Someone else's shoes

Continuing from my last post, spending a day in another person's shoes will give you an appreciation and understanding of their point of view.
Try this simple exercise - Drop any preconceptions or notions you may have and pretend you are in the position of one of your clients or end-users. Do a little role-playing to increase your empathy.

  • What would you want or need to be successful?
  • Why would you want it? What would you do with it? What's the value?
  • When would you need it?
By no means do I suggest you use this technique to gather requirements for a client, however, it will help you look at things differently and with a more open mind.

Change your perspective

Perspective influences how you view the world. It allows you to see things in a different light than another person, but it can also keep you from understanding their point of view. When you are gathering requirements from a client, having empathy enhances your ability to understand their needs.

Benefits of being able to view things differently:

  1. Allows you to be open-minded, receptive and patient.

  2. You learn to think like your client. In some of my engagements, I found my clients could not articulate exactly what they wanted. I needed to perform a lot of facilitation to help gather and define requirements. Being able to think like them allowed me to probe more effectively and determine the underlying objectives.

  3. Because you understand your client's point of view, you can anticipate their next question. This is an excellent value-add to your ability to provide service.

Changing perspective isn't a foreign concept. If you have ever created user stories, you have in essence used an approach that incorporates the different perspectives of the people involved. User stories are easy for the different parties to understand -- clear communication is always the goal.

Make understanding your client's perspective a part of every engagement.

Webinar: Getting the Right People on the Right Projects

Getting the Right People on the Right Projects (Wednesday April 18, 2007 @ 2:00PM EST)

Completing projects isn't enough anymore. The real challenge is building applications that are on target, on deadline, and on budget, to save your company money and provide a competitive edge. Therefore, ensuring you've got the right people on the right projects at the right time is more important than ever. That means effective project management.

Slew of webinars and resources

Managing your requirements is only half the battle. For management to be truly effective, taking the first step of defining complete, accurate requirements is absolutely critical. In this webcast, Forrester Senior Analyst Carey Schwaber will explain how you can build agreement around requirements right from the start, so there are no uncertainties down the road.

Many CIOs are struggling in their quest of aligning IT with the corporate business strategies, objectives, metrics and culture. CIOs need to become more involved in the development of strategic initiatives and build an understanding of the corporate and line of business missions and goals if they seek to align IT with the corporate directions. Moreover, CIOs need to interpret that knowledge into a flexible IT strategy if the alignment is to succeed long-term.

As business intelligence (BI) evolves, new trends emerge. But whichimportant BI trends should you pay attention to? And how should yourorganization incorporate this information into BI strategies?