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Trust and reliance on Business Analyst on a project
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Project sponsors and project teams don't always know exactly what they want or need in a project. This is where, in my company, the Business Analyst digs in and helps define the requirements for meeting the objectives of the project.

Should a project manager rely on / trust in the accuracy of the assigned business analyst to ensure all necessary requirements are identified and documented?

What can a PM do to ensure all requirements and scope are defined up front to prevent scope creep and change requests?
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Sorry if I did not understand but it seems to me there is something to clarify in your comment. Business Analyst is accountable for helping the organization to define the understand the business problem (which emerges when needs of change emerge), define the solution (which will be the product/service/result), create and implement it (that will be thanks a project is started) and continue monitoring if expected results are achieved. Business analyst work starts before a project exists and continues when project ends. Business Analyst is accountable for product/service/result requirements (usually named product requirements). From this requirements the project requirements are defined and Project Manager is accountable for project requirements. So, is not about trust. Is about concerns. Project manager concerns is the project mainly to create the defined product/service/result as defined in the needed time with the assigned budged. All that is accomplish thanks the project quality (which contains scope, time, cost, etc). That´s all for the project manager.
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1 reply by Teresa Sabino
Aug 09, 2017 2:24 PM
Teresa Sabino
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Thanks for your response! The roles/processes are not so clear in my company and we don't necessarily comply with PMI's definitions. In this instance, the BA was assigned to a specific project after a request was made. They worked to define the requirements but many items were missed and are popping up now, causing delays. I just want to know what I can do (knowing my company probably won't change its processes anytime soon) to ensure the BA has defined all known requirements at the time.
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Aug 09, 2017 2:16 PM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
...
Sorry if I did not understand but it seems to me there is something to clarify in your comment. Business Analyst is accountable for helping the organization to define the understand the business problem (which emerges when needs of change emerge), define the solution (which will be the product/service/result), create and implement it (that will be thanks a project is started) and continue monitoring if expected results are achieved. Business analyst work starts before a project exists and continues when project ends. Business Analyst is accountable for product/service/result requirements (usually named product requirements). From this requirements the project requirements are defined and Project Manager is accountable for project requirements. So, is not about trust. Is about concerns. Project manager concerns is the project mainly to create the defined product/service/result as defined in the needed time with the assigned budged. All that is accomplish thanks the project quality (which contains scope, time, cost, etc). That´s all for the project manager.
Thanks for your response! The roles/processes are not so clear in my company and we don't necessarily comply with PMI's definitions. In this instance, the BA was assigned to a specific project after a request was made. They worked to define the requirements but many items were missed and are popping up now, causing delays. I just want to know what I can do (knowing my company probably won't change its processes anytime soon) to ensure the BA has defined all known requirements at the time.
Network:1368



It is not a matter of PMI. The role exists before the PMI started with the role because the IIBA was the "father" of the role. I worked from the very begining of the role creation in defined all related to the role and I worked implementing the role in lot of organizations. Returning to your question the first thing is to understand that when the project was approved it was done thanks some type of document (usually a business case). Inside it some level of product requirements and project requirement must be stated in order to create the budged for the initiative. After that, those requirements (product and project) must be refined or detailed much more. The case you are describing is typical when requirements management process is not in place. Inside the process you have to define things like "what is a requirement for my organization?". Usually people think they have a requirement but they have needs. AND TAKE INTO ACCOUNT (sorry about the capital letter): you never, never will have ALL requirements defined. You will have the amount of requirements needed to create the solution. Why? Because the first time you show something it will change. So, there are a lot of things to talk about your situation. But my recommendation is take a look to your project life cycle and your requirements management process first.
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1 reply by Teresa Sabino
Aug 09, 2017 2:59 PM
Teresa Sabino
...
Thank you Sergio, your feedback is very much appreciated!
Network:846



