Showing our love to Business Relationship Managers this week, since it is #BRMWeek, we caught up with Jeremy J. Wall, an experienced BRM, a member of the BRM Institute, and Director of National Integration Service (NIS) about his journey as a BRM.
APMG: What first prompted you to become a BRM?
Jeremy: I have played the role to varying degrees throughout my career, though it wasn’t until recently that it was formalized. Whether I was consulting or a project manager or working with development teams, there was always a need to facilitate the relationship between the provider and business.
APMG: Take us through your BRM career so far.
Jeremy: I started in technical support and training for a back-office banking software firm. I held positions of increasing responsibilities through an acquisition and relocation. In those roles, our team was the face to the customer and that’s where a lot of my relationship building skills developed. I had a few years as an independent consultant working between my old company and one of their clients. That role was all about setting the expectations of both organizations. Finally, I was recruited to my current company which eventually formalized the role from business support to CRM to BRM.
APMG: What are your key strengths and how have you used them in this role?
Jeremy: Listening, empathy and patience. Often the BRM is pulled in when tactical fires need to be put out and tensions are high. Or the business/provider relationship is faltering due to trust issues or miscommunication. It is critical to address those issues with transparency and empathy while elevating the conversation to set expectations. Once the crisis is passed, I can work with both the service provider and business partner to look forward to strategic planning and get in front of demand to better plan for the realization of business value.
APMG: As a member of the BRM Institute, how do you think has it helped you in your career?
Jeremy: The resources, training and availability of peers has been instrumental in elevating the BRM team’s maturity and effectiveness. The conference is a great way to energize the team and take a fresh look at our relationships.
APMG: What aspects of your role as a BRM are easy?
Jeremy: Building relationships and addressing tactical challenges are core actions that I feel comfortable with.
APMG: What aspects of your role as a BRM are challenging?
Jeremy: Introducing value-based metrics to the demand cycle so we can prioritize work to best realize the benefit to the business.
APMG: What characteristics do you think would help as a BRM to overcome these challenges?
Jeremy: Some of the new tools and techniques introduced with the CBRM are being adopted to normalize the conversation across our organization. But it is slow going and takes a real effort and buy in from business partners, service providers and executive leadership to execute well.
APMG: What role does getting certified play in becoming a successful BRM?
Jeremy: It helps to recognize and internalize the skills that BRMs must innately have. It helps identify personal growth opportunities by highlighting areas of the discipline where the knowledge isn’t at your fingertips.
APMG: Give a short account of one of your most memorable projects that you delivered as a BRM.
Jeremy: One of our BRMs came in new to the team and the organization. She had a huge learning curve to get up to speed on the organization, our providers, partners and the culture of the organization. Through coaching and tactical application of the BRM discipline, she was able to turn around a dissatisfied internal partner into an advocate and cheerleader for our function.
APMG: Any advice for those starting out as new BRMs?
Jeremy: Leverage the community of BRMs in your organization, learn the ins and outs of the landscape of your culture and politics, don’t try to be super formal with the tools, techniques and worksheets right off the bat. Ease your business partners and service providers into the process by building trust and opening lines of communications between them. Learn to step back from healthy relationships and let the provider/partner relationship grow organically as it matures.
Special credits go to Jeremy J. Wall for contributing the answers.