Communication is one of the required underlying competencies of Business Analysts. Factors of time, distance and costs are, however, not always on our side. Fortunately, there are many tools that can help both the aspiring and experienced business analyst in their quest to maintain constant communication with stakeholders. Browse through a selection of free communication tools that can help lighten the weight.
Social Networking Tools
The culture of microblogging has become widespread since the advent of Twitter and Facebook. Businesses must understand and accept the power of social communities in order to remain relevant. Who says requirements gathering and communications should be restricted to formal settings?
Business Analysts can find out what stakeholders really want by driving engaging discussions on private social networks, building collaboration, asking for suggestions and getting real-time responses that can later be validated in a formal setting.
Platforms like Yammer, Clearvale and Ning (only free for a trial period) can be used to build powerful social communities around system users and other stakeholders. Such communities can form the basis of effective change management and drive user adoption.
VOIP, Video Chat And Internet Messaging Tools
Perhaps you’re in India and need to engage with a stakeholder in the U.S without the delay involved in sending emails back and forth. There are many tools online with capabilities for internet phone calls, video chats and instant messages. The most popular are Skype, Google Hangouts, Google Voice and Google Talk. Looking for alternatives to these? Explore Jitsi, Voxox, Goober, Ekiga, Oovoo, Nimbuzz, Reflap & ICQ.
Video Conferencing Tools
As a BA, you may find that some of your clients are in an entirely different geographical location. During the course of your project, it might become necessary to hold meetings with them. Thanks to web/video conferencing tools, the need for face-to-face meetings can be minimized or eliminated altogether. You can review documents with stakeholders online, deliver presentations and exchange ideas using virtual whiteboards. Some of the providers of free video conferencing tools available online are: Vyew, Mikogo, Tokbox, Any Meeting, Onwebinar, Web Huddle and lots more.
While these tools are useful in many circumstances, your choice should always be guided by organizational culture, accessibility, stakeholder preferences and project peculiarities.
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