Soft Skills Training for the Business Analyst and Project Manager 

Success in business analysis and project management requires more than technical skills. The “hard” part of our jobs is the “soft” stuff. Every day we need to build and maintain trust, resolve conflict, solve problems, and influence outcomes while achieving business goals to move forward and add value to the organization. Our Influencing Skills courses will help you to:

  • Understand and analyze business problems, and recommend and “sell” solutions that will solve a problem or take advantage of an opportunity.
  • Employ various facilitation techniques to help build teams, elicit requirements, resolve conflict, and identify and solve problems.
  • Build trust and communicate more effectively.
  • Help guide your organization through difficult, but needed, changes.
  • Effectively handle challenging situations with your customer, team members, vendors, and sponsors.

Business professionals rarely have control over all of the people they depend on to deliver the results expected of them. To improve your ability to influence without authority, our training will help in all of these areas:


Influencing Skills Courses

Our influencing skills courses include:

Business Case Training Influence good business decisions by analyzing and creating a solid business case. Learn a 5-step repeatable process for assembling a bulletproof business case.

Conflict Management Influence stakeholders by learning how to resolve conflicts among them. Gain insight into how to better manage one's own emotions and relationships with others to be prepared for complex and difficult conflict situations.

Consulting Skills
Influence stakeholders by developling the the ability to understand and analyze business problems, break down a problem into manageable pieces, and “sell” solutions that will adequately solve a problem or take advantage of an opportunity.

Critical Thinking Skills Become a critical thinker who questions information, conclusions and points of view; strives to be clear, precise and relevant; and thinks beneath the surface.

Eliciting Business Requirements Learn how to identify business problems and link requirements to business objectives in order to solve business problems and set project scope.

Facilitation Skills Workshop Become an influencial facilitator by learning how to empower your group to capitalize upon their own latent capabilities and knowledge in the search for optimum solutions and consensus.

Influencing Without Authority Learn the skills, tips, and tricks of successful influencers so you can influence even when you don't have the authority.

Organizational Change Management Develop the tools and a practical, rapid methodology for transforming an organization at 3 levels: Individual, Team, and Organization.

Project R.E.A.L. Live Simulation Learn how to lead your team and make the tough decisions in moments of difficulty through this hands-on, realistic project experience conducted in a dynamic, fast-paced, and safe environment.

Recovering Troubled Projects Learn techniques to recover existing projects and to understand the early warning indicators that a project is heading in the wrong direction.

Virtual Teams Training Develop skills and learn techniques to work effectively with teams in which team members have little or no face-to-face communication.



To provide you with maximum flexibility, our Influencing Skills classroom
training is available as either open-enrollment public classes or as private onsite classes. Public classes allow individuals to attend classes conveniently held throughout the year. Are you interested in private onsite Influencing Skills training at your company? We offer private onsite training whether it is one class or a complete series, designed to elevate the skills of your organization.  


Articles and Blogs About Influencing Skills


The Influencing Formula

by Elizabeth Larson, PMP, CBAP, CSM, and Richard Larson, PMP, CBAP, Principals, Watermark Learning, Inc.

We often get asked, "How can we get stakeholders to attend our meetings?" or "How can we get stakeholders' buy-in on the project?" These are complex questions, and the simple answer is that we can’t. As business analysts (BAs) and project managers (PMs) we can’t get anyone to do anything, but we can certainly influence them so that they want to. Similarly, we hear other BAs complaining that they are given a solution and don’t believe that they can step back and take the time to understand the business need. We're told, "I can't speak up when my sponsor sets the direction of the project" or "In our organization, they shoot the messenger." How can we effectively influence when we have no authority to do so?

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Elizabeth Larson
 is Co-Principal and CEO of Watermark Learning with over 25 years of experience in project management and business analysis. She is a frequent and requested presenter world-wide. Additionally, she has co-authored three books, numerous articles, and was a lead author to the BABOK® Guide Version 2.0 and the PMBOK® Guide 4th and 5th editions.

