I am working at a rapidly growing company as a BA. Sometimes I really find it hard to catch my stakeholders and other interested parts at their places and to make an appointment with them for a meeting. I have tried many techniques and tools like mass email notifications, invitations to join meetings via project management system and even personal calls explaining the importance and providing quick overview. In most cases when they accept the meeting later many fail attending it as many of them are drowned in work and short of time running around bringing down “sorries”. Whenever they are all in I feel they really like it saying “We really need it man, but sorry gotta run now as got no other choice, maybe next time”. Would you please write about this topic to advice how to put them together and effectively schedule meetings. Thanks a lot.
After reading this question, I found myself thinking that yes I have been through this before and I have also been able to make this work and have successful sessions with my stakeholders. The most critical difference that I can see is the stakeholder who can see the value of fixing or changing the process. Most stakeholders want to be there; they want to be able to help.
However, two thought processes might be happening here:
First, what does a BA do and how can she help me?
Second, how does this change affect me and my team?
Recently I had several business owners miss my meetings or show up late. When I talked with them, they did not see the value in a business analyst. They had the understanding that I was an administrative resource who was to be utilized as they wanted – mostly for note taking and for setting up meetings.
Now this is just fine if that was the role I was hired to do, but I was hired to move forward on a business process change. I talked with them about the change, what I could do to help them and the value I could provide. Understanding what their process is and being able to represent it during full team sessions is critical. In addition, bringing back updates to proposed thoughts and ideas becomes valuable to the process owners if they cannot always attend every meeting. But I could and I would be able to represent their team on their behalf.
Change is such a difficult process to go through whether it is in your personal life or business life. I always come into a project fully appreciating the change that the business owners will be managing. I sit down with them, usually one on one (or by conference call, again one on one) first to talk about that change and start building a relationship. What does it mean for them? What does it mean for their team? How does this change affect their process coming into their team and leaving their team? How do they view this process, and can they find the value in the change?
Then I talk about how I can help with this. How I can support them with understanding the change, making it work for them, documentation, training, and whatever else they need. If they see the value then you become part of their team too, and the trust that you build is the most important part of the developing relationship. They start attending your meetings because they trust you and see your role in helping them achieve their goals.
>>Prepare More Effectively For Your Next Meeting
Want to feel more confident asking questions in a new domain and save valuable stakeholder time in the meetings you facilitate? The Requirements Discovery Checklist Pack includes over 700 questions, categorized and cross-referenced so you can prepare for your next elicitation session with a sense of ease and confidence.