Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Calendar icon
Adobe PDF icon

10 Qualities of Successful Business Partners

Are you business partnering or business pandering?

~ By Duncan Haughey

Business partners standing on a train station

Not long ago, I saw a situation where an IT business partner was being run ragged by the business making demands that frankly didn't make much sense. The problem was not the business, but reluctance on the part of the business partner to engage properly with the business and help them formulate a realistic approach in planning for the IT element of their project.

The role of a business partner is to help and guide the business through projects, not to pander to their every need while panicking to get things done in an unreasonable timescale and risking delivery of sub-standard solutions.

All too often, business partners are pandering to the business, putting unreasonable demands on their teams and expecting high quality in less time than is needed; complaining when expectations are not met.

So, what does it take to be a good business partner while still supporting the business effectively?

As a business partner, it is your responsibility to work closely with the business to help them understand the approach that will be taken for their project, the amount of work needed, and the complexity of that work. They do not need to understand every detail, but they do need to appreciate the effort and skills required to complete any given task. Below are the qualities needed for successful business partnering.

Qualities of a Good Business Partner

  1. Good communicator: being able to communicate in a clear and concise way with people at all levels. Good communicators ask for clarification if something is not clear and can put themselves in the other persons' shoes.
  2. Trustworthy: doing what you say you will do, when you say you will do it. Trust is earned over time through a succession of good experiences.
  3. Shared vision and goals: the point at which we share a vision of what the future could be. It answers the question, "what do we want to create?"
  4. Highly motivated and passionate: feeling strongly enough about the project to pursue it with great vigour and energy. Highly motivated and passionate people are driven to work towards the best possible outcome for their projects.
  5. Good problem solver: using both logic and intuition to come up with solutions. Good problem solvers solve the root cause of problems and do not just address the symptoms.
  6. Team player: working well with other people to do what is needed to achieve common goals. Good team players are reliable, participative, and co-operative with other members of their team.
  7. Self-confident: believing in one's powers and judgement in a way that instils confidence in others. To be self-confident is to have a positive yet realistic view of oneself.
  8. Effective delegation: the ability to trust others enough to be a little lazy and let them do the work without too much checking and control.
  9. Strong execution: focusing on the road ahead and the result the customer wants to achieve. It means creating an environment where people can work out how to deliver results.
  10. Business and market awareness: having good knowledge about the business and the markets in which one works. For this, it is necessary to possess the ability to talk confidently about current issues and future trends.

What to Avoid When Business Partnering

  • Accepting 'false' deadlines imposed by the customer
  • Providing snap estimates under pressure in meetings
  • Blindly accepting last-minute scope changes
  • Accepting poorly defined goals and objectives
  • Cutting corners to meet unrealistic deadlines
  • Trying to satisfy every customer need, no matter how ill-advised or frivolous
  • Taking all the credit for success and blaming your team for failures
  • Letting politics get out of hand and take over your projects
  • Becoming defensive if anyone questions your approach
  • Forgetting a touch of humanity in your quest to deliver at all costs

In conclusion, business partnering is not about jumping when the business shouts, but working together collaboratively to achieve the best possible results.


Comments (1)

Topic: 10 Qualities of Successful Business Partners
0/5 (0)
Gravatar
4th August 2014 2:22pm
Kit says...
I love this article! Some really good points made here. I also think Stakeholder identification and planning is key with Business Partnering. Missing out a key user of the project product could be to your peril!

Add a comment



(never displayed)



 
2000
How many letters are in the word four?
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

Tracking a Risk

Dial showing three levels of risk management

Risk management is a vital part of project management. Learn four key steps to help you evaluate and mitigate any risks on your project.

Managing The Project Time

Man pointing at an alarm clock

Project managers should know the iron triangle of project management, sometimes called the triple constraints of project management, because all projects are constrained by these elements.

Break Your PMP Studies Into Small Pieces

A mature student concentrating on her studies

Taking the PMP exam is one of the biggest steps you'll take in your career as a Project Manager. With careful planning you can pass with a minimum of stress.

How Agile Practices Reduce Requirements Risks

Road warning sign - Risks Ahead

Every software project carries some risk, but many of these risks can be mitigated. That's true of problems related to product requirements.

PROJECT SMART is the project management resource that helps managers at all levels improve their performance. We provide an important knowledge base for those involved in managing projects of all kinds. With weekly exclusive updates, we keep you in touch with the latest project management thinking.

WE ARE CONNECTED ~ Follow us on social media to get regular updates and opinion on what's happening in the world of project management.


Latest Comments

Esther commented on…
How 20 Minutes Each Morning Can Transform Your Day as a Manager
- Sun 15 January 5:11pm

Eddie Ignacio commented on…
The Role of the Project Manager
- Tue 10 January 4:24pm

Peter Giger commented on…
A Brief History of Project Management | Project Smart
- Thu 5 January 4:50pm

Latest tweets

General Project Management • Re: Junior PM needs advice - potentially being moved to a project… https://t.co/vJMX8Atrw1 #projectsmart #pmot about 4 days ago

General Project Management • How You Can Contribute to Project Management https://t.co/PVgI0hQHE7 #projectsmart #pmot about 5 days ago

General Project Management • Re: Technical PM https://t.co/haAZFc4GA9 #projectsmart #pmot about 5 days ago