Time to read: About 5 minutes
Intended for: Business Analysts, Knowledge Workers
Key takeaway: In this post I will highlight six key aspects of how to improve and sustain productivity.

In March 2020, the World Health Organization announced that we were officially in a global pandemic. In order to help control the spread of Covid-19, business organizations were left with no other option than to switch to online working. In fact, a global study conducted by Gartner states, 88% of companies encouraged or mandated that their employees work from home after this announcement.

Given this physical separation, Business Analysts have made a pivot in their relationship building and requirement elicitation strategies to keep projects moving forward. The following tips are suggestions by experienced BAs as a way to address the current challenges of enterprise-level projects.

#1 Set Expectations Early

The sooner each team member and stakeholder is aware of timelines and what they are accountable for, the better. This will encourage participation and reduce confusion. Make sure this information is reviewed regularly in meetings and posted in an easy-to-find place.

#2 Be Prepared

When sending out a meeting invitation, be sure to include the meeting purpose and a detailed agenda. Sending attendees this information in advance will allow them to come ready to ask or answer questions pertaining to their areas of expertise.

#3 Virtual Requirements Elicitation

During requirement gatherings sessions, it is good to prepare presentations, workflow diagrams and mind maps to generate conversations and validate requirements. Additionally, any documentation that can be referred to in a shared work space allows the partnership to continue outside of meeting times. This strategy is yet another way to collaborate and is especially helpful when the usual informal interactions aren’t possible.

#4 Sustain Stakeholder Engagement

Schedule regular 1:1 check-ins with the project stakeholders through videoconferencing. These virtual calls assist in building a stronger relationship with the project’s sponsors. Using video for meetings helps to make the personal connection and encourages people stay present and focused. Here you can discuss any project issues or successes.

#5 Explore All the Tools

The following software tools were available before the pandemic but recently, they have become invaluable in maintaining team productivity. Project management tools help with planning and organizing your teams work. Messenger tools allow teams to overcome obstacles with real time communication. Tools that provide cloud storage gives everyone access to the most recent version of any documentation. Lastly, the right videoconference tool offers teams the opportunity to make genuine eye contact and simulates that “face-to-face” feeling of being together.

#6 Don’t Forget the Fun

Video conferencing is great for meetings but it can also be used for fun. Pull your team together for group games or happy hours. This has become our new normal for maintaining the bond that strengthens working relationships. Teams also stay socially connected by utilizing a virtual water cooler channel for non-work chat.

The tips above can help your team weather the storm and master new skills until we can get back into the office. Most importantly, make sure there is efficient and continuous communication as well as a place for centralized information/documentation. The result will be a team that feels connected, supported and empowered which are key factors in projects success.