Tuesday, 27 November 2012 03:23

Lions and Tigers and Stakeholders...Oh My!

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If you have ever joined a company or project as "The New BA," then you know what it was like for Dorothy to follow the Yellow Brick Road.

Scene 1: Kansas
You have either changed companies or changed projects; either way, it usually starts with a maelstrom of new information and expectations (The Twister).

Scene 2: Munchkinland
When you first start on the project, you are usually surrounded by people (Muchkins) who keep telling you how glad they are that you came. Then there is the person you answer to (Glenda); she tells you that you are the person she has been waiting for, that you can fix all her problems. She happily introduces herself and then points you down the path (Yellow Brick Road).

Scene 3: Scarecrow's Cornfield
As you are getting yourself acclimated with the new project and what is expected of you, you meet a Domain SME (Scarecrow), someone who has a lot of information, but does not have a lot of project or analysis expertise. He knows a lot, but doesn't know what to do with it. This person can be your best friend, so keep him informed, ask questions, but remember he is not the brain behind the business analysis.

Scene 4: Tin Woodman's Cottage
You start creating basic work products such as the approach and plan. You have your first few reviews with your stakeholders. At this point you meet someone who won't budge on her ideas, who can't seem to play nice with others, and has little or no ability to compromise (The Tin Man). This person can also be your best friend. Find out why she is being so rigid and unmoving, and then grease her wheels. Once you have her on board with your approach, you can use her axe to your advantage. Just remember, when it comes to negotiation and compromise, she usually doesn’t have a heart.

Scene 5: Cowardly Lion's Wild Forest
You have finally gotten the majority of the stakeholders working toward the same goal and have a few work products that you want to show to the decision makers. At this point you will run into someone who jumps down your throat and tells you that your work is 100% ready for review, that your documents or work isn't perfect, and that until it is you cannot possibly show it to anyone outside of the team (Cowardly Lion). If you can get past the growl, you will find out that this person is simply afraid that what is being presented will be rejected. Help him to find his backbone and to face his fears. This person probably holds the keys to the castle; remind him that he should be proud to be king.

Scene 6 & 7: Witch's Castle & Wizard's Chamber 
There is always a point in the project when you think everything is going as planned and you are moments away from achieving your goal. At this point, hidden risks and issues are finally revealed to you. Not because anyone wanted to admit them, but because you finally asked the right questions or pulled back the curtain (Wizard of Oz). This is not a time to get angry or discouraged. At this point the tables turn and those who you looked to for information and guidance now look to you for leadership. Make a plan and mitigate or eliminate the risks and issues (Wicked Witch of the West).

Scene 8: Balloon Ride Home
Now that the risks are all gone (ding-dong the witch is dead), the Cowardly Lion feels like a king, the Scarecrow feels like a genius, and the Tin Man has found his heart. It is time for you to click you heels together and move on to your next project.

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