Aug 09, 2017 2:34 PM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
...
It is not a matter of PMI. The role exists before the PMI started with the role because the IIBA was the "father" of the role. I worked from the very begining of the role creation in defined all related to the role and I worked implementing the role in lot of organizations. Returning to your question the first thing is to understand that when the project was approved it was done thanks some type of document (usually a business case). Inside it some level of product requirements and project requirement must be stated in order to create the budged for the initiative. After that, those requirements (product and project) must be refined or detailed much more. The case you are describing is typical when requirements management process is not in place. Inside the process you have to define things like "what is a requirement for my organization?". Usually people think they have a requirement but they have needs. AND TAKE INTO ACCOUNT (sorry about the capital letter): you never, never will have ALL requirements defined. You will have the amount of requirements needed to create the solution. Why? Because the first time you show something it will change. So, there are a lot of things to talk about your situation. But my recommendation is take a look to your project life cycle and your requirements management process first.
Thank you Sergio, your feedback is very much appreciated!
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1 reply by Sergio Luis Conte
Aug 09, 2017 4:39 PM
Sergio Luis Conte
...
My pleasure Teresa. I have faced what you stated lot of times.
Network:1368



Aug 09, 2017 2:59 PM
Replying to Teresa Sabino
...
Thank you Sergio, your feedback is very much appreciated!
My pleasure Teresa. I have faced what you stated lot of times.
Network:883



All outlined items in the project charter must be thoroughly discussed by the BA and PM to the sponsors/stakeholders subject to approval by both parties. This is to make ensure that all requirements have been covered, the scope is well defined, scope limitation, deliverbales, etc. discussed, too. This is to eliminate scope creep and change requests. This is not about trust, this is the responsibility of the BA.
Moreover, the BA/PM must provide the sponsor/stakeholders too, an overview of the project per phase so the sponsors/stakeholers are aware of the requirements per phase and activities done per project phase/cycle.

Sometimes change requests can be accommodated depending its impact on the project deliverables, timeline, resources, etc. to achieve the required project outcome and success. If the impact of the change request has an adverse effect on the project, we usually recommend that this will be considered another project.
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Teresa, trust between the PM and the BA is crucial and many times this is understated. Even with clear role definitions, I have found many times that the PM does not totally trust the direction indicated by the BA. Obviously, both these roles must have the correct mandates so that they can function efficiently within the same space.There is a lot of overlap between the PM and BA i.e. the BA has a lot to say about the project schedule and risk register.
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1 reply by Sergio Luis Conte
Aug 10, 2017 4:52 AM
Sergio Luis Conte
...
Anton, please let me disagree. There is no overlap between both roles if both roles are clear understanding. I will take your example. The only thing that will impact on project schedule is the restrictions that have been defined because the opportunity window, but beyond that project schedule is a matter of the project manager. About risks business analyst is focused on solution risks while project manager is focused on project risk. While solution could be consider as the product/service/result to create plus the process to create it (the project) focus on risks are quit different. BUT I understand that because business analyst is a new role in some organizations the implementation could have lot of missunderstanding.
Network:1368



Aug 10, 2017 1:33 AM
Replying to Anton Oosthuizen
...
Teresa, trust between the PM and the BA is crucial and many times this is understated. Even with clear role definitions, I have found many times that the PM does not totally trust the direction indicated by the BA. Obviously, both these roles must have the correct mandates so that they can function efficiently within the same space.There is a lot of overlap between the PM and BA i.e. the BA has a lot to say about the project schedule and risk register.
Anton, please let me disagree. There is no overlap between both roles if both roles are clear understanding. I will take your example. The only thing that will impact on project schedule is the restrictions that have been defined because the opportunity window, but beyond that project schedule is a matter of the project manager. About risks business analyst is focused on solution risks while project manager is focused on project risk. While solution could be consider as the product/service/result to create plus the process to create it (the project) focus on risks are quit different. BUT I understand that because business analyst is a new role in some organizations the implementation could have lot of missunderstanding.
...
2 replies by Anton Oosthuizen
Aug 10, 2017 5:06 AM
Anton Oosthuizen
...
By all means, disagree. That is how we all learn and grow.

The PM is ultimately responsible for the overall project schedule but it cannot be done in isolation. The PM will build out the schedule based on the information received from various other entities ie. the BA. The BA should develop a schedule for all BA related activities and then work with the PM to integrate this into the overall project schedule.I am not saying that there is an overlap in accountability since accountability cannot be shared. But there is a definite overlap in responsibility and how this overlap is handled is up to the org structure and culture. In an organization where you have a mature BA practice, this is normally understood and applied.

