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12 February 2008


A reader recently wrote and asked how to approach a first client meeting regarding a Business Intelligence project.

(I referred him to the Modern Analyst forums where you can get great answers to questions like this.)

It did get me thinking about how you walk into that sort of meeting, cold, no chance to prepare and come out with some useful information (and looking professional and in control.)

There are a heap of techniques available for this sort of meeting. Myself – I find it best to start with a high level view; what are the project objectives and how will they benefit the client? What constraints exist for the project? What opportunities are there?

If you want to drill further into the detail, or if you want some structure to help you through the meeting, you can use the magic questions: Who, What, Why, When, Where and How?

Write these words down and check them off as you ask a question that begins with each word. By the end you should have a solid amount of information that will set up your next phase of investigative work.

Wrap the meeting up by checking whether there are other people you should be speaking with and get their contact details. Always, always, make sure you have identified all the stakeholders.

Photo originally by Tim O'Brien
sourced from Flickr here