Why Business Analyst Should Build Synergy and Some Fun Ways to Do it!
Understanding the need and opportunity to make use of it.
Businesses operating in a challenging and volatile market conditions are fighting to stay alive or retain the market share. Organizations explore M&A’s, organization re-structuring, cost cutting, etc to fight the battle. But the important ingredient that plays key role in these times is how well your different teams work together as ONE TEAM to deliver quality on time. Companies that fail to build synergy, lose the game miserably.
More recently if you had noticed most of the articles, interviews of CEO’s they talk more about collaboration. If you think synergy and collaboration are big boys talk, I ask being business analyst myself why not practices these big boys talk within the limits that we operate? The game remains same but the plot/ground is different. Well, let the big boys play Wimbledon let us play Chennai open for now but strive to play Wimbledon one day! All we need is some practice and sweat to get there.
Business Analyst gets the opportunity to work with different functions, multiple locations and varied team size depending upon the nature of the projects. BA also gets to meet & interact with diverse kinds of people. No matter the size of the team or nature of the project, collaboration across the teams will dictate the sustainable success.
Typically, building synergy is seen as a responsibility of project manager, but personally I believe, it’s one of the top most responsibilities of the BA to act as a synergy manager. Below are the top three reasons why synergy is important for a team to be successful and some fun ways to build synergy within the day to day activities.
Need for building synergy
• Achieving goal: Delivering a project successfully (goal) has high level of dependency on the teams within the organization. Eg. Projects such as Core banking and CRM projects have to deal with large cross functional teams and teams with different motivations. One team’s work input would be the output of other team. Unless teams work together in cohesive manner, delivering a successful project would be distant dream. There is a compelling need to ship the product on time given the competition, demanding customers and more importantly making sure there is product-market fit.
• ONE TEAM: The leadership team has a vision, sets the strategy and counts heavily on their employees to propel towards the destination to see their vision through thousands of eyes. The decisions made within four walls in a board room on swanky buildings or corner offices have boundaries literally but also mentally to reach the last employee of the organization. Building synergy eliminates the boundaries between teams/units within an organization which helps to open doors for unlimited possibilities to share ideas and offer suggestions/opinions for problems faced during the course of the project. It leads to “integrated diversity” as per words of former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch.
• Healthy & Effective work environment: While lack of direction, unclear roles & responsibility spoils the end product there is another virus which is contagious- the blame game. Consciously or unconsciously it leads to halt the entire functioning thereby losing the momentum. These are the signs of unhealthy work environment which impacts innovation, learning, possibility of missing the “Time-to-market” products perhaps was believed to make money for the company or may be failure to deliver “product-market-fit” having right features. Now on the other side, imagine being part of an exuberant environment, favoring innovation , openness to learn and also to operate seamlessly isn't a secret sauce for the perfect hit recipe?
Ideas to build synergy within the realm of business analyst operate.
• Feed that hungry minds!
When one begins with a piece of work (it can be your development team, QA or other stakeholders) there comes loads of doubts and questions where people look for clarity in order to ensure they are on right track. People want somebody to look up to when they are in such situations. Eg. As business analyst you would have come across developers reaching out to you while they make solutions for a requirement. This is one such golden opportunity for business analyst to build synergy. Making them understand the purpose, the reason behind requirement explaining the WHY’s and WHAT’s will help them to take care of HOW’s and WHEN’s during their effort in building the solutions confidently. On a similar note, the recent article from CEB stresses the need to trace requirements to business capabilities which helps different teams like the IT teams, QA teams to understand the business context. So my advice, Be Generous in feeding those hungry minds. The more generous you are two things will happen for sure. One, you set a standard and make them to look and work holistically. Two, the “looking up to” factor will build trust and bond but also make you a reliable person.
It also emphasize that individually all teams are talented but when they work together they are more effective and produce brilliant output by communicating to each others so well.
• Using facilitation to the fullest
Now you have built the trust and established a bond, time to add few other interesting elements like respect and compassion. The right forum is to make use of the meetings, workshops where business analyst facilitates most of the time. Encouraging people to voice their opinions to make them feel important in a team/project they work therefore you get a chance to extract their best ideas, opinions to implement during the project.
Eg: Try asking questions like “how better can we work together?” “What process do you think we need to refine? “ Question like these will work wonders. Do make a note of those gaps/ideas/opinions which can be even documented in leanings of a project but ensure to work around on those items before the next project begins.
• Tap that social network button in you
Humans in general have a strong feeling to be treated well, but also wanted to be heard. Working on your social life will help you to get understand each other and create a feeling of being part of one team tough technically they belong to different team/unit. Next time when you go for lunch or grab a beer with your team do invite few others from other teams. Also, not all time you get to work with same people so if you get to work with a new face from the team that you have already worked meet over coffee with the previous person you had worked along with the new face to understand how you worked in previous projects, how well you complemented each other, the support you gave/received. Doing this not only will make the new member comfortable and work seamlessly as one team but also you get a new connection in your network which comes as a supplement!
• Look out for new ways
Discussing what works best in a common forum on regular basis helps to find ways to build synergy. Yes, forums are like an idea incubator.
If one considers these are more of relationship building ideas my point is do re-think to understand the nuances of what your little actions can do over a long haul. Do not dismiss your little actions when dealing with fancier words like synergy, collaboration assuming reserved it only for big boys. I believe on this strong cliche, all big things starts with a small steps.
In a competitive mad-mad world where there is necessity to lead without title, making use of the opportunity in any given situation favorable to develop and grow in ones career should not be discounted at any cost. As Business analyst gets to work with different units they have the scope to build synergy and have greater chance to prove that whole is greater than sum of its parts!
P.S: Get ready to play Wimbledon!