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Use Mirroring to Connect With Others

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Mirroring is a technique we cover in our IIBA endorsed Mastering Business Analysis with Waterfall and Agile Methods course. In the training course we’re talking about mirroring the words of the other person, but Sue Shellenbarger tells us in the below article that we should also mirror their gestures and even their posture – and that we’re probably already doing it without even realizing it. 

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think taking the mirroring technique to this level in requirements session will help you get better quality requirements?

Use Mirroring to Connect With Others

Adopting the same gestures, posture or tone can enhance bonding and help with networking or negotiating—but be subtle about it

It is a common experience: You’re deep in conversation with someone and suddenly realize you’re both holding the same pose, leaning forward and propping an elbow on the table. Or you notice you’re suddenly starting to pick up the other person’s Southern accent or fast, loud speech.

Mirroring a conversation partner’s gestures, expressions, posture, vocal pitch or tone can reflect rapport or a desire to please, research shows. It is seen most often between romantic partners, but it happens at work, too, in networking sessions, meetings and conversations with colleagues.

Creepy, maybe. Most people do it unconsciously. But mirroring can help you create powerful connections with others. This behavior, often called “the chameleon effect,” often causes others to like and trust you more. Professional networkers, negotiators and salespeople say they use mirroring to help them engage more deeply in a conversation and understand the person they’re talking with.

People who are deeply engaged in conversation are often surprised to realize they’re mirroring each other. Diane Darling was on a video call recently with a friend in France when she noticed both were leaning back with their arms extended overhead “as if we were doing a morning stretch—but for her it was 2 o’clock in the afternoon,” says Ms. Darling, a Boston networking consultant. “Oh my gosh, we’re in the same position,” she told her friend. 

Executive coach Nancy Capistran sometimes mirrors the posture or gestures of clients during problem-solving discussions, but client John Dudley says she does it so naturally he doesn’t notice. 

This relaxed, open posture reflects trust, and their simultaneous gesture sprang from a moment of deep connection, says Ms. Darling, author of “The Networking Survival Guide.”

This kind of alignment fosters closeness and trust. “The extent to which people are able to create this brain-to-brain coupling makes them more powerful,” says Noah Zandan, chief executive and co-founder of Quantified Communications, an Austin, Texas, communications analytics company. “It’s useful in any environment where collaboration is going to be more helpful than hostility.”

Deliberately trying to mirror another person’s behavior without being truly engaged can backfire, however. Others are likely to notice and see it as an attempt at manipulation. “We tend to like people who imitate us—as long as we don’t notice that they’re doing it,” says Chris Frith, an emeritus professor of neuropsychology at University College London and co-author with Dr. Hasson of the 2016 study.

A job candidate might copy an interviewer’s posture and speaking style in an attempt to make a good impression, for example. Sometimes this is obvious to the interviewer, and sometimes it isn’t, depending on the job candidate’s skill and subtlety, research shows.

DOS AND DON’TS

Mirroring typically works best when it is unconscious. Doing it consciously requires some subtle skills:

DO:

Build a connection first. Make listening and understanding the other person your priority.

Start by nodding and tilting your head as you listen.

Try matching the other person’s vocal tone and pace.

If that works, move on to mirroring gestures and posture.Don’t try to fake it by pretending to be interested when you’re not. You’ll almost certainly be found out, damaging the relationship.

DON’T:

Try to fake it by pretending to be interested when you’re not. You’ll almost certainly be found out.
Mirror negative nonverbal signals, such as crossing arms in front of your body or stepping back.

Try to copy the person’s gestures, movements and expressions exactly.

Devote so much energy to mirroring that you feel stressed.
It is wiser to begin to feel a sense of connection with an interviewer before trying to mirror his behavior. You should already be showing genuine openness and interest via nonverbal cues, facing the interviewer squarely and making frequent eye contact. Also, stick to behaviors that come naturally.

“If you purposely try to copy everything someone does, it’s going to be awkward, says Ellen Keiley, a business-development coach in Arlington, Mass.

via http://www.wsj.com/articles/use-mirroring-to-connect-with-others-1474394329?tesla=y

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Business Analyst Job Information

BA Careers resized 600

I love that this article from National Career Services mentions “tact, diplomacy and good negotiating skills” as something necessary for business analysts.

Communication skills are hands down the most important skills in your toolbox and I think too many people are lacking in this area – and I don’t think traditional education emphasizes it enough.

