24 August 2008

Networking, Brokerage and Business Analysts

Graham Durant-Law writes a fascinating blog on network analysis in the project management field. He is researching the field and produces a number of presentations on the topic of networks and complexity.

Complexity of course is something we strive to avoid or at least manage away as best we can.

I found this idea below among the presentations on his site. Have a look at this slide pack I put together – it’s an expansion of one of his slides on the various roles people can plan in managing communication on projects. (All I did was turn one slide into several – the IP is all his.)

Graham highlights these five roles and describes the way they can contribute or inhibit the flow of information, and how their influence can be as an outsider or insider.

1. Coordinator
2. Gatekeeper
3. Consultant
4. Representative
5. Liaison

The topic of project roles came up at the IIBA blog this week in the context of different types of BA roles; Kevin Brennan describes two styles that the BABOK tries to accommodate - the consultant and the facilitator.

Graham's model highlights that there are a broader range of styles that the BA can apply to her or his work.

When you've read the presentation, and if you like, visited Graham's content (at Knowledge Matters, I’d be interested to know how you play your role as a BA.

5 Project Roles
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own.


  1. Craig,

    it's an interesting presentation, but it seems to be a more complicated version of William Issacs' four roles that individuals on a team take:

    1. The Initiator –for direction
    2. The Processor – for reflection
    3. The Supporter– for affirmation
    4. The Challenger – to question

    He discusses these in "Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together.

    It seems to me that these roles exist regardless of one's position relative to the group. (Outsider, insider, consultant, employee or adviser.)

    For me, the more generalized roles are easier to understand and allow for greater flexibility as the topics of discussion lead one to play different roles.

    My two cents worth...


  2. Andy

    Thanks for sharing.

    You can also try models like De Bono's '6 thinking hats' - which gets people to look at problems from different perspectives.

    There are lots of role paradigms out there.

    The model you present seems to be about challenging an idea from various perspectives to ensure it's robust, appropriate and feasible.

    I think Graham's model looks at the role in managing communication flows, which in project contexts can be critical risk points.

    If we start with the presumption that complexity is bad, and the belief that people and relationships present the greatest complexity this helps understand risk areas on complex projects.

    I think it also helps identify where and how you want to address those risks.

    I don't think I neccessarily captured the full message Graham is delivering here. I recommend a deeper dive into his work.