Mudassir Iqbal

Project Manager and Business Analyst???

An argument that I have with myself daily on the job is whether I am a project manager or a business analyst. Should I advise on the solution, or should I stay in the PM lane and let the solution architect and the business side deal with it? Many of us project managers have transitioned to this position via a business or system analysis path, so I, therefore, believe that we’re the best to judge this unique relationship in terms of the roles that both should play. Let’s take a closer look.
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With the growth of business evaluation, we have all observed a certain tension in the leadership of ventures. Years ago, the business analyst—along with the project manager—was just another team member. Today, business assessment has become even more crucial to success; the project manager and business analyst must operate closely together.

How does that work in practice? At times, not so well. That’s not surprising considering the varying perspectives of these two roles. Project managers are often described as blinkered by BAs, whereas PMs complain that BAs just want the best for their shareholders—and don’t always succeed. (Of course, I’m exaggerating a little…right?)

The relationship between a business analyst and project manager is critical. When it’s harmonious, the task achieves clarity and shareholders comprehend the prerequisites (and the required engagement by the joint communication strategy). The mission’s scope is managed and understood by both parties. They work alongside each other so that the risks are determined and dealt with efficiently. With the right configuration and understanding, this can be a truly productive partnership.

“The Business Analyst is an agent of change. Business Analysis is a disciplined approach for introducing and managing change to organizations, whether they are for-profit businesses, governments, or non-profits.” – IIBA

Business analysts are responsible for taking business and project requirements and helping to build out technical provisions. Their primarily focus on building the right solution, whereas project managers emphasize delivering that solution with a pre-defined deadline, set budget and an available set of assets.

Both roles come with a unique set of skills that, when blended together wisely, lead to a high-quality product. Project managers make sure that diverse project tasks are allocated to the right individuals—and that the available resources are enough to execute the task. It is here that the business analyst operates to cope with participants and their outlooks.

“[Project managers] are organized, passionate and goal-oriented people who understand what projects have in common, and their strategic role in how organizations succeed, learn and change.” – PMI

Project managers are responsible for supervising the achievement of a project and leading the cross-functional lineup that is accountable for improving it. Project managers are outward-facing since they look at the market and interact with clients to assess product prospects.

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On the other hand, business analysts are usually inward-facing. They primarily concentrate on the procedures and activities to figure out how to best create and maintain what the project manager is demanding on behalf of consumers and the market. Also, they recognize prospects to systematize procedures and operations.

Moreover, PMs are accountable for identifying the highest-value difficulties to solve—and confirming that the team has developed a meaningful solution. They usually ask:

  • What is ensuing?
  • What track are we taking this project on?
  • What are clients demanding?
  • Why we are building a certain feature?

…whereas business analysts are accountable for collecting procedural details such as:

    • What technical limitations do we have?
    • What inner corporate challenges we will encounter on the project?
    • What actions could lead to a way out?

Project managers regulate changes to the project so that it doesn’t exceed the deadline or expend the limited resources. They deal with any threats to project success. This is where the business analyst assists by managing changes to requirements, minimizing the time it takes to prompt requests and identifying any limitations that pose a risk to task accomplishment.

When it comes to requirements, business analysts bridge the gap between business and IT—and contribute their understanding of the business to the task. As the BA elicits needs, the PM is informed of progress and regulates the plan (when required) to include the tasks and related deadlines to fulfill these requirements. As the BA acts as a supporter for business areas, the project manager consistently monitors the growth of the project, carries out status update meetings, controls risks to project success and adjusts the project plan as per decisions made.

The one and the only thing that project managers and business analysts are accountable for together: creating products that clients love.

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