I think that’s one reason the IIBA is so important. The IIBA gives you access to endorsed education providers that focus on courses and training specific to business analysis skills and careers.

Here’s what they had to say about the BA career:

Work activities. As a business analyst, you will work with senior managers and other professionals to support changes to the way an organisation works. 

If you like solving problems, are good at analysing data and have excellent communication skills, this could be an ideal career for you.

Work activities

As a business analyst, you will work with senior managers and other professionals to support changes to the way an organisation works. This can include changes across a whole business or may be limited to one part of it. For example, you might help to improve a company’s decision-making processes, support the introduction of a new IT system or help to develop a marketing and sales strategy.

Depending on the particular project, you might typically:

  • speak to managers about their development strategy to find out what they want the business to achieve
  • carry out fact finding tasks into the business’s processes to see what they do and how they do it
  • analyse your findings and use data modelling methods to come up with recommendations for changes and improvements
  • look at the potential impact and risks of your recommendations
  • explain the benefits of your recommendations to the business
  • keep a written record of requirements and recommendations, and how they were arrived at
  • agree with the management team the best way to put recommended changes into place
  • oversee testing and quality checks of recommendations
  • support the staff who are responsible for making the changes and report any issues

In some cases, you may also be responsible for managing the project all the way through to completion.

Training and development

It’s important to keep up to date with developments in this field and membership of a professional body can help with this. Joining an organization like the IIBA can give you access to professional development opportunities like workshops and events.

The IIBA also offers training and certification at different levels from foundation to advanced. 

Skills, interests and qualities

As a business analyst, you typically need:

  • the ability to see problems from different angles and to solve them
  • excellent analytical skills
  • the ability to pay close attention to detail
  • excellent communication skills
  • excellent teamworking skills and the ability to work with people at all levels
  • the ability to lead and motivate a team
  • tact, diplomacy and good negotiating skills
  • the ability to prioritise tasks
  • the ability to anticipate issues and respond to unforeseen changes
  • the ability to meet deadlines
  • an awareness of the commercial pressures on businesses
  • a commitment to your professional development

via Business analyst job information | National Careers Service

 

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Gathering Business Requirements Demystified

Gathering (Eliciting) Business Requirements Demystified…

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I have worked in IT for more than 20 years and at the beginning of my career, there really wasn’t a defined business analysis role. Once it became a defined role, we were taught to “gather” requirements. This word is out of sync with what we do today as business analysts. However, there are many companies still using this term in their job descriptions and recruiters still using it in their search for the best candidates.

Business analysts may still need to use this term when job hunting, but when it comes to interviews and doing our jobs, we need to ensure that we’re eliciting requirements, not just gathering.

Most of my clients tell me they have a difficult time understanding how to get started when it’s a new product. because there’s nothing already built, they don’t know where to begin. While this may be a little more challenging than a project for enhancements to an existing application, it can also be more fun. Yes, i did say fun. if you aren’t enjoying your job, then it’s either the wrong company, the wrong culture, or the wrong job for you.

Let’s assume it is the right job for you and you do enjoy doing it, but you feel unsure in there “new product” situations.

I like the way Joe Barrios (a fellow BA career coach) explained it, but with one exception. Joe indicates you should ask a question reagrding “how”. Keep in mind that this is at the very beginning of the analysis process when you are speaking at a high level with executives, sponsors, etc. you aren’t “in the weeds” yet. My suggestion is to leave the how question until you are deeper into the requirements discussion – and then it should be focused on functionally how, not back-end systems/architecture focus.

Joe said when beginning analysis on a product or solution that is needed to meet a business need, the Business Analyst needs to obtain a basic understanding of the pain points that the business wants to address.

You need to get a high level understanding of the pain points, framed through the six basic questions someone needs to ask in order to understand any object: Who, What, Where, When, How, and Why.

Who

It’s necessary to understand who has the pain point the business wants to address, as well as who the beneficiary of the product or solution will be. These are often the same people, but may not be. For example, the company may lose customers because a product doesn’t work properly or doesn’t have a necessary feature, and a business executive may “feel the pain” by being accountable for that loss. You want to know about both of these types of people, as well as other stakeholders who are significantly impacted by the proposed change.

What

It’s also important to know about the data and information that are relevant for the pain point and proposed solution. At the highest level, this is a question of concepts— “the user,” “the customer,” “the billing history data”—and their relationships to one another. They’re the kinds of things you would see in a conceptual data model. You need this information so that you understand all of the “objects” involved apart from the people, whether objects are inventory, authoritative data, or whatever is relevant.

