As Business Analysts, we need to be one of the best communicators on the project team, if not the best communicator on the project team. For this reason, I feel that “FYI” should probably be stricken from a BA’s communication vocabulary. Why? It provides virtually no value to the reader.
Think about an e-mail thread that is delivered to you. Simply clicking the “forward” button and entering “FYI” and then sending it on does little to help communcation. You have put the onus on the reader to figure out why you sent the thread. The recipient then has to navigate through the thread and figure out why the e-mail thread has been received. In this case, you (as the BA) have not provided any value in the communication stream.
Consider an alternate strategy – explain why you are sending the communication to the recipient. Perhaps it’s because you want other people on the project team to be aware of a decision that a stakeholder has made in the thread (and they were not copied on the e-mail). So, say that in your e-mail. State, “I’m forwarding this on to the project team to make you aware of a decision Mr. Stakeholder X has made in his e-mail dated Jul 10, 2011.”
If you are forwarding a communication to your manager, and the only reason is that you want to keep that person informed, state it. “I am forwarding you this e-mail because you stated that you wanted to be aware of every communication with the sales department and I did not see your name on the cc: list”. Done.
And, one final tip. If the recipient needs to take no action, mention that as well. If you think that there may be confusion, be proactive and answer that unanswered question. “I wanted to inform you of the alternate direction that stakeholder X has suggested. You do not need to take any action at this time.”
Do you feel as a BA that you don’t get respect? Well, start earning respect by making sure that every on of your communications contain value. Be clear about your intentions and what you expect people to do when they receive one of your communications – don’t make them guess. Try it – I think that your receivers will be well-pleased.