Maryanne Struggles With Stakeholder Meeting Attendance

Maryanne is faced with a decision and she doesn't like most of her options. She is assigned a project that is very important from a compliance perspective but seems to have little operational value. In fact, some may consider it a threat to operational task velocity and would like to see this project fail. 

The Rain Run a few years ago, this is NOT Mr. Middlebottom in front of me but (well you know).

The Rain Run a few years ago, this is NOT Mr. Middlebottom in front of me but (well you know).

Maryanne is in a tricky position because she has limited freedom in building her requirements package. That limit has a name, in fact it has a first name, last name and she assumes a name that fits in the middle. The name of her constraint is Drew Middlebottom and he is the assigned project manager for this endeavor. 

Mr. Middlebottom not only doesn't understand the value of the business analysis role, he obviously considers it a low level threat. He has stated his viewpoints that the process of building requirements takes up to much time. He lobbies for agile methods but that is a smoke screen. He understands and appreciates agile approaches slightly better than he appreciates a business analyst. He uses this as a shield to do what he wants on projects and finds defined processes an irritant. 

The project manager decided that Maryanne would be allowed three workshops in the next two weeks to gather requirements and complete the requirements package. This is a horrible idea but Maryanne's options are quite limited. It is uncertain if Mr. Middlebottom's constant negative campaigning against business analysis activities to the project schedule was a factor in each meetings low attendance but Maryanne knew she couldn't focus on that distraction. She needed to find a way to build a valuable set of requirements and she would likely need to be creative in her approach. 

Maryanne looked at the list of options she had been struggling to create. She didn’t know which aspect of this endeavor was the most depressing. The fact that the list seems weak or that she had invested almost half a day building it. The list of her options she felt were reasonable included:

1. Escalate the issue to management, require mandatory attendance procedures

2. List low attendance as a high impact and high probability risk in the risk register

3. Assign tasks to people not attending the meetings and see if they actually read the meeting notes

4. Give up on meetings for now, downshift into one-on-one interactions

Only when studying for the IIBA CBAP exam did she come to a decision. It came in the form of the first bullet listed item in in the IIBA BABOK (Business Analysis Body of Knowledge). This section falls into the Interviewing task description and that bullet list is focused upon the stated strengths of interviews. It says specifically, "Encourages participation by and establishes rapport with stakeholders."

Rapport sounds like a tremendous asset to her right now, not only for this project but all the ones she may be assigned downstream. She now had a direction to go in, she just needed to find a way to get around Mr. Middlebottom's constant interference and execute a strategy.

© 2017 Dwayne Wright