Great business analysts are great communicators. We communicate in meetings, through elicitation, via email, and through our requirements documentation. Verbal and written communication are key competencies for the successful business analyst. I’ve collected together some past lessons on communication.
In this article, lets look at 10 ways you can communicate even more effectively on IT projects.
Communicate with Business Stakeholders
1. Always remember: It is never a waste of time to define the problem before discussing solutions.
2. Sometimes business stakeholders just aren’t sure where to start with “requirements”. Become a sounding board for new ideas and look for ways to help your stakeholders discover technical possibilities.
3. As business analyst, we are often in a position to reach across organizational boundaries, especially the gulf that seems to separate business and technology. Doug Goldberg provides a host of ideas on why attitude issues surface on both sides and how a business analyst is in a position to forge new paths of communication between business and IT.
Improve Analyst / Developer Communication
4. Have you ever had a developer tell you “that’s impossible”? I certainly have. Read my advice for how to overcome this communication barrier between analysts and developers.
5. And to avoid the above problem in the first place, always look for opportunities to share business context with your technical team. It is a positive form of communication and will do wonders in establishing your relationships.
6. Have you witnessed a tense moment between a developer and a stakeholder? Have you wondered how you can help your teammate? Doug Hill shares a wonderful story about a small gesture that created a big positive experience.
Overcome Common BA Communication Challenges
7. It can be difficult to turn off our analysis hat and really listen to what our stakeholders have to say. Using a variety of active listening techniques will help your stakeholders realize you did really hear what they said and understood what they meant.
8. Have you wished you had resisted the urge to say “I told you so” or the more professional equivalent of “remember last week when I pointed that out”. Learn to think of these moments as opportunities to learn how to better influence your stakeholders next time.
Leverage Techniques and Templates to Improve Communication
There are a few tools that I rarely leave my desk without because they do so much to improve both my own organization and how I communicate with others. They include
9. Be proactive with an issues list to drive attention to open items and breed accountability amongst your stakeholder team.