Relationship Building

Relationships are another key to the successful business analyst.  It is important to establish trust with the partners you work with (ie: QA team, co-workers, project managers, developers, etc…), the client(s) you are working for, and the management team that you are working with.  Quite often, especially if you are working as a contractor, you will walk into a project blind.  Meaning you aren’t going to know the details of the project, the timeline, or the process.

Trust is vital to establishing a good relationship.  The trick is how to do that.  Here are some things I have done to try to establish trust.

  1. Learn as much as possible as quickly as possible.  That may seem obvious but here me out.  No one expects a business analyst to come in right away knowing everything, even the most experienced business analyst has knowledge gaps.  But when the other team members know that you are learning, asking good, solid questions, it builds trust and they will be willing to help you.
  2. Show respect.  This should go without saying but it is so true.  I have yet to be on a project where everyone agreed on everything.  We all have different viewpoints, ideas, and personalities.  How you treat everyone goes a long way toward forming others opinions about you.  A business analyst can’t do his job well without the help of others.  If you are bossy, irritable, untrustworthy, or don’t show people respect you are not going to get the help you need.  Always remember the golden rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  If you don’t show people respect, you can’t expect them to show you respect.
  3. Be willing to help and follow thru.  This is all about being a team player.  This is a character trait and you are either good at it or not.  There is a lot of “all about me” in the world, but when you are willing to help someone, do it, and do it well, it says a lot about you and it gets noticed.

    For example, at one job I would often get into work around 7am.  Our development team in India would be ready to go home about that time.  They knew that I would come in early and would often ask me to test something for them so they could go home.  Doing these tests wasn’t part of my job, sometimes it wasn’t even my project, but I did it because it helped the team.  This helped build a level of trust with the development team, the QA team, and when I would need some help they were willing to help me.

    There is an old adage, “what goes around comes around”.  This is so true in the business world.  A good business analyst is always aware of this.

  4. When there is a problem, work the problem.  Don’t panic.  Stuff happens.  It never fails.  How you react to the problem and how you work the problem says a lot about you.  If you scream, cuss, and blame people, then you are creating more problems.   Just focus on the problem and then worry about the repercussions later.
  5. Take the blame when you are at fault.  This may seem obvious but take responsibility when you screw up or you think you screwed up.  If you do this, then people are more willing to help you dig out of the hole than if you were to go around accusing others.  A sure way of getting yourself fired is to try to cover up a mistake or put it off on someone else.  Sometimes it is tempting but it’s never a good idea.

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