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Unleash the Business Analysis Profiler in You

Kupe_May31The moment I sat down at an airport bar the bartender asked me if I’d like to try a Long Island Iced Tea (an adult drink). I declined and ordered my meal.  Later an older gentleman sat down next to me and the bartender asked if he’d like to try a Bloody Mary (another adult drink). I was confused.  I figured she asked me if I wanted a Long Island Iced Tea because that was the drink they were trying to sell that day.  Since I was confused, I had to ask her why she offered us different drinks.  Her answer was superb.

She said I profile my customers.  Older customers tend to like drinks with juices or sodas that help settle the stomach and younger business looking guys like you enjoy Long Island Iced Teas.  Couples with a fresh tan, most likely coming from a beach vacation, enjoy a good beer, younger preppy women like the sweet drinks, classy looking women like a good wine, and large groups go for Margaritas and Jagermeister shots.  I was blown away with the level of detail she had captured over the years.  I told her she would be an unbelievable Business Analyst.  Of course she had no clue what it meant to be a Business Analyst.

You need to approach your stakeholder analysis in this fashion.  Be a BA profiler.  Start to put your stakeholders in categories to determine how best to communicate with them.  As new stakeholders are introduced you can have a starting point of how you may best communicate with them.  Many of you most likely do this already.  For the solution team you know they’ll need a lot of detail while upper management and project sponsors like summaries.  Younger teammates prefer texting and instant messaging, where older teammates prefer phone calls or face to face interactions. Profiling will give you a starting point. You still have to ask to verify how they’d like to communicate. Don’t assume your stakeholders fit neatly into your profile. If I was drinking that afternoon, I would have preferred a Bloody Mary over a Long Island Iced Tea.   

Another thing to highlight from my bartenders profiling is how people may order differently when in a group as opposed to being on their own. It is important to realize your stakeholders may act differently in a group.  Don’t assume every stakeholder will want to interact the same when working one-on-one and in a group setting.  Individuals that may be very opinionated and comfortable opening up one-on-one, may be very quiet in a group.  Don’t assume those individuals just have nothing to say during a group meeting.  Follow-up with them after the meeting to check-in. 

Profiling does help, but don’t solely rely on your profiles.  The best way to ensure you’ll be communicating and interacting with your stakeholders the way they prefer is simple.  Just ask.

All the best,


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