This is the same principle that applies to risks. Again I did not say that the BA take accountability for the risk register but the BA is responsible for working with the PM to ensure that risks are identified and documented appropriately.

So I guess it is important to understand that there are very specific areas for which the PM and BA are accountable but there are many areas where there is a shared responsibility and this is where a strong trust relationship must exist between the PM and BA.
Aug 10, 2017 5:06 AM
Anton Oosthuizen
...
By all means, disagree. That is how we all learn and grow.

The PM is ultimately responsible for the overall project schedule but it cannot be done in isolation. The PM will build out the schedule based on the information received from various other entities ie. the BA. The BA should develop a schedule for all BA related activities and then work with the PM to integrate this into the overall project schedule.I am not saying that there is an overlap in accountability since accountability cannot be shared. But there is a definite overlap in responsibility and how this overlap is handled is up to the org structure and culture. In an organization where you have a mature BA practice, this is normally understood and applied.

This is the same principle that applies to risks. Again I did not say that the BA take accountability for the risk register but the BA is responsible for working with the PM to ensure that risks are identified and documented appropriately.

So I guess it is important to understand that there are very specific areas for which the PM and BA are accountable but there are many areas where there is a shared responsibility and this is where a strong trust relationship must exist between the PM and BA.
Network:608



Aug 10, 2017 4:52 AM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
...
Anton, please let me disagree. There is no overlap between both roles if both roles are clear understanding. I will take your example. The only thing that will impact on project schedule is the restrictions that have been defined because the opportunity window, but beyond that project schedule is a matter of the project manager. About risks business analyst is focused on solution risks while project manager is focused on project risk. While solution could be consider as the product/service/result to create plus the process to create it (the project) focus on risks are quit different. BUT I understand that because business analyst is a new role in some organizations the implementation could have lot of missunderstanding.
By all means, disagree. That is how we all learn and grow.

The PM is ultimately responsible for the overall project schedule but it cannot be done in isolation. The PM will build out the schedule based on the information received from various other entities ie. the BA. The BA should develop a schedule for all BA related activities and then work with the PM to integrate this into the overall project schedule.I am not saying that there is an overlap in accountability since accountability cannot be shared. But there is a definite overlap in responsibility and how this overlap is handled is up to the org structure and culture. In an organization where you have a mature BA practice, this is normally understood and applied.

This is the same principle that applies to risks. Again I did not say that the BA take accountability for the risk register but the BA is responsible for working with the PM to ensure that risks are identified and documented appropriately.

So I guess it is important to understand that there are very specific areas for which the PM and BA are accountable but there are many areas where there is a shared responsibility and this is where a strong trust relationship must exist between the PM and BA.
Network:608



Aug 10, 2017 4:52 AM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
...
Anton, please let me disagree. There is no overlap between both roles if both roles are clear understanding. I will take your example. The only thing that will impact on project schedule is the restrictions that have been defined because the opportunity window, but beyond that project schedule is a matter of the project manager. About risks business analyst is focused on solution risks while project manager is focused on project risk. While solution could be consider as the product/service/result to create plus the process to create it (the project) focus on risks are quit different. BUT I understand that because business analyst is a new role in some organizations the implementation could have lot of missunderstanding.
By all means, disagree. That is how we all learn and grow.

The PM is ultimately responsible for the overall project schedule but it cannot be done in isolation. The PM will build out the schedule based on the information received from various other entities ie. the BA. The BA should develop a schedule for all BA related activities and then work with the PM to integrate this into the overall project schedule.I am not saying that there is an overlap in accountability since accountability cannot be shared. But there is a definite overlap in responsibility and how this overlap is handled is up to the org structure and culture. In an organization where you have a mature BA practice, this is normally understood and applied.

This is the same principle that applies to risks. Again I did not say that the BA take accountability for the risk register but the BA is responsible for working with the PM to ensure that risks are identified and documented appropriately.

So I guess it is important to understand that there are very specific areas for which the PM and BA are accountable but there are many areas where there is a shared responsibility and this is where a strong trust relationship must exist between the PM and BA.
...
1 reply by Sergio Luis Conte
Aug 10, 2017 5:28 AM
Sergio Luis Conte
...
Thank you Anton. Now I understand your point about overlaping. And I agree with that.
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