Where

This question is of lesser importance early on, but becomes more so as you define your requirements better.  Where is the location of any object or person relevant to the pain point or solution? This may refer to physical locations, computer server or cloud locations, and so on. The underlying issue here is the network—you want to know what kind of impact the pain point and proposed solution affect the relevant network and the things connected to it.

When

You need to know the time strictures that the solution is under. When must a solution be delivered, and what are the reasons for that? Knowing the answer to “when” helps you start thinking about the feasibility of implementing particular requirements as you gather them.

Why

This is pretty important to know. What is the pain point, anyway? What are the business drivers behind the requested product or solution? The answer to this question provides the impetus for the entire project, so it’s necessary to know the answer on Day one.

How

This question is not as useful as you would think at first. When business needs and pain points are first being expressed, the focus should be on defining what those needs are. Although the business may have a general idea of the kind of solution or product they want, closer analysis may reveal an entirely different approach than what was first envisioned. The question of “how” becomes a lot more useful when you have defined requirements and are conducting business process modeling and re-engineering. It is also more useful for the systems analyst or architect later down the line who must actually make decisions about the technologies and approaches to use.

Nevertheless, you should get a basic idea of what the business has in mind in terms of changing its processes and possible solution options to help begin framing the project. Just don’t let that framework bind you too tightly later on down the line.

Once you have answered these six basic questions you are in a better position to proceed to full requirements analysis.

via Joe Barrios, Career Coach |www.joebarrios.com | How should the Business Analyst begin the requirements elicitation process for a new product or solution?

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Leading Change in Business Analysis: Part II

Leading Change Part 2

 

In my last business analysis blog, I detailed Harvard Professor John Kotter’s process for completing successful projects. In case you missed it, read the first installment before you continue learning this simple but powerful business analyst tool.

By now, you’ve already learned how to build a coalition of the willing—industry leaders and stakeholders who help everyone else get on board with your project initiatives. Now it’s time to take that one step further.

In the final steps, you will discover how you can easily satisfy all stakeholders. But there’s something more at stake—the trajectory of your business analyst career. As the Analyst Coach, I help professionals move up and up.

Each success story builds your portfolio. Use these projects as case studies as you make the case for a higher salary.

Step 4: Enlist a volunteer army.

When you read the first installment of John Kotter’s project process, you discovered how to build a guiding coalition. These are the stakeholders who will communicate the benefits, overarching strategy, and smaller milestones to others.

Think of it as a testimonial—your social proof. You can spout off benefits all day, but until an outsider backs up your claims, you won’t gain much traction.

The major goal for your volunteer army is to communicate the plan’s ideas and get more people on board. Don’t be afraid to ask for help; the more people who join the cause, the easier it is to reap the benefits of a 100% coalition.

Step 5: Enable action by removing barriers.

Progress silences all doubt. When you lose momentum, you encounter unnecessary obstacles that deter full support.

When you place the focus on a continuation of action, you won’t have to tackle as many stumbling blocks. Once you get people to agree to your plan, prove yourself right. The best course of action is to start the milestone completion immediately so that you show people they made the right decision.

Step 6: Generate short-term wins.

Small wins start to build the big picture of transformation. If you can start completing successful milestones quickly, you will not lose momentum and will get people excited about the final results.

Continuous motivation is pretty important as business analyst projects tend to be mentally and emotionally taxing during the whole process.

Step 7: Sustain acceleration.

Keep swimming. Short-term wins are a big plus, so show stakeholders that you know what progress looks like. However, the big-picture goal is a sustainable process, so keep the focus on repeated wins.

Step 8: Institute change.

Once you make change, make said transformation permanent. Here’s the way to do this: anchor the change with the culture of the organization, and make it an integral part of everyday working life.

As you make continuous efforts to ensure that change is accepted and communicate with stakeholders, they will see the project as a saving grace, not to mention an opportunity for further growth in a more agile environment.

Leading Change in Business Analysis: Part I

John Kotter, a Harvard Business School professor, wrote a book that details how to tackle a leadership role and conquer all of the many objectives involved. He did the smart thing and simplified the process.

In business analysis, no matter if you’re working in Waterfall or Agile methodologies, you will complete a before-to-after transformative process. The trouble is that process might have some major roadblocks that curb the desired outcomes.

