Here’s the best tips and advice from industry experts in over 200 episodes. Now take action!
As long-time listeners know, I ask guests for one action that we can take to start seeing some positive results. In this episode, I have gathered the best advice from over 200 episodes (199 full length episodes and 39 lightning casts).
THEME: Build the Right Thing
Episode 025: Advice from Gojko Adzic
Whenever you receive a requirement that is actually a solution, inquire about the behavior change that the solution is going to create. If we have a behavior change that allows us to monitor progress in a meaningful way, we will get more rapid feedback. Additionally, this helps guard against scope creep and makes sure we are aligning to organizational goals.
Episode 071: Advice from Jonathan Babcock
When we create something, be it a document or a visual, think of who is going to use it as our customer. Focus on their needs and afterwards, get their feedback on how you could have done better or how you could have helped them to be more successful. This kind of mindset builds trust and allows you to reach higher levels of performance.
Episode 091: Advice from Elizabeth Larson
When you’re provided with a solution to implement, practice asking the right kind of questions to better understand the intent of the solution and the current environment. Take the time to gather the facts and statistics about the current state so that you’ll be better prepared for conversations and make appropriate recommendations. Finally, don’t ask leading questions. Leading questions limit conversations and present a solution. Eliminate the phrase ‘have you thought about’. That phrase breaks trust.
Episode 185: Advice from James Robertson
Challenge the next solution you’re presented with to make sure you’re solving the right problem. Also, try to generate solutions to address the real business problem.
THEME: Use a Hypothesis
Episode 042: Advice from Jim Benson
Take a few User Stories (especially those that the team is doubtful about) and rewrite them as hypotheses. Treat it like a guess that you can prove or disprove and learn something.
Episode 081: Advice from David Hussman
When you decide to take on a user story or requirement, understand how you’ll measure the impact, not just how you’ll get it done. Stories need to include analytics. That helps you build less of the wrong thing by measuring the impact.
Episode 130: Advice from Jerry Weinberg
Start talking requirements seriously. Explore options and impacts to understand your requirements. Finally, iterate on your requirements. You can’t know everything upfront.
Episode 133: Advice from Kent McDonald
In your current role, look for ways to do your work iteratively and incrementally. Ideally, get feedback after ever iteration and use that feedback to adjust not only the product, but also your approach.
THEME: Talk To Customers
Episode 016: Advice from Jeff Patton
Go to where your users are and talk to them. Also, stop writing stories and start telling stories. Have conversations . . . get to the whiteboard and start drawing pictures.
Episode 076: Advice from Roman Pichler
The single most important action you can take to make sure your requirements, backlog, and roadmap are aligned to user needs is to talk with your customers. Talking with customers gives you insights into what your customer needs are, how they use your product, and features that they don’t use. Use these insights to adapt your roadmap and requirements.
THEME: Build Relationship and Trust
Episode 080: Advice from Fay Thompson
Learn to say “I don’t know enough yet”. While we want to move projects forward quickly, get comfortable with the need to go back and investigate more to ensure you have a solid understanding of the problem you’re solving and the intended value. Also, adopt a servant leadership mindset and put the team’s and organization’s needs first.
Episode 019: Advice from Steve Shedletsky
Trust is the human currency. It takes time to build and an instant to break. We develop trust when we feel that someone else has our best interest in mind – that they are there to serve us instead of their own self-service. So what can we do to increase trust?
Show up to serve. If you want to feel more engaged in the projects that you’re working on, figure out how you can help the people around you feel more engaged. In turn, you will feel more engaged. Above all, don’t forget to show up to commit and serve others.
Episode 079: Advice from Paula Bell
Start building relationships. Whether it’s a coffee break, lunch, or a walk around the building with someone, take time to learn about the people on your team. Building relationships creates a better understanding and increases collaboration.
Episode 037: Advice from Jim Tamm
Focus on better understanding your own defensiveness. Identify your own signs of defensiveness and start looking out for those signs. By creating this awareness, you can take action to shift back to the green zone and improve collaboration.
Episode 139: Advice from Adrian Reed
We need to work to left shift and get involved earlier in projects. When a BA is involved early in projects, we not only smooth the way forward for the project, we may discover that there’s not even a viable project at all and we can focus our effort elsewhere.
HONORABLE MENTION: The advice below was not included in this episode
Episode 030 – Linda Rising
Remember that none of us make rational decisions. There are many biases that we carry around with us that get in the way of making rational decisions. Call up the fact that we have biases and combat those biases by slowing things down by counting from 10 to one. If in a meeting that requires a critical, contentious decision, consider taking a break to slow things down.
Episode 087 – Kupe Kupersmith
Think of your company’s initiatives as a set of decisions to be made and facilitate that decision making. Decisions are: What problem should we go after? What are some solution options? What features should we start with? What should we prioritize? Who needs to be involved? This helps you get to the point of just enough analysis. That’s because facilitating decision making helps is understand what work needs to be done (and what shouldn’t be done) and helps you get decisions quickly and move on.
Episode 098 – David Mantica
Know yourself: Reflect to better understand your strengths and weaknesses and your hot buttons to develop better self-awareness. Accept Others: Work on getting comfortable with who people are and their strengths/weaknesses. Be open to new ideas and opinions. Offer solutions: Think through problems and offer solutions without the need for your solution to be accepted. These three actions will help you become a trusted advisor and influence positive change.
Episode 153 – Elizabeth Larson
To be a Trusted Advisor, you need to be knowledgeable about industry trends. Invest some time reading and learning about these trends so that you stay informed and can use the information to advise your organization.
Episode 156 – Doug Goldberg
Start looking within your organization and in professional organizations for people with the skills and experience that can help you grow. Once you find someone in your network, ask for mentoring support from that person. To prepare for your personal development or mentoring and to focus your conversations, perform a personal SWOT analysis on yourself.
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