In Parliament we are known as business partners, but others might call us business relationship managers (BRM). It’s our job to work with different parts of the organisation, helping teams to work together to reach their goals. What does that mean? We explained a little bit about the role and the approach we take in PDS in an earlier blog post.
Back in 2016 when our team was formed, we knew we didn’t want to go it alone. Just as we work with different parts of Parliament, we wanted to connect with people like us working in government who had already navigated similar terrain and get them to share with us their learnings and insights.
So we met colleagues from Scottish Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly, Home Office, and Department of Transport to get a sense of what the role was really like.
These initial conversations made us realise that there was much for us to gain from getting together in this way.
Fast forward to January 2020 and we have created a ‘CrossGov Digital Business Partner’ group. The aim is that teams working for similar organisations can benefit from a support network, share success stories, best practices and pitfalls.
Drumming up interest
We formed the group by starting conversations. We reached out using our LinkedIn Group, posted messages on the Digital and Local Government Slack channels, got in touch with existing contacts, and connected with fellow business partners and business relationship managers through the BRM Institute forum.
The key, we learnt, is consistency. By sending out messages and updates regularly, conversations can get underway and keep going.
Getting the conversations flowing
Our first meet up was on 30 January in London. Some travelled far. We were joined by colleagues from Cornwall Council and Loughborough University, as well as Hackney Council and the Department for Transport around the corner.
We split off into smaller groups and held mini discussions, then fed our findings and opinions back to the rest of the group.
As it was the kick-off event, we kept the themes wide-ranging to get the conversations flowing. As time goes on, we’re hoping to drill down and discuss subjects in depth and present case studies.
Facing similar challenges
We talked about the differences between business partner-ing in central and in local government, we shared war stories and picked apart the DDaT framework.
It's reassuring to know that others face the same hurdles that we do, but even more useful to share how we have overcome the obstacles.
We held a poll to discuss our biggest challenges. Similar themes emerged from each group:
- Difficulty providing tangible results
- How do we move away from 'business as usual' and become more strategic?
- How do we overcome a lack of business analyst resource?
What happens now?
We will strive to continue these discussions through our digital channels and meet bi-annually. We aim to grow the group through word of mouth and our channels. As we expand we may split off into smaller niche groups, such as LocalGov and CentralGov.
We've already planning the next meet up and suggesting Cornwall… in August. No particular reason.