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Which seat is mine?

I've been working with a company now for a little over a year as a contract business analyst and I think it's fair to say that they are still evolving their understanding over how to effectively utilise BA's like myself. So far, i've been fairly successful in deploying methodologies, BA tools and techniques, but i've been perplexed over opposing views about where i should physically sit when it the office - with the IT team, or, 'the business' team.

Personally, I feel that building relationships with the end-customer is vital in a BA role, and with this in mind, I have worked hard at spending the balance of time with 'the business' and this has delivered great results in the projects I have worked on. This is somewhat of a rarity between the IT and 'the business' in this organisation due to the typical 'them' and 'us' approach which stifles progress. 

My concern is now that i feel under pressure to spend more time with the IT folks, which i really can't understand the drivers for. I had one comment about being "too business orientated" but there is absolutely no basis for this - I suspect this stems form a touch of ignorance from IT that they are always right and are not interested in the business view of things (plus, have no regard for the very role the BA is trying to perform.

Am i missing something here? I'm kinda stuck between sticking to my guns - which is a proven approach and builds a bridge between the two functions, or, relenting - spending more time with IT and potentially jeapordising the delivery of the project. Ironically, the person that signs my invoice is the individual applying pressure.

Any views welcome!

This entry was published on May 16, 2011 / KMUK. Posted in Roles and Responsibilities. Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
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Dr David Fletcher posted on Friday, May 20, 2011 4:27 AM
Stick to your guns. What you are delivering is a logical precision that the business is often incapable of delivering for itself. You are not just a facilitator of comfortable meetings, in fact you should be making them more uncomfortable by demanding that people explain exactly what they mean. The IT guys will start appreciating you when you can answer questions like: 'What the **** is a [business thing]' with a precise definition, enumeration of values, life cycle, list of synonyms, and list of systems which recognise and implement this idea. They don't normally get that from business users.

Think of yourself as a kind of practical philosopher - like Socrates - who thinks through the implications of assumptions that the business does not have the time to question. But remember what happened to Socrates.
Dr David Fletcher
posted on Friday, May 20, 2011 8:12 AM
I agree - stick to your guns.
If you are getting pressure from the person with the signature, perhaps she is getting pressure from others. Can you perhaps identify champions within "the business" who could motivate (probably informally) for you staying where you are?
KMUK posted on Monday, May 23, 2011 3:59 AM
Sound advice, thank you.
I've stood firm so far and have made subtle justifications for my actions.
One other interesting development is that i've since learned that the person with the signature is being drowned in comments by a (poor) PM that i worked with for a period. Apparently, this individual is incredibly vocal in the 'IT' office and has essentially spent the past few months blaming their own shortcomings onto me - a classic example of the 'weasel'.

My thoughts are now turning to how to deal with this individual - i'm sure we all agree that acting professionally is the right way to go, and i never rose to the bait whilst we working together, however, clearly something needs to happen....
Dr David Fletcher posted on Monday, May 23, 2011 4:38 AM
Stick to the facts and keep your temper. Keep your language precise and make a point of actively listening to the IT guys to create as much of a contrast between your style and that of the person in question as possible.

It might not work, but even if it doesn't you'll feel better about yourself afterwards.
Dr David Fletcher
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