The goal with Collaboration should always be to gain more insights and to refine existing insights.Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) are golden. But their time is even more golden and that is something that needs to be respected.
Each time we collaborate with our Subject Matter Experts, as Business Analysts, we need to keep the session focused on a small set of stories.
Collaboration is great but it can be better when collaboration goals and topics are framed properly. For example, if you are collaborating with your Subject Matter Expert in person, bring your tool kit:
- Sharpies of different colors
- Whiteboard Markers
- Fidget toys
- Stickies/ Postits
- Index Cards
- Masking Tape
- Flip Charts
Also help the SMEs visualize the decisions they need to make by having a small set of slides that you can project on the wall and manipulate as the collaboration gets going. Let the SMEs know ahead of time what information you are looking for them to bring to the collaboration sessions. During the collaboration sessions, ensure alignment among all SMEs at each step in the collaborations even if that means not moving forward until everyone is on same page.
Collaboration in an Agile way is all about conversation over process, but if you apply a light structure and scope to your collaboration sessions, you will maximize productivity and ensure collaborations are productive.
A stressed out SME results in missed insights. Look for ways to reduce stress and show empathy. Ensure that your collaboration sessions are not the reason for the stress the SME is experiencing.