Tips for Business Analysts: Attracting Highly Skilled People to Your Team

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I was recently helping a friend staff a fairly large project with a team of very experienced, very skilled people. I mentioned that people were really excited about the opportunity. He asked me “Why are they excited? What is it about this project that makes people want to work on it?”

That led us to a discussion about teams of highly skilled people and what motivates them to want to work on a project.

I believe several factors come into account. Very skilled people like to work on projects with:

Other very skilled people

Confidence in the success of the project

An atmosphere of mutual respect

A long enough duration to build relationships

Very skilled people like to work with other very skilled people. You might think, “It must be aweful having all those big egos together.” In fact, I have found the opposite. I have found that when someone is truly very good at what they do, they are very easy to work with. It is the people who are not really all that skilled, who are afraid someone will find out they are not all that skilled, who exhibit the “ego problems” on a project.

This does not mean everyone on the team has to be very skilled, but it does mean that several people should be at the same high skill level. Very skilled people love sharing ideas with other very skilled people. They are typically patient with someone who is really trying to learn. Very skilled people have very little patience with people who claim to be experts, but who are really not that good, and who refuse to listen to anyone else.

Another thing that attracts very skilled people is confidence in the management team. Everyone likes to be on a successful project. Very skilled people are no different. If they believe that the management team has the skills to be successful, and that the project has support from upper management, then they will be very interested in the project.

Long project duration can be appealing, especially for contractors. It is very interesting to work on the whole project rather than just a few weeks at the beginning. You get to find out “how the story ends”. Also, a long project gives an opportunity to build relationships, especially with the other very skilled people on the team.

An atmosphere of mutual respect is critical. When the project team all respect each other and the stakeholders, magic can happen. A cohesive team will outperform other teams every time. An atmophere of mutual respect is vital to creating a cohesive team.

Will there be disagreements? Of course! And those disagreements will sometimes be loud, simply because you have a number of people with very strong opinions. But if everyone has respect for each other, those disagreements will be worked out without animosity and to everyone’s satisfaction.

Where have I seen these kinds of teams in practice?In musical theater with actors, on software projects with developers and with business analysts, in startup companies of various kinds, and on various kinds of team projects at universities. The basic appeal is common in all these situations. Very skilled people like to work on projects with:

Other very skilled people

Confidence in the success of the project

An atmosphere of mutual respect

A long enough duration to build relationships

Author: Geri Schneider Winters

* Article used with permission from Wyyzzk, Inc.’s Resources for Business Analysts site at http://www.writingusecases.com This website of reports and tips contains information to help you succeed as a Business Analyst in IT.

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