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What are the characteristics of a good senior user?
Kirsten Makins 29 Jan 2020 13:56
I'm trying to up my organisation's game on the senior user role because we don't do it all that well.  They tend to offer just their own opinions rather than spend time talking to colleagues about needs; they often don't give enough consideration to board papers; and as a result we get products that don't quite work.  While we've made some progress on the couple of agile projects we're running, it's a long way from good in waterfall projects.  I'd like to hear from others what you think the characteristics of a good senior user are.  My extensive internet searches haven't found anything but a description of roles and responsibilities...
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21 May 2020 15:24

Hello - I think a good senior user is someone with a business analyst background, as they are either trained for or naturally fell into roles where they seek solutions that make the most sense for the most people.  In my opinion, they will be the best at obtaining feedback vs. just sharing their own SME opinion.  However, I would keep in mind that people are people and that some handholding may be necessary.  It might be necessary to suggest that senior users meet with user stakeholders for feedback and report back to you about the meeting as a deliverable/work package.  Depending upon the organization, you may also need to trust the judgment of these individuals, as not all users will wish to participate or have valuable feedback that was not already thought of by others.  Some people talk trash about new projects and don't want to participate, as they can say "well this wasn't my choice - I wasn't involved in this fiasco."  Perhaps lack of success on the projects is partially a culture of deniability vs. failure with the senior users on projects?  How did you come to identify that that was the failure point?
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