Project Management

How Business Analysis Compares with Project, Program and Portfolio Management

From the Building the Foundation: The BOK on BA Blog
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A new collaborative blog featuring the contributions from the core team members of PMI's Foundational Standard in Business Analysis. This blog will provide the community with insight into PMI's development of the standard to generate professional discussions about the content in advance of the scheduled reviews.

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As Laura mentioned in her last post, we just wrapped up SME review and are gearing up for public review very soon! THANK YOU to all the wonderful SMEs that took the time to read and provide feedback that was clear, complete and easy to understand. It was deeply appreciated while plugging away at over 1100 comments. We value the effort that it took our SMEs to review and comment, so we ensured all feedback was carefully evaluated.

There were a few interesting themes we noticed within the feedback, one of them being the relationship between business analysis with project, program and portfolio management. I wanted to pick on this point, as there is a lot of confusion and even misconception within the public on the scope of business analysis being covered in PMI’s business analysis standard.

Business analysis is a competency needed across the project, program and portfolio. Portfolios include work at a strategy level and operations, per the definition of Portfolios: “Projects, programs, subportfolios, and operations managed as a group to achieve strategic objectives.” In other words, the scope of business analysis within PMI’s business analysis standard includes work to support strategy and operations.

Based on valuable feedback from SMEs, our team incorporated changes to ensure:

1) The scope of business analysis was clarified, and

2) The relationship between business analysis with project, program and portfolio management was made much clearer.

In addition to adding verbiage to address (1), we added the following comparative overview of business analysis with project, program, and portfolio management to address (2).

 

Business Analysis

Project Management

Program Management

Portfolio Management

Definition

The set of activities performed to identify business needs, recommend relevant solutions and elicit, analyze, specify, communicate, and manage requirements.

The application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.

The application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to a program to meet the program requirements and to obtain benefits and control not available by managing projects individually.

The centralized management of one or more portfolios to achieve strategic objectives.

Focus

Solution: Something that is produced to deliver measurable business value to meet the expectations of stakeholders (i.e. new products and enhancements to products)

Project: A temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.

Program: A group of related projects, subprograms, and program activities managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits not available from managing them individually.

Portfolio: Projects, programs, subportfolios, and operations managed as a group to achieve strategic objectives.

Scope

Product scope is defined as the features and functions that characterize a solution.

Project scope is defined as the work performed to deliver a product, service, or result with the specified features and functions.

Programs have a scope that encompasses the scopes of its program components.

Portfolios have an organizational scope that changes with the strategic objectives of the organization.

Roles

Those who identify business needs, recommend and describe solutions through the definition of product requirements.

Those who manage the project team to meet the project objectives.

Those who ensure that program benefits are delivered as expected, by coordinating the activities of a program’s components.

Those who coordinate portfolio management staff, or program and project staff that may have reporting responsibilities into the aggregate portfolio.

Success

Measured by a product or solution’s ability to deliver its intended benefits to an organization, and degree of customer satisfaction.

Measured by product and project quality, timelines, budget compliance, and degree of customer satisfaction.

Measured by program’s ability to deliver its intended benefits to an organization, and by the program’s efficiency and effectiveness in delivering those benefits.

Measured in terms of the aggregate investment performance and benefit realization of the portfolio.

Hope you enjoyed that sneak peek. Stay tuned for more information on the public review process. We look forward to seeing your comments!

Posted by Cheryl Lee on: January 26, 2017 10:44 AM | Permalink

Comments (14)

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Thanks Cheryl for that sneak peek. Looking forward for the public review.

Thank you Cheryl! Also looking forward to the public review!

Thanks Cheryl! Looks like a great piece of work. Looking forward to read the complete thing.

Thanks everyone! We are looking forward to public review too!

Please let me two comments while I will post them inside the public review too. Business analyst is accountable for validating if the solution is achieving the results stated inside the business case or any other document. So, the business analysis work continues after the solution is in place. Just in case the solution is not achiving the stated results the cicle starts again. On the other side, if a project will create a product/service/result as part of a solution then the business analyst will help the organization to define the product/service/result. I mean the role is not focused on product only.

Hi Sergio, thanks for your comment. We agree that business analysis work continues after the solution is in place. "The scope of business analysis within PMI’s business analysis standard includes work to support strategy and operations." We also agree that the focus of business analysis is the solution, which includes products, services and results. Based on feedback from you and the other wonderful SMEs, we've made changes to reinforce this in the publication. Can't wait to get your eyes on it again through public review! Thanks!

Thank you, Chery for the update. Also looking for the review!

I can't agree more than what is highlighted in this post. I see a strong role of business analysts in identifying the benefits, focusing on benefits during project execution and sustaining the benefits by BRM as higlighted by Pulse of Profession survey report publised at https://www.pmi.org/learning/thought-leadership/pulse

That's great Maria!
Glad to hear you agree Sai!

I appreciate that Business Analysis and Project Management were accurately and visually summarized. Thanks!

Hi Sergio,

I think we're on the same page - I intended a similar comment.
And I would add that solution could be a portfolio or at least a program as well as a little change to an IT-System, process or "real touchable product" - depending on abstraction level the BA is operating on.

Thanks
The table is very good.

Shouldn't we all focus on the expected benefits of the project.

Thanks
The table is very good.

Shouldn't we all focus on the expected benefits of the project.

Vincent: the project will deliver benefits if the defined product/service/result is created in the estimated time (which is needed because the opportunity window) and by achieving the estimated cost. If you are talking about business benefits related to business objetives then they will not achieved by the project, they will achieved by the product/service/result to be created by the project.

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