24 May at 07:00AM
How Business Analysts and Project Managers Relate
As project management professionals we work as (or with) project managers and business analysts, but do you know how these roles differ and how so they relate? The PMI Toronto’s Business Analysis community hosted an event on March 23rd—Project Managers and Business Analysts-How do we relate?—where speakers presented the differences of the project manager (PM) and the business analyst (BA) roles and how a BA’s skills can aid in leading change. The presenters also spoke to how every role on the team connects, especially the PM and BA.
PMIT’s BA Community’s Guest Speakers
Eno Eka is an award-winning Business Analysis Consultant, Career Coach and Speaker who has been recognized for helping over 20,000 professionals from around the world kickstart their careers. She is the CEO of Eny Consulting Inc and Founder of Business Analysis School, whilst also being a course instructor at the University of Manitoba. She volunteers with several nonprofit organizations that help new immigrants to Canada gain meaningful employment.
Ogaga Johnson is a Project Leader, Consultant, Educator and Speaker who has delivered multi-million-dollar projects in various industries over the years. She is the principal consultant of the OJ Company, a project management training and consulting company where she leads the design and training for courses that serve clients internationally. Ogaga is also an active member and volunteer at the PMI where she served as the Board of Directors for the PMI NL chapter as the director for the Programs and Professional Development.
How Do BAs and PMs Work Together?
Business analysts and project managers work together yet look at the same project in different ways. The PM oversees everyday tasks and challenges, whilst the BA is more focused on the macro-perspective of projects, their operations, and whether the overall product satisfies the business needs of the organization. One of the integral parts of being a BA is finding solutions for problems that arise within the business project. According to Eno and Ogaga, the business analyst works at the strategic, tactical, and operational levels within the organization whereas the project manager’s job function has a start and an end date to deliver a product or a service to the client(s).
The BA plays a key role in traditional project management. For a business analyst to perform their tasks, a project must be in progress so that the BA and PM work together to fulfil the business outcome. The BA and PM have their own set of requirements during the planning phase and then work hand-in-hand to integrate these plans into the business case document.
To secure that the project meets both stakeholders’ expectations and the organization’s long-term business strategies, the BA and PM must work together to integrate the following steps:
1. Needs Assessment
BAs and PMs work alongside to identify the stakeholders, project needs, goals, and objectives. Once the stakeholders are identified they must work to define the value stakeholders will have on determining the outcome of the project. Collaboration is vital to understand what requirements are needed for the project and the people who hold a vested interest in the project’s completion.
Why is this stage so crucial to both BAs and PMs? The BA must constantly analyze the information and the PM must work to satisfy the needs.
During the planning stage, the BA and PM come together to create a requirements management plan that is integral to the designing of strategies, action plan, set methods for change control, acceptance criteria, and document control. This collaborative step forms the bigger elicitation process.
3. Requirement Analysis & Elicitation
The BA and PM collaborate and ask questions and draw out expectations from stakeholders. They each identify any points that could have been missed during the needs assessment. They both use similar techniques during elicitation such as interviews, workshops, prototyping, questionnaires, and so on. After gathering this data, the two must work together and analyze this data and determine if the needs are immediate or not and then prioritize them accordingly. Ultimately, the BA and PM here support each other throughout the process.
4. Traceability & Monitoring
In this part, the BA and PM work together to track, monitor, and communicate the requirements. The PM manages the change requests whilst the BA integrates them within the business plan.
5. Solution Evaluation
During this stage, the two roles work together to validate, analyze, and communicate the solution to the stakeholders, who then approves or requests further analysis before the deployment of the project.
The Journey toward a Product-centric World within Projects
In relation to product management Eno and Ogaga explained that business analysis and project management merge together. A product lifecycle can overtake the project lifecycle and the BA works to support product owners—assuming ownership in situations and to maximize the value being delivered by the team. It is important to know that the way a project is delivered has changed into delivering value. The application of business analysis into product ownership has resulted in the creation of high-value products for customers, and increased productivity within project teams to deliver quality product increments.
Today we see more organizations transforming into product-centric models thus creating a need for PMs to integrate within a new space for product ownership. This doesn’t create a risk for project management practices. Good product management skills means executing high quality work and coordinating with multiple streams.
Whether you are a project manager or a business analyst, you can leverage your existing skills into product ownership and management by integrating them into a new space. BAs and PMs will always need to work together to successfully achieve the organization’s business goals and objectives.
So, are you ready to integrate into a more product-centric world of projects?