Improving our skills for producing software requirements gets a lot of attention around here. It’s important to keep all of our tools in tip-top condition, but sometimes we have to bring in our consulting skills for a tune-up. Working with project stakeholders can be quite an enjoyable experience with the right approach. We recently read Click: The Magic of Instant Connections to understand the factors that will improve our chances of just “clicking” with each other.
The first area mentioned in the book is vulnerability. The authors present studies that illustrate the power of sharing a weakness that bind us together. As a business analyst, implementing this must be done very cautiously. While the factor is great for developing personal relationships, it can certainly be taken too far in professional relationships. Touch on common ones first to let your colleagues see that you aren’t just a ruthless requirements robot, you’re person too! Anything from dealing with temperamental teens to a baby causing your lack of sleep will work to show your human side.
Two additional factors are proximity and environment. These are old advantages for a business analyst. It’s a lot easier to click with someone in person than some alternative form of communication. If it’s feasible to work in the same place, then do it! Emails and phone calls are efficient (in theory), but there is something lost from a face-to-face interaction.
Additional factors discussed in the book are resonance, similarity, engagement, and, of course, a little magic. It is worth noting these, but most astute business analysts could rattle these off without reading the book. Look to the studies presented in the text to find interesting examples of each factor, but beyond that, the book isn’t very revealing; the factors are hard-wired in most of us. Just be personable with your stakeholders and your professional relationship will stands a good chance to fostering quality collaboration.