Thursday, March 24, 2011

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Why does a Project need both: a PM and a BA?

Having a strong, experienced Project Manager and an efficient, knowledgeable Business Analyst in a Project, is the best way to assure its Success. Both roles are essential because they are each accountable for a diverse set of activities and they each possess a set of skills that complement each other. Both of them work together from the start of the Project and set a platform for success by their proper Planning and Executing skills.

At times, only one person plays both the roles in some organizations. This article discusses the significance of assigning different individuals to each role to ensure project success.

Responsibilities of PM & BA

When One Person Performs Both Roles

In SMEs or when the Organization is short staffed, one person is assigned to act as both the PM and the BA. This kind of cases have been seen, where there is lack of understanding the roles and responsibilities of BA Role and people feel that Business Analysis is one of the activities that PM needs to do. When only one person is assigned to both the roles, the challenge is to be aware of the conflicting focus and try to act in one role at one point of time.

Skill Comparison: PM Vs BA?

Each role provides focused capabilities that make the difference between whether a project succeeds or struggles. PMs and BAs each have distinct skills and knowledge areas and both of them produce a high quality product. Both of them want the project to be successful and want to satisfy all the Stake-holders as well as the client. They understand the ultimate purpose of the project – to meet the project objectives. There are many other areas where the two individuals diverge and do very different types of tasks.

PM Vs BA - Skill Comparison
Dynamic Duos

When assigning PMs and BAs to a project, the success depends on their experience, knowledge and skill sets in the respective areas.

If a strong, experienced PM is assigned to work with an inexperienced, unskilled BA, the requirements gathering and analysis tasks may be quick and key requirements may be missed. This situation will result in rework on requirements analysis & development, missing deadlines, over budget, etc.

In contrary, if a weak PM is assigned to work with a skilled and experienced BA, too much time may be spent in requirements gathering and the project will fall behind schedule as BAs want to get every single detail to be captured 100%.

“The best way to guarantee success of any type of project is to have a strong, experienced Project Manager and a strong, experienced Business Analyst.”

15 comments :

suchismita patro said...

great post..

Anonymous said...

Very good post and an excelente picturre of the difference bettween the two roles.

Abhijit Patro said...

Thank You very much for reading the post and appreciating it.

Regards...

Anonymous said...

Great diagram illustrating the differences in the two roles

sulastry napitupulu said...

great post sir :)

But how about this condition. A team has a strong PM and BA, but the team still fresh graduate and their skill still a little about the project. How about this? give some explanation sir.

Thanks

Abhijit Patro said...

@ Sulastry: Very good question.

In this kind of scenarios, the Key Persons of the Project like PM or BA, should schedule some kind of regular knowledge sharing / KT sessions which can help the Fresh Graduates to sync with the Project with minimum learning curve.

They can discuss and share their prior experience and success stories or failure scenarios, so that all the Team Members can visualize their future progress.

Regards...

crusty said...

Rest everything is great... dont agree to the last line

Arabela Daniela Luchian said...

“The best way to guarantee success of any type of project is to have a strong, experienced Project Manager and a strong, experienced Business Analyst.” Really? I think the best way to guarantee success of any type of project is to have an excellent communication between these two people. What if you have a strong, experienced PM and a strong, experienced BA, and they don't communicate with each other properly? :)

Team LearningHood said...

Good article..

+ Business Analyst is supposed to be a domain/functional expert.

Team LearningHoods
www.learninghoods.com

Dalexk Keo said...

Just a question re "In contrary, if a weak PM is assigned to work with a skilled and experienced BA, too much time may be spent in requirements gathering and the project will fall behind schedule as BAs want to get every single detail to be captured 100%."
Where does this experience come from? The experienced BA knows when good enough reqs are fine to move on with the project. These two must work in tandem to deliver the successful project.

JM Wildes said...

Abhijit,

My business analysis background has always been strong in testing and quality assurance. Verifying that those requirements were coded correctly and that functionality exists within a new release of software. Often times a project manager can lean too heavily on development and say deliverables were met when in fact if they were tested against requirements the software needs further work. Good project management can serve as a referee between business analysis testing and development to assign work loads, check bug reports and verify with testing and business analysis that in fact the software can PASS.

Anonymous said...

Globally, it is rather a good article. But some aspects are unclear or somewhat misleading.


First picture:
It is possible that the BA did already work before the project is initiated, for example he can establish a business case which then leads to a project.
IMO, the PM has also verify that the BA respects the scope. The PM deals with scope changes (priorities, negotiation, impact on project, new or more resources for the project)
Requirement Changes are managed by the BA. But their impact on the project is managed by the PM.
The BA can also communicate with the stakeholders and management.

Mainly, the PM is project oriented. The BA is product oriented.

Second picture:
The BA must also be able to see the big picture.
The BA must also be able to direct people, eg in workshops.
Freeze a project scope? It should never be really frozen. In fact it should be validated and kept as stable as possible. But if some important changes are really required, the scope should be able to be changed. This leads to a review and renegotiation of the project plans.

The project manager resolves _project_ (eg conflicts in priorities, unclear goals, conflicts between people, ...) issues.
The BA resolves _product_ issues and issues related to his work.

The BA supports the PM with project management. For example, he may identify project risks, he can be involved in the elaboration of the WBS and estimations, ...

Arunraj R. said...

I do not agree with the sentence “The best way to guarantee success of any type of project is to have a strong, experienced Project Manager and a strong, experienced Business Analyst.”

It just depends on the skills of Project Manager or Business Analyst not the experience. I do agree that experience matters but experienced Business Analyst are not born they are made....

Anonymous said...

For me it's one the different thing, PM has the time to make the project finished. Somethimes to be a good BA means to find some elements to be improved but for PM it means to end the project in time. Somethimes it couldn't meet it the same time.

Smruti said...

Awesome concept

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