Do you realize that relationships are BAs bread and butter?
Working as a developer for over twenty years I have noticed developers lack social skills. Now I know you are shocked! You probably spilled your coffee when you read that.
As a Business Analyst, you may take your social skill prowess for granted. As Epictetus said, “It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.” Let us revisit those skills now.
Re-Focus on Relationships
It can be helpful to review these skills periodically. We can fall into the trap of complacency. Use a few basic questions to evaluate your progress.
- Who are my most important business relationships?
- How am I investing in these relationships?
- What value am I bringing to this relationship?
Similar to the agile retrospective we can have a relationship retrospective. Check-in with your most important people. See how things are.
Occasionally things can seem fine at the surface. Of course, when we dig in we find something different. Perhaps the relationship can be strained. The person may feel you are taking advantage of them.
My mother would often dispense wisdom when I was growing up. She was a teacher for many years. She shared this one once, “Secretaries make things happen.”
As a kid, many people would overlook the school secretary. Using my mother’s advice I made sure to stay on the good side of Mary.
Mary was our high school secretary. She could put in a good word for you in case you got in any trouble. That may have happened to me a few times. Mary was a life-saver!
Are there any professional relationships you are overlooking? Perhaps you need to patch things up with some of the testers. Team harmony is vittle to a smooth project.
Have a plan
A few years ago I was fortunate to work with a transformational leader. He led a technology team. John was his name. He saw the potential to change the way his team worked.
John brought me into his office. He said to me, “Tom technology people can be a bit transactional. They get asked to fix a problem and they do. Similar to the way a bank teller gets a check and deposits the check.”
“Yes, I see that, but how is that an issue?” I said to John.
“Bruce just visited our biggest center. He upgraded the two servers and got on the plane to go back home. A day later the community director called me and asked why he didn’t complete the upcoming maintenance patching. Bruce never spoke to him.”
“Tom I want my team to be more like financial planners. A financial planner builds relationships. Then they can anticipate needs. I want you to help change my team to think like financial planners.”
John then shared with me a plan on how we could transform his team. He outlined how each time his team members traveled they would talk to the community directors.
This would help them build relationships instead of just fixing the problem. John wanted his team to build in time to connect. Have a plan for relationships.
In summary, as Business Analysts we should not overlook the fundamental aspect of relationships. Don’t leave them to chance, have a plan. Keep them in focus as they are your bread and butter!
Tom Henricksen is a Technical Professional and Human Skill Enabler and you can contact him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/tomhenricksen/