Project Manager, Business Analyst – does that sound like the same role to you? I recently read two articles published in Tech Republic on two different days. The first article was from a Computerworld Survey on Top IT skills in 2010 and the other was predicting what the IT department will look like in the year 2015.
One glaring similarity in both articles was the ‘twist‘ – project managers morphing into a hybrid between the business analyst and a project manager. It never ceases to amaze me that company leaders will knowingly (or perhaps unknowingly) set themselves up for failure.
I may be schizophrenic?
I will admit there are some similar skills required to be competent in either role. One might think that the roles are interchangeable and that demonstrates a lack of understanding of the Business Analyst role. Business analysis is NOT a task assigned to, or completed by, the project manager.
The conflict caused by one individual fulfilling the responsibilities of two roles is quite challenging, trying to focus on one role at a time (which hat am I wearing now?). The conversations between your Business Analyst and Project Manager regarding certain aspects of the project should be quite interesting, especially if you disagree. The internal debate might make you think ‘I’m losing it!!’
As a Project Manager your focus is on the big picture, directing the project team, assisting the project team in completed the assigned tasks, removing impediments, and managing the triple constraints (scope, time, schedule) to ensure the project is delivered on time, within budget, with the features and functions required by the customer. You would also possess management skills.
As a Business Analyst you are detailed-oriented, listen to the business subject matter experts to assist them in describing why and how they execute their tasks, identify business issues, make sure the product of the project is built and delivered according to the requirements, and possesses analytical/exploratory skills.
Can you see the difference?
So now what?
While the roles of project manager and business analyst overlap and reinforce each other, all projects require business analysis and project management skills. A few skills are similar (i.e. strong communication, interpersonal and stakeholder management) but many are different. Companies need to begin to understand that trying to combine the two roles is not a way to improve the success of their projects and their bottom line. This is not an area that combining processes creates efficiencies. Companies need to recognize the importance of each role and embrace how these two roles working together results in project success.
Does your company understand the importance of keeping the business analyst and the project manager role as separate and distinct?
© 2011 Gwen Miller All Rights Reserved.
The Project Management Institute (PMI) and the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) are the professional organizations for project management and business analysis and are working to promote the career progression of the PM and BA role as well as knowledge of both professions. Both organizations are dedicated to the development and maintenance of standards for the practice of project management and business analysis, and for the certification and recognition of practitioners.