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11 April 2007

RATER: Reliability

McDonalds’s iconic Big Mac is all about the reliable same burger wherever you are in the world. Reliability is important when you pick and ISP. A recent survey found that consumers rated it the most important feature by far, over everything else including price. You want your doctor to be reliable. You want you car to be reliable.

Toyota don’t make it their mission to build sexy cars, but their reliability makes it the leading car brand in the world. The Camry has been said to be the most bring car in the world but it’s reliability makes it the number 1 seller in the US.

“You don't build a reputation on what you're going to do.”
- Henry Ford

To demonstrate reliability you need to show people what you can do. As a PM or BA you need to find ways to demonstrate reliability. If you are a full time member of the business you build up a reputation over time for delivery and doing what you say you will. If you are only here for one project (i.e. you are a contractor or a vendor) you need to find opportunities to deliver small victories along the way towards your project’s outcome.

The Business Analyst has a particular challenge as they don’t typically lead projects, but work on them in a supporting role. The BA does have the opportunity to advocate the needs of the business to the project and manage the business’ expectations to the degree that they are satisfied with project outcomes. They can also add value in other ways – and be seen to do it.

You can show reliability through availability, responsibility and consistency:

  • You are available every time you are supposed to be – you are not late for meetings, your documents are delivered on time, you meet your minor milestone deadlines.
  • You take on responsibility for the project’s outcomes - so you are proactive about understanding what is being asked of you and you make sure you deliver exactly what it is you have been asked to deliver or better
  • You are consistent – you demonstrate your reliability by delivering the same excellent service over and over again.
[Late addition; See a new post on breaking reliability down to attributes here.]