Between external and internal clients, the IT department and management, a business analyst must be able to adapt his communication to his counterpart. Here are our tips for developing this aptitude.
“I’m a bit like a psychiatrist”, says Geneviève Dubé, a business analyst. “I’m here to listen to employees, and also to make them talk. I have to understand the challenges they face. I have to find out all the shenanigans they do to circumvent the limits of the tools they use.”
This is how Geneviève Dubé sees her role. She is the intermediary between floor employees, who use computer systems to deliver services to customers, the IT department, which configures them, and management, who decides priorities and grants budgets.
“I adapt my way of documenting information depending on the person I am addressing”, explains the business analyst. “I have to find the appropriate level of detail depending on the context.”
For each interlocutor his own method
To become familiar with employees’ work, Geneviève Dubé first goes through the documentation provided to them: “I read the training documents, I observe, I conduct interviews. There is a bond of trust to be established with them – I have to make them understand that I am not there to evaluate them or judge them … My role is neutral. I want to improve the processes. Some are fearful of change, others are very open.”
Faced with IT people, Geneviève Dubé emphasizes the importance of being very specific in system requirements. “If we want a maximum of two clicks for a certain operation, it has to be stated.” In addition, the business analyst is not afraid to challenge her team of programmers. “I like to do workshops where I bring all the stakeholders together in one place, to assure myself that we have the best solution and that we are all going in the same direction.”
In front of management, Geneviève Devant has to speak the language of business, to explain the various scenarios proposed. “I put forward the productivity gains and cost reductions which it will generate. I identify redundancies, to ensure that each tasks brings added value to the business. I also use diagrams since the best tool is visual. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words!”