how to implement a project and not be beaten

Short description

Olga Pavlova, a business analyst, discussed conflicts between developers and analysts. Through a survey of 20 current and former colleagues, she found that 45% of the developers believed conflicts stemmed from insufficient analyst competency, while 30% of the respondents blamed development for not meeting requirements. Pavlova recommended that team members switch roles, discuss differences openly, try to understand each other’s perspectives, seek advice, present their views calmly, take breaks, and avoid aggression, criticism, and insults. She stressed that success requires difficult dialogues and everyone needs to develop their emotional intelligence.

how to implement a project and not be beaten

Greeting! My name is Olga Pavlova, I am a business analyst, and today I will talk about conflicts between developers and analysts. I started my journey more than ten years ago, so I have a lot of experience with conflicts with development. In different periods of time, the causes of conflicts were also different: this included my low qualifications, lack of experience at the initial stage, lack of trained soft skills. In general, it was enough.

I also resolved conflicts in different ways: I tried to make friends with everyone, practiced phrases and expressions, showed my strength and cursed, sometimes remained silent. But in general, conflict is a point of growth, it’s great when people can get some useful result out of conflict. Very often it boils down to the fact that people just swear at each other and try to win, this also affects the project a lot – deadlines fly by, the customer doesn’t like anything, everything is constantly stressful.

The SIBUR Digital team is generally distinguished by its friendly atmosphere, but even there a few years ago, conflicts began to arise on one of the projects.

We had two business analysts, two systems and a development team, we quarreled with each other, although individually everyone communicated perfectly. And I asked myself: why is this happening? Later, she decided to conduct a small survey among her colleagues. Asked questions to former and current colleagues, about 20 people participated with a 50/50 ratio of analysts to developers. There were no answer options, because it was important for me to get expanded answers in order to analyze them further.

The first question was: “Why is there a conflict with development/analytics?”.

45% said that it was the analyst’s fault because he did not have sufficient competencies. All respondents who voted for this option were developers. That is, they do not assume that the reason can be in them or in general some other.

30% said that the development was to blame, they write everything not according to the requirements, it was the analysts.

And only 25% assumed that processes, deadlines and some other objective reasons could be to blame.

Next question: “What do you think is the secret of normal team relations?”.

50% answered that it is within the competence of the team. I was in teams where incredibly smart people worked, they did everything cool, but every time we worked like in a minefield.

25% voted for the need to take another person’s opinion.

The remaining 25% are other answers from the category “you need to manipulate, you need to bribe with various goodies, sometimes you plan.”

The third question: “Do personal relationships affect teamwork?”.

80% believe that they influence both positively and negatively. 10% believe that they do not influence, the remaining 10% believe that they interfere in any case.

I also belong to this 80%, as I already said, I tried to make friends with everyone, with this approach all issues are solved much easier.

Last question: “How to resolve the conflict?”.

60% believe that it is necessary to talk openly and resolve all issues, 30% believe that it is necessary to go to RP, development/analytics lead, i.e. escalate. 10% believe that it is necessary to show understanding, understand and forgive.

Based on the responses of developers and analysts and my experience with conflicts, I decided to highlight a few points that may help you as well.

  • Try to switch roles in the team for a while. It is unlikely that a business analyst will be able to become a developer for a few days, but a developer can be an analyst for a few days and communicate with the customer, write documents, answer calls and letters, and participate in meetings. It is especially useful when the customer is “complex”. Even when the developer sometimes takes part in the meeting with the customer, it also brings him closer to the analyst, because it is easier for them to understand each other.

  • Discuss differences openly and collaboratively. This is helped by dailies, retros, planning and agreements about who and when fulfills obligations and who controls them. It should become a good habit to record all these arrangements so that you don’t forget about it.

  • Try to understand the logic of another person, suddenly you will learn something new. To do this, you need to stop criticizing him, it is also important to remember that when we try to accept the opinion of another person, this does not mean agreeing with him.

  • To be able to recognize the fallacy of one’s positionAll positive changes begin with this.

  • Ask for advice from more competent peoplemore experienced or generally people from another area, because there is no shame in not knowing something.

  • Present your point of view calmly and rationally. Then you can avoid the opponent’s fight-and-run reaction.

  • Take a break. This is a cool tool, if time allows, then for a few hours or days, if not, then at least at the moment when you want to explode with anger, take 10 seconds of silence.

  • Look at yourself and the situation with humor – This is the main component of emotional intelligence.

  • Meet and discuss claims to each other instead of emailing, or at least turn on the camera if we’re online.

It is absolutely not worth insulting, slamming doors, speaking in the third person in the presence of a person. I witnessed such actions, they do not benefit anyone.

Conclusions

  • We all need other people — no project can be realized without another person who knows what we don’t.

  • Disagreement is not a threat, but a new way to learn something.

  • Mistakes are a natural part of development. It is necessary to accept this fact, because sometimes people get fixated on a negative result and do not think that a good lesson can be learned from it.

  • Everyone has an inner strength that allows them to change the emotional environment in the team. The ability to thank colleagues is a very cool skill. In one of the projects, we were helped by retros, at which we met after a two-week sprint. One of the tasks was to write on the board which three people from the team you are grateful for and for what. This is a very cool exercise, a lot of positive things immediately appear here.

  • Aggression, criticism and insults do not lead to the desired result. The more aggressive you are, the less accommodating a person is to you.

  • The success of the project is the ability of all team members to conduct difficult dialogues.

  • The opponent’s behavior does not justify yours.

  • People tend to blame each other, but not the system, and sometimes it is enough to change the process, talk about deadlines, about plans for sprints, and tension and stress will go away.

  • You need to develop your emotional intelligence.

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