Prepare thyself - make sure it's not you

Giddy up!

As a business analyst preparing to embark on a new engagement you have gotten yourself ready by:

  • Reading existing documentation such as charters and business cases.
  • Holding informal conversations with individuals knowledgeable of the project.
  • Researching external sources of information for background knowledge.

You have also got your wealth of experience accumulated over your career as a business analyst and beyond. So now you are ready, right?

I think I'm going to lose it!

Over my career as a business analyst, I have seen other business analysts pulling out their hair in exasperation over the lack of progress they are getting or the issues they are having dealing with their clients. I had the exact same thoughts go through my mind many times as well. You think,

  • "They don't get it!"
  • "They won't listen to me!"
  • "I know more about it than them!"
  • "That's got to be one of the dumbest things I've ever heard!"

Prepare thyself - mentally

I suggest some mental preparation for an engagement is also needed. Before you start:

  1. Remind yourself to stay open-minded and non-judgmental.
  2. Be ready to hear and understand, using stoic patience; if needed. There is a difference between listening to someone and hearing them.
  3. Treat this like a negotiation. Endeavor to maintain your composure at all times.
  4. Be willing to accept that your initial ideas may not be correct. Let them go.
  5. Read this poem, Rudyard Kipling's IF, and understand what's being said.

But what if you are already in the meeting and you are starting to lose it mentally?

  1. Remember your objectives.
  2. Remember you should always be building relationships.
  3. Breathe as deeply as you need to (try not to be insulting and do not roll your eyes.)
  4. Take a short break to recompose yourself. "Bio break anyone?"
  5. Cultivate ideas. Review and debate them later.

Make sure, that you are mentally focused and ready for the task at hand. If it was easy, they would not need you.

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