Information is critical to successful change in organizations. How information is communicated can either significantly propel or break down a project. Business Analysts have a critical role in facilitating and influencing communication to impacted areas of the organization. Without a communication skillset, Business Analysts risk being the weakness in the linkage system organizations need for synchronized transformation.
Here are some communication gaps to avoid as a BA practitioner:
The “Barrel Ahead” BA
Each organization has its own pace and comfort zone. When working with stakeholders and business partners, it is important to understand all aspects involved in a potential change. This includes awareness of culture, capacities, readiness, and even other initiatives that are also on the move that may pose distraction or compete for resources. An essential aspect of communication for Business Analysts is listening. Effective listening includes reserving judgment and knowing your audience to form appropriate responses to encourage engagement.
A Business Analyst that is only focusing on pre-conceived outcomes of initiatives poses a risk to not only the stakeholders but to the ultimate success of the outcome. Rushing through steps can also create risks of knowledge gaps and missed requirements.
Pace is significant to initiative success, from framework to implementation. “Tunnel vision” and a too-rapid approach to simply reach the finish line can be easily identified by stakeholders in poor communication, which can then break down engagement and crack the important foundation of trust.
The “Non-Organization Structure” BA
Every organization has a different blueprint of business areas, information, and involved systems. Resources can exist in physical forms such as a database or library, or be integrated within individual knowledge or entire business units. It is important for Business Analysts to understand the organizational landscape so communication can be appropriately deployed. Being an effective Business Analyst includes being able to “bridge” organizational areas, and knowing their structure, purpose, and goals helps to create a solid base for communication.
Not taking the time to understand or learn about the organizational structure can be a risk to the governance approach of a project. Creating and sending communication to the wrong decision-maker can not only create problems within an initiative, but it can also create inter-organizational conflict.
The “Isolated Island” BA
Teamwork is essential to successful change. This is likely why “Elicitation and Collaboration” are paired together in the BABOK. Having stakeholders and business partners appropriately engaged moves the collective pieces of the organization successfully through changes. Having the correct approach to stakeholder communication can set the stage for continuous involvement and support.
While some organizations have Business Analyst roles in various layouts, whether you are on a team of same titles or spread out as a function within various areas, it is important to keep a level of connectivity with all business partners. Business Analysts do their best when they keep avenues of collaboration active with well-fed communication. Active communication helps to reinforce organizational awareness and also creates proactive project efficiencies. Approaching initiatives as a single-ownership can erode stakeholder engagement, as teams may see goals overshadowed by interest in individual portfolio rather than a true business need.
More Than the Destination
Informed stakeholders are comfortable stakeholders. From the start of planning the Business analysis approach to evaluating solutions, communication is essential for teams to successfully meet and satisfy business needs.
Facilitating a collaborative, informed, and trusted environment will help the organization get the most out of not only the outcome but the journey.