Hear me out! I go to my gym to workout at least 3 times a week. I go at different times each visit so I do not have the pleasure of getting to know the staff that well because of the changing shifts. Each time I go to pick up my membership card when getting ready to leave I give the front desk staff my last name in the following manner, “Kupersmith with a ‘K’.” Kupersmith is pronounced Coopersmith. 9 out of 10 times the person starts looking in the Cs for my card. Or they look in the Ss and say Mr. Smith your card is not here. I then repeat, “it’s Kupersmith , all one word, with a K.” They quickly find my card and I leave. I am supposed to leave refreshed and stress free, right? Well this just gets me fired up. It is obvious what happens. They hear Kupersmith as Coopersmith or Smith and stop listening as I am saying “with a K.” Now this is a simple issue that gets resolved in a matter of seconds, but it is still frustrating.
This got me thinking how frustrating it is for our stakeholders when we as BAs to do not listen. In my gym story the two main reasons I am not being heard is distractions and assumptions. The staff is getting bombarded with phone calls and walk up requests. When they hear my name they are making an assumption of the spelling and stop listening.
As BAs we need to multi-task with the best of them and having business and technical knowledge is needed. But, when you are eliciting requirements focus on the task at hand and listen to the stakeholder. Even with your knowledge of the application, process, business opportunity, etc., let the stakeholder finish their thought before you assume what they mean.
This is not an easy task. We need to constantly improve in this area. Now stop listening to me and get back to work!!!