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How to Support Your Remote Business Analysis Team

 
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Remote work has been a hot topic in 2020. Due to COVID-19, huge numbers of employees are now working from home. Even after lockdown orders eased, many workers continued conducting business from home. This is because remote work improves productivity, eliminates the need for employees to commute to work, boosts staff retention, gives employees more autonomy, and promotes cost savings for organizations.1

 

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While there are benefits to remote work, there are also drawbacks. For example, employees who work remotely may feel disconnected from their employer and coworkers. Also, remote work can result in decreased employee visibility, poorer work-life balance, and increased distractions for employees.2

The work-from-home trend isn’t going away anytime soon. Your company may choose to keep remote employees working from home long-term, even after COVID-19 is well-controlled. You can improve any remote work environment, including that of your Business Analysis team, with just a few tips.


Help your remote Business Analysis team remain connected

Many Business Analysis teams are essential to organizational progress. It can be a challenge when Business Analysis teams go remote as there are new challenges to remaining impactful. Not every company will have to deal with this obstacle, but some will. The good news is that “...if the necessary technology is in place, a talented remote team can deliver just as much value as co-located teams,” stated McKinsey and Company.3 “Virtual whiteboards, instant chat, and videoconferencing tools can be a boon to collaborative exercises and usually promote participation.” McKinsey also suggested Agile and Business Analysis teams lay new ground rules for communication to ensure everyone’s voice is heard given the lack of in-person communication cues.


Best practices for remote Business Analysis teams in the age of COVID-19

Utilizing necessary technology and laying new ground rules for communication is just the beginning of maximizing the effectiveness of remote Business Analysis teams. A couple of additional best practices for these teams, suggested by Issac Sacolick, contributing editor for InfoWorld,4 include:

  1. Be present for your teammates -- When working remotely, it can be all too easy to check out and disengage from others. Business Analysis teams must be sure to avoid this habit since it is critical that they maintain a team culture of collaboration. Team members can make themselves more available to their coworkers by using tools such as Microsoft Teams. Also, “… teams must schedule time for formal collaboration sessions and to do the work to complete user stories... team members should also engage in small talk,” Sacolick explained.

  2. Commit to realistic assignments -- One way Business Analysis teams can successfully navigate the work-related challenges COVID-19 has thrown at them is by committing to realistic team and individual assignments. This will ensure they meet their goals and maintain momentum. For example, Sacolick encouraged remote Business Analysis teams to avoid committing to complex user stories that call for contributions from a variety of team members. “If possible, these stories should be broken down into smaller ones or delayed if the product owner is able to de-prioritize them,” he wrote.

Has your company’s Business Analysis team gone remote as a result of COVID-19? Which best practices are keeping the team’s performance and morale humming?


Learn more about the tools and resources that IIBA provides that can help maintain productive teams remotely or in the office at IIBA.org.

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References:
  1. https://www.zippia.com/employer/8-benefits-allowing-employees-work-remotely/.
  2. https://www.mseap.com/disadvantages-remote-work/.
  3. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/revisiting-agile-teams-after-an-abrupt-shift-to-remote
  4. https://www.infoworld.com/article/3532286/7-best-practices-for-remote-Business Analysis-teams.html