Richard Larson
, Co-Principal and President of Watermark Learning has over 30 years of experience in business analysis, project management, training, and consulting. He has presented workshops and seminars to thousands of participants on five different continents. Richard was the Review Chair for the BABOK® Guide version 2.0. and co-lead author for the Collect Requirements chapter of the PMBOK® Guide 4th edition. He is also on the writing team for BABOK 3.0

Be Satisfied With What I Give You - It's Better Than What You Asked For

by Elizabeth Larson, PMP, CBAP, CSM, Co-Principal, Watermark Learning, Inc.

My husband and I usually stay in hotels on vacation and sometimes our expectations, those unspecified requirements, are not met. This article deals with two aspects of unmet expectations: unwanted features and making changes.

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Creating Bulletproof Business Cases

by Richard Larson, PMP, CBAP, and Elizabeth Larson, PMP, CBAP, CSM, Principals, Watermark Learning, Inc.

Too often we've heard people tell us that their projects, which are intended to help the business solve its problems, continue to cause "pain" or fail to address the issues they were designed to solve. Projects are often justified or initiated by the need for a solution, and this usually means either no business case was created or an insufficient business case was created. Inadequate or non-existent business cases can result in unclear project scope. Building a "bulletproof" business case helps ensure that your project moves along smoothly and solves the problems that it was intended to solve.

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It's Not Like Selling Pots or Pans... Or is It?

by Elizabeth Larson, PMP, CBAP, CSM, and Richard Larson, PMP, CBAP, Principals, Watermark Learning, Inc.

A New Way of Selling Project Management to Senior Management. Project management professionals often find themselves in situations where they have to sell things to decision makers. It might be selling a project, or a new function such as Project Management Office. By understanding critical success factors, sales "knowledge areas," and a repeatable process, we increase our chances of success.

This article was originally published as part of the PMI® Global Congress Asia Pacific Proceedings, Bangkok, Thailand.

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Influencing Skills Presentations and Webinars


The Art and Science of Conflict Management
Creating Bulletproof Business Cases
Critical Thinking Skills for Today's Problem Solvers
Fantastic Voyage or the Impossible Dream - The BA as Management Consultant
The Influencing Formula: Three Steps to Influencing When You Don’t Have the Authority
Is Your Organization Project Capable? Assessing Organizational Readiness

Seven Ways to Build Trust for Successful Requirements Elicitation
Why Strategic Projects Fail: How to Avoid Becoming a Statistic


Check out recordings of these and other webinars on Influencing Skills topics on our Webinars on Demand page (quick registration required).

View Our Events Page for Information on Upcoming Webinars

Why Choose Watermark Learning?

As with all of our training, the Influencing Skills program combines a practical orientation, industry best practices, and engaging delivery that teaches retainable real-world skills to foster enduring results. Our Influencing Skills training is designed to go hand-in-hand with our Project Management and Business Analysis training to give you the soft skills needed to be most effective in your job and add value to your organization. Our instructors are PMP® and CBAP® certified, with 20+ years' experience, and use real-world examples and proven techniques to make your time spent in class immediately relevant and applicable on the job.

IS Contact

Watermark Learning is an acknowledged thought leader in Influencing Skills, a PMI® Registered Education Provider, and a Charter IIBA® Endorsed Education Provider. We contribute to these professional organizations and influence the Project Management and Business Analysis professions. Our principals and staff members have been lead authors on the PMBOK® Guide and the BABOK® Guide, allowing us to provide our students with unique insights. Our students tell us again and again how happy they are with their experience at Watermark Learning, and we think you will be too.

Testimonials

"The Influencing class was jam packed with great information and tools for relationship building and assessing your stakeholders. For me, this class is similar to when I took purchasing classes AFTER I had developed a new purchasing department and been in purchasing for many years. Last week I received the "So that's how it's supposed to work!"  education and hope to implement it in my projects. Thanks very much."
- Susan Mortensen, Large Energy Industry Company