At first glance it may seem that project managers and business analysts have conflicting objectives with one focused on project delivery and the other on solution delivery. But by unlocking new opportunities for collaboration, these two roles can form a powerful partnership that will accelerate progression of their individual objectives.
There are valuable insights that can be shared between business analysts and project management teams. For example, business analysts are responsible for understanding many underlying factors (i.e. political, environmental, social, and technological) that will impact their corporate strategy. These considerations may include a deeper understanding of the value propositions and the fit of a product or service in the customer landscape. Project managers benefit from this insight because a change in corporate strategy could lead to a change in project scope—enabling them to proactively course-correct and deliver projects more successfully.
Through this shared insight, the relationship between the project manager and business analyst is essential to project success. In this blog, we’ll explore the key areas that are critical to maximizing the value of these two roles:
- Ensuring transparency and role clarity
- Agreeing upon the approach and plan
Ensure Transparency and role clarity
Lack of transparency can lead to missed opportunities to collaborate and form a strong partnership between the project manager and business analyst—a partnership which benefits both the project and the organization. Managing projects becomes difficult when people don’t work as a team. To address this challenge, it’s necessary for team members to clearly understand roles and expectations. This will in turn encourage better collaboration, team member accountability and project outcomes.
Identify Integration Points
Once roles are defined, then it is critical to identify the integration points. These are the areas shared between business analysis and project management including risk and stakeholder management. Misunderstandings on process such as requirements gathering can often result in unnecessary tension among team members. For example, it’s not uncommon for project managers to ask their business analyst counterparts, “why does it take so long to get requirements?” The simple answer is that rushing through requirements can lead to missed deliverables and quality concerns. In this situation, creating a requirements management plan can be very helpful. This document lists key activities for both the business analyst and project manager to identify integration points and areas in which they should work together. It also allows the business analyst to clearly identify his or her role, level of effort, activities for the project, and expected quality.
By building a shared understanding of the project scope, defining integration points, and promoting transparency, business analysts and project managers will work more efficiently, effectively, and pave the way for smoother implementations. Not only will this partnership mitigate the impact of missed requirements, it will also increase the likelihood of more seamless ways of working, ensuring that implemented solutions deliver lasting value and solve real-world customer challenges.