Project Management

Creating Business Analyst and Project Manager Synergy

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

Ask a project manager what they think of their business analyst, and the chances are the answer will provide a pretty good insight into how well the project is going. Ask a business analyst the same question about their project manager, and the answer will likely be just as insightful.

There is no doubt that both of these functions are critical to a project’s success, but the relationship can frequently be strained or worse. There are many possible reasons for that, but in my experience a lot of the issues come down to a lack of understanding of each other’s roles and the potential for a perceived ‘stepping on toes” as the project is executed. In this article, I want to offer my ideas on how the roles should work together to create synergy—the two roles combined become greater than the sum of the individual contributions.

Clear role definition
It seems obvious to suggest the first step is to ensure there is clear role definition for the BA and the PM to ensure the roles align without gaps or overlap. However, I think the issue in most organizations is not the absence of such definitions; it’s an absence of understanding of the two roles by stakeholders other than the project manager and business analyst.

Those team members and stakeholders don’t have a full or accurate understanding of how the two roles work together and end …

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- Groucho Marx