Enter Professor Kotter. When you use his process of project completion, you will satisfy your stakeholders and create sustainable resolutions for every business analysis initiative you tackle.

This system can be boiled down to eight words: create, build, form, enlist, enable, generate, sustain, and institute. I encourage you memorize these eight words and use them as a guiding light as you work to satisfy your clients and bosses.

Since there is so much to cover (though I promise you that this process is simple), we’ll split the process into two blog articles. Be sure to tune in later this month so that you gain all the information you need.

Step 1: Create a sense of urgency.

Business analysis involves change. Even when change is positive and welcomed, there will still be some resistance. Stakeholders, end users, and even fellow business analysts may seem reluctant to create a new dynamic.

You beat this resistance by creating urgency. Only if you provide a compelling reason to make a transition will you build a cavalry behind you. Create a sense of urgency so that people understand they need to join the cause sooner rather than later.

Spotlight the principal goals of the plan, and show how those milestones create benefits.

Step 2: Build a guiding coalition.

Though business analysis requires a leader to spearhead the process, it’s not easy to do this job alone. You’ll need a coalition of the willing who will advocate for the change. If you sway the top stakeholders, they will act as your most persuasive ambassadors.

Think of it as trickle-down business analysis. You get the leaders on board, and then they do the heavy lifting with persuading other stakeholders. After that point, you’ll work toward getting everyone else on board.

Step 3: Form the strategic vision and initiatives.

People won’t jump to your campaign simply because you and its supporters say that it’s awesome. There will be more than a few stakeholders who require additional information before rallying to the cause.

Develop the detailed strategy that will need to be communicated to the larger group—those who are not necessarily in leadership positions.

This big-picture strategy will not only be detailed but also defined in a clear-cut way. If you can describe the initiatives and the benefits in bullet points, then these bite-sized aspects will speed up the project.

In addition to big-picture benefits, outline nitty-gritty points for reaching small milestones that direct the organization toward its end goal.

Dont miss the follow-up.

Now that you know how to build a base that propels you forward, you’ll soon discover how to make transformational change in your business analysis career.

Benefits and Challenges of Creating Use Cases

uml unified modeling language  teamwork design modelling software development systemAs you develop a use case document, you are creating a map to your project’s end goal. In my years of facilitating successful business analysis projects, I can confidently say that having clarity will be a make-or-break factor in satisfying stakeholders.

And you can’t gain that clarity without solid use cases. The caveat: though there is a long list of use case benefits, these documents don’t come without their challenges.

To give you a clear sense of your end goal with respect to use cases, we’ll start with the benefits. 

Benefits of Creating Use Cases

The use case helps us to understand and shape both the problem we are trying to solve, as well as the solution to that problem. Think of it as a guideline to the solutions that you are going to implement.

In addition to the clarity, use cases capture operational requirements from the user’s perspective. This will give you even greater foresight of the end goal to facilitate a seamless user experience.

At the end of the day, use cases outline a clear and consistent description of what the system should do and are understandable by all stakeholders, including…

  • Users
  • Developers
  • Business Partners.

We’re not finished with the list of benefits just yet. Here are a few more major advantages to consider:

  • Use cases are an excellent source for the testing team.
  • Use cases help testers with test script writing and as a source for information during testing.
  • Use cases provide the ability to trace functional requirements into actual classes and operations in the system.

Challenges of Creating Use Cases

Business analysis certainly comes with its fair share of challenges. Use cases are no exception. But like anything worth doing, the stumbling blocks are well worth the prize. (Which is a high salary and respectable position.)

As you create your use cases, be aware of the following obstacles, so that you can overcome them. Look out for…

  • The Language Challenge. There is a bad habit among business analysts—and that is to revert to tech-speak. Instead use natural language that clarifies your logic and overall mission.

Instead, write your summary goals first, then the main flow, then alternate flows, and finally the process flow diagram.

Or you can reverse the order and start with the process flow diagram—either way is acceptable. There is no right or wrong here. Complete the use case process in the order that works best for you.

  • The Perfection Challenge. You don’t have to be perfect. You’re not looking to pen the Constitution here; you simply want easy readability and clarity.

Do You Know How to Craft the Best Use Case Possible?

Get the Training You Need.

Why IIBA-Endorsed Training?

