Try finding your way in a blizzard…not an easy feat!
Have you ever noticed how much time is spent talking about how to approach a task, a project or a problem at the clients where you serve or at the companies where you work on? I don’t necessarily mean devising a strategy….I mean the kind of discussion that leads to arguments about what is actually on the table. Where if you speak to 5 people, you get 5 differing ideas on what they believe needs to be achieved or how to achieve it. Where there is just utter confusion around the WHY, WHAT, HOW and WHO…
I’m sure you would have noticed a significant amount of time and money being spent on this?
Have you noticed how debilitating confusion tends to be? It affects motivation levels, morale, and as a result productivity.
On the contrary, the moment there is clarity, it tends to create a sense of purpose…a positive, almost exhilarating type of energy. People feel as if their actions are part of something bigger and they are contributing to something better. Traction results and this leads to momentum.
It might be as simple as someone standing up and walking to a whiteboard and drawing a simple picture. Or someone simplifying a complicated set of facts and figures by asking 3 key questions that get answered and agreed to by all. Sometimes it is as simple as sticking to what was decided and implementing those decisions.
As Business Analysts, we are ideally positioned to clarify…to simplify…and to create momentum. In fact, not only are we uniquely positioned, we are obliged to clarify if we want to be truly effective. Business Analysts are slap-bang in the middle of business problem statements and system solutions. Between executives and operational administrators. Between business and IT. Between Project managers and end users of the project’s outputs.
Here are some simple questions to ask in order to get to an initial point of clarity, when starting on a new project:
1) Start with the end in mind (What ultimate goal are you trying to achieve? What would be an ideal outcome after this process or project has ended?)
2) What is the core problem at hand? (This seems obvious, but many incorrect solutions have been produced due to lack of properly understanding the complete problem)
3) Who are the key decision makers in this venture? (Are they mandated and aware of this role? Are they available and accessible to answer questions around the problem and possible solution?)
4) Are expectations clear around the exact scope and deliverables of the project and immediate next phase of the project? (Be clear on the direction, before embarking at speed in a certain direction)
5) What is the very next step that is required to move forward? (Once direction is clear, be sure to take action. Nothing will happen, unless action is taken)
It would be wonderful to get your views on the above and specifically on how you created clarity in your past ventures…