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Ruby-throated and black-chinned hummingbirds have been gone from the U.S. since last October. It’s now Springtime, and I’m waiting for them to migrate back from their 6-month vacation in Mexico and parts of South America. The waiting is killing me! I hate to wait. But, there are things that I do each spring to prepare for their arrival, things that make the wait a bit easier to bear:

  • I buy a big bag of white sugar. I mix my own hummingbird nectar – 4 parts water to 1 part sugar.

  • I clean all of my feeders, fill them with nectar and hang them out in the yard.

  • I tie long pieces of red ribbon or red surveyor’s tape to bushes and trees in my yard – hummingbirds are curious, and if a fluttering bit of red catches their eye, they’ll probably come investigate.

  • I pester people I know to hang hummingbird feeders in their own yards.

    In my professional life, I don’t like waiting much either. Especially when something almost as exciting as hummingbird arrival is about to happen – the start of a new project! There’s often a waiting period for the Analyst that occurs while contracts are finalized, budgets are approved, and client counterparts prepare for you to show up on site and start working. That waiting period can be difficult if you’re impatient, like me. But there are things you can do to make the wait less painful – ways to prepare, even though you can’t quite start in on the real work:

  • Do some research. Get hold of any existing documentation from the client, if you can, and read it. Search for information on the internet about the project domain – will you be working on medical billing software? Financial stuff? Familiarize yourself with wacky acronyms now, and you can sound competent when you start meeting with SMEs.

  • Get organized. Start coming up with topic areas for which you may need to gather requirements. Try to get a list of SMEs, and find out what their roles are in the client’s organization. If you need to have the washing machine repaired, the cat “fixed”, or want to take a couple of days vacation – do it now!

  • Buy new supplies – personal and for use during elicitation sessions. Need a new laptop battery? Whiteboard pens? Colored sticky notes? Giant pads of paper for SMEs to draw on? Stock up now and you’ll be able to hit the ground running once the project kicks off.

    So, what are you waiting for? Think of some things that you can do today in order to prepare for tomorrow. Or next week, or next month. And while you’re at it, pick up a hummingbird feeder, a bag of sugar, and get that thing out in the yard! If you’re lucky, you’ll get to watch hummingbirds dive-bombing each other all summer long.

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