BRM is about creating an experience for your Business Partners
The BRM needs above all to have what are generically called soft skills and what these really are the skills to get in relationship with the business partner and to create trust between the business partner and the BRM. That trust of course depends on a history of delivery, on being able to deliver and then actually executing on that delivery, it means that the BRM is trusted by the business to get things done so that is sort of fundamental.
Table stakes for this is that you have to have a history and a reputation for delivery because without that nothing else happens but provided that that exists then the BRM is still not successful because what they have to be is capable of empathising with the business partner not simply as a title or as a role in an organisational chart but as a human being.
They have to be able to relate to that partner so that when the partner gets asked for a meeting the answer will be yes, I will be happy to meet with John or Mary because I always enjoy those meetings. If however their reaction is oh I don’t want to meet with John or Mary because that is like going to the dentist and I only do it when I have to – that is a very different reaction and what we understand about BRM is that the role is about creating experience in the head of the partner.
The role is performing on stage, the BRM is about performance it is about putting on an experience for the customer or for the business partner in this case and so the BRM has to be able to do that. If all they can do is talk about technology and systems and ask dumb questions like 'what are your requirements?' then they are never going to be in a relationship, they will always be seen as a vendor, as a lower form of life and so the skills are these relationship skills and there is a whole bunch of individual things that you have to do around behaviour, around note taking and meetings, how do you handle interviews for instance, how do you avoid interviewing across a desk, how do you establish yourself as a partner in the relationship instead of a vendor and there is a lot of destructive behaviours that IT people have that make it very difficult for them to show up as partners so our training course is all about these soft skills.
How do I learn to show up as a peer or partner of the business partner and not simply as a vendor? And that is all about interpersonal skills. It also involves understanding the business, understanding how we make money, carefully preparing the meetings so that you go in with full knowledge of what is going on so there aren’t surprises that will upset the partner etc, etc. That is the BRM role, it is a very demanding role and the Outside-In trend or development makes it more demanding because it means that now the BRM has also got to deal with solutions that don’t come through enterprise IT but come from outside.