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Great Project Management, great business analysis

Great project management, great business analysis

For successful project delivery, collaboration between project roles is key.  This is particularly relevant when looking at the role of the project manager versus that of the business analyst.

Traditional thinking dictated that project management was seen as a higher evolution of systems analysis and design, and likewise, that systems analysis and design was a higher evolution of programming and so forth.  But in reality, it simply can’t be about the perceived seniority or importance of roles.  All project roles exist because they serve a vital purpose in achieving the project objectives, therefore each role has equal importance from a delivery perspective.

At Analyze we believe that Business Analysis and Project Management (along with other key projects roles such as Quality Assurance, Systems Analysis & Design and Change Management) are professions in their own right.  Each has its rightful place within a greater team that comes together with a shared vision to achieve a particular goal.

Looking at the relationship between the project manager and business analyst, results are optimised when a project manager is able to also analyse business challenges and when a business analyst is able to project manage.  We like to say that great Project Management starts with great Business Analysis and great Business Analysis is followed by great Project Management.  But how does this work in practice?

Let’s think about it this way:  A project exists because there is a key business problem that needs to be addressed.  This is where things could start to become a “chicken and egg” scenario.  You cannot begin to plan and execute on your project until a true understanding of the problem at hand is achieved. It is important to know what the objectives are and why the challenge is being addressed.  Great analysis unlocks the mysteries of the project, often before it is a project.  It also provides the clarity to the project team on what problem they are solving, providing guidance around next steps and the needed action plan.  Then again, if this piece of work is not expertly managed and carried through, great analysis quickly falls by the wayside in the face of the many challenges projects have to face.

At Analyze we believe a great Project Manager, by nature, needs to be highly analytical.  Without this trait, the project management role is reduced to note taking, box ticking and reactive and disempowered leadership. On the flipside we believe a great Business Analyst needs to be highly organised, must be able to play a leadership role and has to keep a firm grip on the project scope.  As you can see, both the Project Manager and Business Analysts are leaders in their own right.  At times, their roles may overlap or even provide healthy competition for each other to ensure that the right questions are being asked, but at the end of the day the most important thing is that these two roles should complement one another.

We’ve taken great care to foster these kinds of symbiotic relationships amongst our team members at Analyze.  For us it’s certainly not a question of which role is more crucial than the other.  It’s really more a question of finding the right people who can work together to accomplish great things.

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