Picture of training class

IIBA-endorsed training is what separates the business analysts who shoot up the corporate ladder quickly and those who struggle for years. When you go in to a project without comprehensive training, finding the right solution equates to feeling around for a light switch in the dark.

It’s hard—and needlessly so.

On the other hand, IIBA-endorsed training prepares you for multiple scenarios that you’ll inevitably face. As a brief overview, getting the training you need means…

  • You will elicit requirements the right way.
  • You will communicate effectively with stakeholders.
  • You will create nearly perfect documents—use cases, BRDs, process flow diagrams, the works.
  • You won’t have to learn as you go.

The moral of the story is: on-the-job training won’t get you very far. In this industry, stakeholders and bosses expect business analysts to be prepared before a project begins.

The only way to achieve that is through IIBA-endorsed training. Here are a few situations that illustrate my point.

Requirements elicitation.

Do you know the right questions to ask?

Specifically, do you know how to extract requirements from a stakeholders mind, so that you have a clear set of goals in front of you?

You will have that clarity with IIBA-endorsed training. Knowing the right questions to ask means that you will be able to create a process flow that ends at the right spot. In other words, you are able to create the right goal, and then take the steps toward getting there.

Effective communication.

Whether it’s a reliance on tech-speak or a lack of clear purpose, communication breakdowns stop a business analyst project dead in its tracks. If we’re being honest here, we need to face an important truth…

Not everyone is the best communicator.

When the communication wires cross, then you end up with hours (if not days or weeks) of additional work. When you get the training you need, you will understand how to communicate effectively and understand every project objective.

Creating documents.

 BRDs.

Use cases.

Process flow diagrams.

Data flow diagrams.

FDDs.

Screen mockups.

These documents will be your saving grace when you’re on a project. Use cases, for example, serve as a map of how the users will interact with the system.

Only with IIBA-endorsed training, such as this one, will you be able to create documents that move your project forward without issue.

How Excellent Requirements Bypass Development and Testing Errors

"what if i press this button" written in the sky with contrails left by airplane

Development and testing errors…

After you’ve invested so much time and effort into the business analysis for a project, only to see a technological glitch disqualify your progress…

Well, it’s not fun.

The old adage rings true: you can’t have a solution without eliminating the problem. In fact, this idea is the core principle behind successful business analysis. In this role, it’s up to you to eliminate obstacles that decrease profitability, waste time, and create a weaker organization.

In order to save time, gain respect, earn credibility, and eliminate needless stress, it’s vital to elicit really solid requirements before you start a project.

In this way, you will mitigate the risk of development and testing errors—which could reveal holes in your plan, add hours to your workday, and make stakeholders dissatisfied.

So how do you elicit the project requirements you need? Though in-depth, IIBA-endorsed training will deliver the nitty-gritty details that stop development and testing errors before they happen, here are a few vital details about requirements elicitation.

Solid requirements focus on the big picture.

Finances.

Operations.

End Users.

Customers.

CEOs.

CMOs.

There are quite a few factors that go into the solution you provide. As you figure out whether or not you have the requirements you need, consider what the whole-picture outcome of your solution will be.

Don’t forget to ask about system requirements and previous issues, as you may uncover something that stops testing errors from happening.

Quality requirements take all stakeholders into account.

Stakeholders aren’t just the people you have meetings with. If I’m being honest, not all stakeholders are people you receive requirements from.

In fact, you may never see this person/these people.

Think of everyone who will be impacted by the work you’re doing—especially those who use the software you test. If you can’t satisfy all parties, then you need to elicit more requirements, or at a minimum have deeper discussions about the requirements you’ve already elicited.

Error-proof requirements are sought out, not given.

When you’re a top-tier business analyst, you won’t be given all the requirements you need. You’ll need to go find them, which means asking questions to stakeholders about what their organization experiences.

That means doing research, looking at old reports, going over company history, and most important, asking questions. When you do this, you uncover the requirements that will stop testing errors before they have a chance to derail your success.

It takes training to learn how to elicit these error-proof requirements.

 I mean comprehensive training—a BA leadership course that reveals how to…

  • Define business analysis and requirements.
  • Create a Requirements Elicitation Plan.
  • Elicit requirements from stakeholders using a variety of effective techniques.
  • Practice communication skills to engage stakeholders and uncover needs.
  • Understand communication and conflict resolution techniques and how to use them.
  • Understand how to select the analysis technique(s) that will most accurately help you identify requirements and communicate information to your stakeholders and project team.
  • Reduce development and testing errors by creating excellent requirements.

