Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Does Your Team Collaborate?

Collaboration is defined as, the action of working with someone to produce or create something.  Any successful project team requires collaboration.  This is collaboration between the Project Manager, Business Analysis, the entire team and upper management to build a strong bridge to success.  Today we will focus on the Best Practice in PM/BA Collaboration educational track.

A Project Manager defined by the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK fourth edition) is, the person assigned by the performing organization to achieve the project objective. According to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK version 2.0),  business analysis is the practice of enabling change in an organizational context by defining needs and recommending solutions, which deliver value to stakeholders. A Business Analyst should use their experience and their best judgment to determine which techniques are best for the project or situation.

Not that long ago, both of these jobs would be performed by either the Project Manager, working as both a Project Manager and Business Analyst or Business Analyst working also as a Project Manager.  However, with the better understood and growing popularity of the individual body of knowledge of Project Management and Business Analysts and the growing complexity of projects, both of these areas are becoming more specialized. 

At the PW&WCBA, there is an educational track to address both of these disciplines and the importance of collaboration.  Beginning after lunch on day two, the first session begins with a presentation from Ellen Gottesdiener, Principal Consultant and Founder or EBG Consulting, Inc.  Ellen is presenting, It’s the Goal, Not the Role: Work of Project Management and Business Analysis in Agile.  This presentation will help answer the following questions; How are the Project Manager and Business Analyst roles defined on Agile projects.  How do these roles align with Scrum, lean and other agile methods?  What are the skills? The great thing about this presentation is, you do not have to be currently working on Agile projects to learn from this session.

The next session is titled, Let’s Collaborate Not Tolerate:  How to Build a Successful BA/PM Partnership, given by Paula A. Bell, CEO of Paula A. Bell Consulting, LLC.  This presentation will provide best practices, as well as tip and tricks on creating a collaborative environment between the Business Analyst, Project Manager and team.  This presentation will include building relationships, fostering a collaborative environment and maintaining a positive partnership.  A collaborative team is a more efficient and successful team.

The final session on day two in this track is, Soft Skills for Effective Collaboration, presented by Maureen McWhite a Business Applications Analyst with FedEx.  Soft skills are defined as, personal attributes which enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.  This is interpersonal relationships, or how well do you get along with others.  Soft Skills is something, which is difficult to teach.  This presentation will provide tools and techniques to help the Project Manager, Business Analyst and the team to develop their soft skills.  The focus of this presentation will include how to avoid communication pitfalls, learning how to push back with logic and how to build and improve relationships.  Key to soft skills success is communication and collaboration.

Beginning the third and final day, Day three:  Project Spotlight Framework of Architecture, Integration and Security:  OUC Brings a Layer of Design Authority in its Projects.  Hedi Ago, is a Manager, of Major Project Delivery and Governance for the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC).  Hedi is also the President of the PMI Central Florida Chapter and well versed in project complexities.  Some of projects biggest challenges are the verticals, infrastructure, integration and security.  This presentation is how this company has created a space outside of the PMO called, Project Design Authority.  This space is designed to concentrate on the verticals and help with the complexities of projects.  Again, the key is collaboration.

Continuing on day three, you will learn the Keys to Successful Communication in a Global Project Environment.  This is presented by Abby Hodge, PMP, MPM, Director of Project Management Office, at Stage Stores, Inc.  If you work in a global or virtual environment this presentation is a definite must see.  Learn how to improve communication with intention and authenticity.  Setting level expectations, improve decision making on project issues and risks, stakeholder management, how to make a virtual team feel more personalized and deciding when face-to-face communication should be used over all other forms of communication.

The final session in this track on day three is, Mind Mapping Techniques to Improve project Brainstorming, Collaboration and Planning.  This is presented by Jim Franklin, P.E., PMP, Project Manager of CB&I.  A mind map is defined as a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea.  By using mind mapping teams are able to create the project planning documents more quickly.    In this presentation, you will learn the best practices using mind mapping or mind mapping software to brainstorm, collaborate and create project plans.  Any tool, which can help create team work and speed up the creation of documents, is a definite plus!

These sessions will help a Project Manager better understand the role and challenges of a Business Analyst, as well as help a Business Analyst to better understand the challenges and needs of a Project Manager.  If you want less stress on your projects, I believe collaboration is necessary with every team member and every aspect of a project. These skills can be learned and improved by attending the 2013 Project World & World Congress for Business Analysts .  Be sure and register today at and bring your team!

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