The first thing to do is to separate your roles as much as possible. This can be done physically. For example, put your business analyst materials and files and folders on one side of the desk and the project manager materials and files on the other. Under your project directory separate the emails and other documents into a “business analyst” folder and a “project manager” folder. In other words, do what you need to do to separate the two roles so that you will be able to focus only on one role at a time.
Then you want to make sure all communications are with the appropriate role.
When you start a meeting make sure everyone understands who is moderating the meeting, the business analyst or the project manager. Do not assume that because you have convened a “requirements session” that the participants will understand that you are a business analyst. Make it clear at the risk of sounding redundant. Reminding the participants what your role is will help them focus on you in that role and the meeting will be more productive.
Also when talking one on one, make sure that the person clarifies which role you are expected to be in that conversation. Do not assume, or try to deduce it from the conversation. Ask. You will be surprised if not amazed to find a project manager conversation was really aimed at the business analyst. If you are successfully separating your roles, those conversations will be different, even when the topic is the same.
When you are making pronouncements or tendering opinions, it helps to state where the pronouncement or opinion is coming from. “From the project manager’s perspective, I think…”. This way there is no misunderstanding. Remember that what you say as project manager has the specter of authority behind it while the statements of the business analyst may be accepted as opinion only.
In the next blog we will talk about focus and how that helps the slash to handle both sides.