How do Business Analysts handle difficult clients ?

As a Business Analyst, a good portion of your time would be spent liaising with the stakeholders.

Tasks such as eliciting, documenting, validating and verifying requirements all involve stakeholder interactions.

And you may be lucky and have the opportunity to work with helpful, courteous and forthcoming people, but there is usually one very important and influential stakeholder that could be quite difficult to work with.

So how do you handle such stakeholders ?

Well, first of all as a Business Analyst you have to be customer focused and flexible.

You would have to wear many hats such as customer service, support analyst, project manager, product owner, tester and scrum master.

You have to be whoever you need to be to get the job done.

So you cannot sideline that stakeholder because they are so important to the success of the project.

You cannot escalate to their boss because once you lose their trust they would only become more determined to make your life difficult.

You cannot give in to them because then they would assume that you are a pushover.

So what can you do ?

This is where the leadership and influencing skills in business analysis comes into play.

Applying these skills means that you have to be able to influence people to change their point of view.

This involves understanding the stakeholder’s motivation.

People tend to become cooperative when they have a vested interest in the success of the initiative / project. Basically they want to understand what is in it for them.

What do they have to gain from the project’s success.

How would this project make their lives easier ?

How would it make their pain point go away ?

The only way to make them link the success of the project to their improve job satisfaction is to understand the stakeholder’s needs.

By identifying their pain points you can include it in the requirements and make them realize that this initiative/project is not meant to replace them but it is meant to make their lives easier.

You have to make them change agents and project champions

While it might not be easy to do this, over time you would learn to recognize a potentially critic and change their mentality before they become antagonistic and start influencing the other stakeholders.