The life of a Business Analyst means constantly thinking on your feet. In this field, problem solving should be like second nature—and being able to remain objective, regardless of the situation, is key.
While working on any given project, you’ll need to keep the team working together toward the common goal of success. As the liaison between SMEs and the project development team, a BA also needs to be able to swiftly smooth over rough patches to keep the project moving forward.
Conflict can threaten to destroy the team and sabotage efforts to elicit requirements. But it doesn’t have to. Having a strong, neutral facilitator and a process for conflict resolution can reduce tensions and bring about a positive outcome.
When conflict is preventing important tasks from completing, it may be time initiate the process of reaching common ground, compromise, and resolution. Such a process might include:
- Find a neutral facilitator. It is important to find someone without a vested interest in the outcome—especially when emotions are at an all-time high. The most important step in conflict resolution is to have a designated, neutral facilitator role.
- The facilitator should set ground rules.As a rule, participants should disagree with ideas and not people. This helps prevent the discussion from turning personal. If the discussion becomes emotional, the facilitator needs to bring the focus back to the issues at hand. If this is not possible right then, the meeting should adjourn.
- Take time to understand the problem. Understand that conflict arises for a variety of reasons. We need to understand the real needs behind the stated needs in order to reach a resolution.
- Those in conflict must resolve it themselves. Once all participants understand the problem, call a brainstorming session to generate ideas to solve the problem. This can be done individually or in a group. Concentrate on generating ideas to solve the problem, not to evaluate the ideas presented.
- Prioritize the solutions.Compare approximate costs and benefits of proposed solutions. You may need follow-up action items to quantify both the costs and benefits of the solutions.
- Develop a recommendation.Another facilitated session may be needed to develop a recommendation, or the recommendation can be assigned to one of several of the participants.
- Present the recommendation.Finalize the resolution by showing it to a pre-determined decision-maker who can ensure the conflict is resolved.
Remember conflict is a natural part of a project. But utilizing these steps will help keep the project on track and prevent ruined relationships.
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