experience across many industries throughout her career, including Education, Retail, Accounting and Real Estate. She has experience working within a diverse range of complex business models, from owning her own business to working in dynamic, multisite/multinational organisations. This has given Pascale a unique perspective on her clients’ businesses. Her methodical analytical process is supported by strong communication and stakeholder management skills, which enable a perspective that is experienced, logical and aligned to a consensus of stakeholder expectations and agreed outcomes.

Pascale has been involved in business improvement and business analysis since 1999, and currently works as a Consulting Business Analyst at Business Analysts (Pty) Ltd in Brisbane, Australia. She has implemented and led teams using AGILE methodologies such as SCRUM, as well as waterfall methodologies. She has real world implementation experience in global businesses, having worked on projects involving the United Kingdom, South Africa and Australia, down to National, State and SME Business with unique and complex requirements. Further to her analysis experience, Pascale also has a Certificate 4 in Training and Assessment, which adds another layer to her analysis skillset from ideation and requirement through to delivery. Pascale is a valuable asset in business transformation programs and is able to engage with stakeholders at all levels.

Pascale has extensive experience implementing Sales, Marketing, CRM and Learner Management Systems for a Higher Education provider with sites across the United Kingdom and South Africa. The project’s objectives were to establish a system that would attract new students and induct them with minimal effort from the student, as well as track and record the student’s progress throughout their learning whilst reducing overheads on the business. The project required face-to-face engagement across multiple sites and different countries.

Pascale has also worked on numerous other projects across government departments, RP Data, Axiom College, Estee Lauder, financial institutions and IT service providers. Her project work has addressed a wide variety of business needs – including marketing processes to obtain better returns on Investment (ROI), Human Resource management to improve recruitment, induction, training and development processes to higher level business improvement including CRM implementations, Helpdesk implementations, financial software implementations and Learner Management implementations.
Pascale has qualifications in Project Management, Accounting, Change Management and Training and Assessment.

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