Friday, September 20, 2019

You remember the game of telephone, right? The test of communication skills where one person whispers a message to his neighbor, and that message is translated multiple times from person to person until eventually, the last contestant repeats her interpreted message aloud. The goal is for the final person in the chain to correctly hear the original message, but invariably, there is laughter all around as the message is misconstrued.

When this happens in business however, it’s no laughing matter. When core messages are lost in translation along the command chain or vendor channel, it can manifest in lost revenue, poor morale or costly mistakes. When used as a business training tool, the game of telephone appeals to a myriad of industries and has educational value: the significance of articulation.

There is an army of business process outsourcing (BPO) experts chomping at the bit to provide goods and services to an organization, and their growing pursuit illuminates the relevance of telephone. There is a tendency to interpret information in very individualized ways, but as business analysts (BAs), we don’t want to allow for that. Rather, BAs strive for clear, concise and coherent articulation of requirements because it influences the outcome of solutions. BAs know that “winning” the game of telephone happens when both the client and vendor make a concerted effort to articulate needs and capabilities, then proceed to mash them up and make sense of the output.

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