This (and much more) will ensure you elicit requirements that bypass testing errors.

Upgrading Careers from Software Tester to Business Analyst

Upgrade Career Pic

Did you begin your career as a software tester?

If you did—congratulations!

The reason I say this is because, if you’re a software tester, it’s much easier to upgrade your career to a business analyst position.

The caveat: making this transition requires a certain set of tools that allows you to tackle the multiplying responsibilities you’ll take on.

In your new role as a business analyst, one of the first things you’ll soon realize is that you didn’t simply upgrade your career—you took a wholly different path.

While there is more money to be made in business analysis, there are also crucial skillsets that you will need before you achieve any measure of success.

The Foundational Tools for Business Analysis

Look back to when you were a teenager. Did you walk into a new job, maybe your first one ever, and not know a single thing about the systems and operations? Chances are, you did.

But that was okay, as the company offered you on-the-job training.

Unfortunately, business analysis isn’t like that.

After you move out of your software testing position and into your BA position, you will need to know the basics on day one.

And those foundational tools include…

  • Catering to stakeholder needs.
  • Discovering stakeholder needs (which is completely different than what I mentioned above).
  • Approval of your proposed solution.
  • Creating a laundry list of documents, such as BRDs, use cases, and more.

When you have these skills in your back pocket, you will be able to more effortlessly upgrade to the career you want. Though you need formal, IIBA-endorsed training to truly master these foundational skills, not to worry.

I’ll reveal the must-know information in this article.

Catering to Stakeholder Needs

The managers, employees, and decision-makers who have a say in how the company works and how it performs—these are the people you have to satisfy as a reputable business analyst.

It’s important to elicit requirements from these stakeholders, as you’re creating a list of core objectives to complete the project successfully.

Discovering Stakeholder Needs

Even more important than completing objectives is discovering objectives. Uncovering serious issues a company faces (and solving those hidden obstacles) is what will help you rise above in the industry.

Approval of Your Proposed Solution

It’s up to you and the entire team to implement the big solution that will transform the company; however, you must first defend your proposal to stakeholders and receive approval. This means presenting evidence of the benefits and projecting a brighter future.

Will you receive pushback? I have. My colleagues have. Most business analysts do.

IIBA-endorsed training will reveal how to handle these tough situations.

Creating Documents  

BRDs, use cases, process flow diagrams, and screen mockups—you need these to transition into a BA career. And it’s not so simple to get the information needed to create these documents flawlessly.

Luckily, you have that training right here.

How to Navigate Politics as a Business Analyst

Chess

I posted this article on LinkedIn in February. I’m sharing it today with my blog community. If we’re not connected on LinkedIn and you’d like to be, just send me a connection request via LinkedIn.

Now for the article on navigating politics…

We all experience it, and we wish we didn’t have to. Politics and corporate culture vary among companies and clients, but they’re always there to some degree…and sometimes you as a BA are caught in the middle. But there are ways to navigate the political waters and stay afloat.

The first thing to understand is that many times, people guard their positions or roles within the company. If you understand and respect that, you’ll have no problems with the politics or the prevailing morale and culture. The situation may be hard to swallow sometimes, but if you can do it, you’ll be an invaluable part of the team—sometimes without trying.

Listen and learn.

Any time you go into a new situation, listen to what is said and how it’s communicated. You can learn so much if you merely observe and listen. Find out who the key players are and what their roles are. People will tell you all they need to know about themselves if you’ll only listen to them.

Take notes if you need to, because you need to know who you’re working with and why. You also need to know how they interact with others and how well they work together.

Watch what you say and whom you say it to.

Unless you’re making general positive statements, be very careful about the people you confide in. If you make the time to listen as I suggest above, you’ll already know who to talk to and who to leave alone. If you need to make negative comments, be certain the people you tell them to are the right people.

For example, you should be able to confide in your team members, but you need to be careful of what you say to the head of the department you’re analyzing. If in doubt, be quiet. It’s much harder to take back words that are said, but if you stay quiet, you can always talk later after you’ve gotten to know people better.

And if you do need to break bad news, be sure you have ample documentation to back up everything you say.

When in doubt, ask—but do it carefully.

This is a tricky one. If you have something to say that is less than positive, you need to know the right people to tell. It’s not always easy to know who they are. If you have a confidant on the team, he or she can help you decide how to communicate what you need to say.

3 Must Know Techniques

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