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IIBA.org Professional Development Knowledge Centre Articles From Power Struggle to Power Balance

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Why does the understanding of the power structure in an organization matter? It matters because the mission of a BA is to deliver the solution as outlined by the requirements. If the power is not understood and properly leveraged, no matter how good an effort a BA puts in to craft the requirements, projects may become unsuccessful.

Most BAs are individual contributors and, intrinsically, have limited power and resources to move projects ahead. In a highly competitive environment, where many projects fight for the same resources, the proper use of leveraged power determines the speed of resolution and, more importantly, stakeholders’ satisfaction.

So where does power come from? It comes from nowhere other than the project owners or the key stakeholders. A fatal mistake that a BA could have is that he or she thinks they are the project owner merely because she or hewrote the requirements. If the BA thinks that, then their power is limited. On the contrary, if the BA knows to whom this problem will matter most, then she or he knows where the source of power is. Sometimes, the owner is the person who reported the problem, while sometimes the owner is the person who consumes the solution.

When there are obstacles and delays in the development and testing effort, BA needs to inform the owners and tap into their influence. It is the owner who has an interest in seeing the project completed. BAs should utilize the owner to put pressure on others in order to achieve a resolution.

If you feel burdened because projects are not moving forward, it might be because you are owning the problem rather than including the owners in the process. The key to pressure reduction is to make the situation transparent so that the affected parties can make the proper decisions.

A BA must succinctly articulate the obstacles at hand and relinquish the next steps to the affected parties. Giving up of power actually invites power from the others to forge ahead and this helps weave the project to a state that is more acceptable or desirable to the owner.. Sometimes, stakeholders make concessions and become more willing to tolerate risk and accept an imperfect solution as a result of their engagement in the various decisions made along the way. After all, a BA is serving people and not the systems or solutions. If a BA knows who they’re serving, get their concerns and needs properly addressed and keep owners in tune with the situations, the project will get to the solution state with better engagement and, more importantly, better emotional health to the BA.