Business Analysts Needs
What a Business Analyst does?
A Business Analyst translates business needs into business solutions, in support of any business initiatives as programs and projects, ongoing operational activities, monitoring, modeling, forecasting. Primary focus is programs and projects.
As defined in “Business Analysys for Practitioners: A Practice Guide“, Business Analysis is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to determine problems and identify business needs, identify and recommend viable solutions for meeting needs, elicit, document, and manage stakeholder requirements in order to meet business and project objectives and to facilitate the successful implementation of the product, the service or the end result of the program or the project.
With this emphasis on requirements management, business analysis has become a competency of critical importance to project management. Becoming certified as a Business Analysis (BA) expert can move your career in a fresh direction while opportunities for BAs are on the rise. Through 2019, over half of organizations expect to see an increase in their demand for BAs and the integration of requirements management and business analysis with project management.
According to PMI Pulse of the Profession® research, inaccurate requirements gathering is one of the top three causes of project failure. Only half of organizations have the resources in place to perform this function properly. If you work with stakeholders in defining requirements, shaping project outputs and driving intended business outcomes, the PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)® will spotlight your valuable skills.
Project Manager role
In reality, a true Project Manager already owns many Business Analysis’ competencies as he or she already collects requirements, analyzes them and proposes one or more solutions that a Sponsor accepts to fund, authorizing the project. In any case, a Project Manager needs to understand the expectations of stakeholders and act accordingly. So, if your organization is already prepared to specialize professionals for the Business Analysis activities it is fine. Those professionals need to have an recognized credential like PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)®.
The first family of professionals interested in gaining a PMI-PBA® credential are all Project Managers on board, especially if already PMP® certified.
Project Managers and Business Analysts collaborate in critical leadership roles. This relationship – not always optimally aligned – determines a division between BA and PM roles. Not necessary!
There is some confusion due to inconsistent definitions and use of the role across industries, organizations and departments within the same organizations. Organizations that recognize the value of business analysis are beginning to employ more business analysts.
Business Analyst and Project Manager roles overlap – the work is similar but not the same – In “Business Analysys for Practitioners: A Practice Guide”, PMI defines when it is useful to work together.
- Project Manager – PM is responsible for delivering the content of the selected options, such as new or enhanced information technology (IT) systems, or improved business processes.
- Business Analysts – BAs Need understand strategic analysis techniques, given the increasing emphasis on early-engagement and the need to align with the business strategy and objectives.
Normally, the Project Manager is 100% responsible to achieve project objectives, respecting time schedule, budget and agreed quality levels. Correct!
But what happen if the Business Analyst is engaged before the Project Manager?
The objective of a Business Analysis is to collect requirements sufficient only to design a feasible solution of the problem or the need and propose it. Then this solution, if accepted by the sponsor, will become the basis for the project charter committed to the Project Manager. In this scenario, the Project Manager needs understand the “feasibility study” delivered by the Business Analyst and start to collect detailed requirements for the realization of the actual product or service.
The Business Analyst may continue to cooperate with the PM, but the whole responsibility is of the PM. There is some inherent conflict of interest. While the BA is motivated to deliver the highest value-add functionality and quality, the PM is focused on delivering on time, on budget and according with specifications. In any case, to be fully accountable for the success of a project, Project Managers have to push accountability down to team members and to the Business Analyst also, if present.
The Business Analyst could be of great help for the Project Manager, if he or she will interface all key stakeholders that could have issues on the project scope. To avoid conflicts the best things to do for a new project are:
- Determine all roles up-front, building a RACI where to summarize all available competencies and assignable roles.
- Determine deliverable that the project needs to produce and select who is best qualified to be assigned, based on their knowledge.
- Establish and hold people accountable for what they say to know.
Your responsibility, as PM, is to understand your project’s scope, isolate all Business Analysis activities and assign them to a Business Analyst, if included in your project team.
So, you need a Business Analyst, or your-self could become a Business Analyst as well.
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