Tips for a better relationship between business analyst and project manager

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The author spent the first part of her career working in IT and IT Project Management in the oil industry and investment banking on complex global projects involving the management of outsourced project teams. She now runs a digital marketing company with particular expertise in technical SEO and Content Marketing.

Two people that often have conflicting approaches are the project manager and the business analyst. However, if both can work in harmony, it can be of great benefit to the business and any projects that are being worked on. With that in mind, read on to discover some top tips for a better relationship between these key players:

Collaborative stakeholder analysis

Identifying your stakeholders and having an understanding regarding their influence and interests is key to the success of any business analyst. You should do this in collaboration with your project manager for the best results. After all, it is important that you are both on the same page with regards to stakeholder influence.

Ensure the project schedule and business analysis plan match up

Nothing is more frustrating than finding out that the project manager has not assigned enough time for your business analysis activities. This is why it is important to talk to the project manager beforehand to ensure that your business analysis plan activity dates are synchronised with the project schedule.

Consider taking a project management course

Project management training is not only for project managers. There are entry-level courses that are designed for those who simply want a basic understanding of project management to advance their career. This will help you to understand the project manager’s role and where they are coming from.

Prioritise requirements together

Prioritising requirements is a standard task that business analysts carry out under requirement analysis. However, it is not uncommon for analysts to experience hurdles because a stakeholder wants to classify all of their requirements as the man priority. This is usually because they are worried that the project scope will not include any non-high priority requirements. Because of this, it is advisable to involve the project manager when prioritising requirements, as this will help you to better manage your stakeholders.

Help to reduce scope creep

Both project managers and business analysts know all too well that things change during the lifespan of a project. It is not uncommon for stakeholders to make additional requests throughout. Your role as a business analyst means that you will determine whether to accept or reject a requirement based on whether it is linked to the needs of the business. However, it is also important to think about the project itself and the impact any changes will have on the schedule and budget of the project. Most of the time, stakeholders want these changes made; yet they don’t want to increase the time or the cost. It’s important to consider all of this when making your decision to ensure a better relationship with the project manager.

Make sure all requirement changes undergo impact analysis

Last but not least, business analysts must make sure that requirement changes go through the impact analysis process that is managed by the project manager. This is important because it means that the impact of the change will be assessed in regards to product quality, project cost, and project schedule, before it is formally approved.

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Project management has developed into a fully-fledged chartered profession since the granting of the Royal Charter in the UK to The Association for Project Management (APM) in 2017. Training courses for project managers were already available and highly popular to help people gain professional project management accreditation, but with this wider recognition of the profession it is now seen as a desirable career path for many. Whilst the APM has the coveted Royal Charter and continues to develop its APM PMQ (formerly the APMP) programmes, there are also other internationally recognised qualifications that continue to be highly regarded such as PMP and PRINCE2.

Organisations have become increasingly project-focused in this era of rapidly emerging new technologies and they value the expertise that comes with experienced and fully qualified project teams and managers. By investing in their project management capability businesses can be confident of delivering their new projects in time and on budget more often and more successfully. Many major corporation are now training their people to have the right project management qualifications as well as relevant experience, through internal Learning & Development (L&D) programmes; or by using external project management training providers.

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