About Joan Davis

Joan has over 20 years experience solving complex insurance process and systems design issues. She has led dozens of cross-functional process improvement teams and has also worked at an enterprise level in operational problem-solving, regulatory compliance, continuity planning, and product development. As an Independent Consultant Joan came to specialize as a “Virtual Collaborator”, and manages the Virtual Facilitators’ Forum on LinkedIn, a subgroup of the Professional Facilitators Network. Joan can be contacted to share ideas for engaging virtual groups at theVirtualBA@gmail.com or on LinkedIn.

Working with Remote Stakeholders? 3 Tips for Using Your Elicitation Skills Online

Welcome to the global economy.  Companies are leveraging widespread resources to bring about new strategic capabilities. As a result, many business analysts are finding themselves collaborating with distributed teams and outsourcers. This introduces a tricky new space to traverse when eliciting and validating stakeholder requirements.  Within an 8 hour span of your “normal workday” you […]

How to Schedule Meetings that Cross Time Zones

The modern Business Analyst collaborates all day long – meeting with subject matter experts, technical gurus, project leaders and stakeholders too numerous to count.  Quite often these colleagues are located elsewhere, potentially across the four corners of the earth. Coordinating a live, long distance discussion could mean coping with multiple time zones and you must […]

How to Appear Engaging via a Web Cam

Among the Measures of Success for video conferencing discussed in my last article, “on camera presence” – being at ease and confident in front of the camera – seems the least intuitive.  You are either comfortable on camera or not; there’s seldom a middle ground.  In this post, I’ll explore adjustments we all can make to […]

10 Video Conference Mistakes Exposed

Video Conferencing Can Bring Focus to Distributed Teams Sign on to a video conference and suddenly the miles between you disappear. Simple as that, you’re working at the same table, just like the old days. Done well, live image streaming centers our online attention and enhances remote relationship building in a big way. According to […]

How to Celebrate Project Success with a Distributed Team

Once upon a time, when the world was young and co-workers shared the same four walls, we celebrated special occasions and important milestones together with games, food, and laughter.    However, for decades now we’ve enjoyed the geographical freedom brought on by digital communication, working anywhere in the world, courtesy of a simple data line or mobile hot spot, and with […]

Patience & Persistence Part 2: How I Got Hired as a Virtual Business Analyst Consultant

The purposeful development of relevant skills doesn’t stop when you’re hired as a Business Analyst – it’s really just the beginning.  The competencies you develop on the job teach you how to assess a situation, evaluate the benefit and risk of various options, and make recommendations that, if implemented, will bring the highest value.  And […]

Patience & Persistence Part 1: How I Moved from the HR Department to Business Analyst Intern

If you are fortunate enough to have a clear picture of your professional vision in your head then you’ve already made significant progress toward achieving your goals.  Most of the effort remaining ahead has to do with communicating that vision to the right people.  However the outreach process can get frustrating and an initial inquiry will […]

Identifying Hidden Project Stakeholders by Connecting the Relationships

When beginning work on a project – whether joining an existing effort or helping to plan the kick-off – the competent BA looks around at the players to identify the Stakeholders in this initiative and what they care about.  After all, they’re the ones that will have to live with the outcome.  The obvious Stakeholders […]

Can an Organization Ever Really Be Ready for Change?

Do you have one of those “favorite projects” in your archive of accomplishments, one that you feel you really nailed when defining the needs of the situation? One of my favorites goes back 10 years now – a Case Study in Enterprise Analysis that called for quickly gaining an understanding the scope of compulsory changes that […]

How to Conduct a Requirements Workshop That Connects Your Distributed Team

You probably know this feeling. You’re on a conference call with technical and business resources, explaining the business problem that needs to be solved, when suddenly it feels like there’s no one else on the line. Why don’t they respond? Where did you lose their attention? This very real situation is a common source of […]

How to Get More Participation in a Virtual Requirements Meeting

The Who, When, & Where of being a Virtual Business Analyst Where am I? My home office, preparing to gather requirements from 12 project stakeholders located across the country.  We’ll meet via web conference, with each individual attendee linked in through their normal internet access and phone, whether that’s in the office, at home, or on […]

How to Get Your Virtual Team to Agree on Requirements

Not all “requirements” are really requirements.  Ideally discovery teams first diverge, taking differing positions, identifying all possibilities.  Then after carefully examining numerous alternatives, they use a decision-making process to converge on a solution.  In a face-to-face workshop you might group, rank, or prioritize ideas, but how can that be accomplished in a distributed forum? In […]

How to Elicit Requirements from Distributed Teams? Virtual Brainstorming!

In my last article on Bridging the Gap, I introduced some key concepts for planning virtual meetings: Consider the focus of the meeting or workshop; Minimize duration & maximize value; Involve everyone – create a collaborative spirit among those who will participate. With these themes in mind, your distributed team’s discovery, design and planning activities can […]

How to Plan a Virtual Meeting

It’s likely be the norm where you work to have remote participants joining analysis workshops and project team meetings via phone or web conferencing tools. Has this changed the way that you plan and conduct a meeting? Of course.  Do you plan your teleconferences as if the Board of Directors were on the phone?  Probably […]

Becoming a Web Warrior: A Journey Toward Remote Work and Virtual Meetings

Editor’s Note: I’m very excited to introduce you to Joan Davis, Business Systems Consultant from Philadelphia (on her way to Maine).  Joan has been exploring the ins and outs of virtual meetings and facilitation as part of her transition to a more remote area of the country. I’m excited to join her on this journey […]

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