Teaching is closely related to communicating with your project stakeholders. As a project manager or business analyst, you may find yourself operating in a teaching mode as you communicate project issues and requirements to your stakeholders, making sure that they are understood and agreed upon. Many times, you will find yourself facilitating the learning experiences of your project stakeholders: teaching them about the new system capabilities, describing a new solution, or leading a meeting to determine what a set of requirements for your project might be.
Effective teachers are aware of the different learning styles found in their students, and alter their teaching approach to accommodate those preferences. There is also a feedback loop in teaching, very much like the sender-receiver model of effective communications. It isn’t enough to deliver your information to the stakeholders, such as teaching them about a new graphical modeling technique. You must make sure to confirm your stakeholders have learned what was needed and can apply what they have learned.
There are three types of learners that you typically encounter as a teacher. They include visual learners, who learn best by seeing something done. Next up are the auditory learners who learn best by hearing or reading things. Kinesthetic (tactile) learners are those who learn best by doing something for themselves. Your modes of communication and your training materials can be designed to facilitate learning for all three types of learners.
Applying your communication and teaching skills is not just when you are talking to people or training them on a new solution. There is a strong written component in there as well. We will look at that aspect of managing a project in a subsequent post.
Business analysts are increasingly becoming the critical liaisons between business and solution development (oftentimes IT), so they must communicate and relate with equal effectiveness throughout all levels of an organization. To learn more, download this free white paper, Successful Business Analysts: How They Avoid the Five Most Common BA Mistakes.