When is a business analyst really a project manager?


The lines between business analysts’ and project managers’ responsibilities seem to be becoming increasingly blurred, particularly in these tight economic times where candidates are sometimes expected to fulfill both roles. But it is crucial that companies understand the difference between these roles if they want their projects to be executed in the most efficient manner.

The role of the business analyst explained

When is a business analyst really a project manager?Business analysts are responsible for understanding and identifying the changing needs of a business, in order to ensure that the organization can maximize the efficiency of their existing IT and change management resources. Business analysts should work with internal teams to achieve the following:

  • Review processes and systems
  • Make recommendations for change and assess the impact of these changes
  • Document requirements and manage the delivery of these requirements

Business analysts sometimes work within existing IT departments, or may be found within the change management department or moving between different business units depending on the nature of the change being implemented.

Where the definition becomes blurred

Both business analysts and project managers are often brought in as contractors or on a short-term basis, to work with internal project stakeholders on defined and time bound projects. As they are often an additional external resource, many organizations are uncertain about the clear definitions of each role. Sometimes business analysts are brought in expecting to focus on change management, internal structures and providing the crucial improved efficiency to enable project managers to come in and deliver projects, only to find that they are delivering the projects themselves.

The reality of business analysis and project management in the workplace

The undeniable reality is that many business analysts who are highly skilled in understanding business cycles and change management will end up managing projects and heading up project teams, simply because they hold so many transferable and valuable skills. This is especially likely in smaller companies, where resources are more limited. One senior professional noted that when looking for a new project manager, he values experience of business analysis above anything else. Business analysts hold extensive skills and knowledge which equip them perfectly for a project management role:

  • Knowledge and understanding of change management
  • Problem solving and analytical skills
  • Facilitation and excellent communication skills

The groundwork usually performed by a business analyst in terms of assessing organizational processes, resource and efficiency and making key recommendations for change, creates an excellent platform for effective project management to begin. In this respect, bringing in a business analyst for this groundwork and then focusing them more on skilled, professional project management could be seen as a highly effective way to make the most of their key skills and experience.

Of course, not all business analysts who end up focusing more on project management will be natural leaders or facilitators. But as analysts they do have to be natural communicators and capable of building relationships internally to truly understand the organizational change needed. Most of all, when managing the project they will have an excellent understanding of the wider organizational set-up and resources.

In summary, there are many similarities between the roles of business analyst and project manager, and many similar skill sets are needed. Often business analysts do focus more on project management than on traditional analysis. In this respect, business analysts will often take on the role of project manager, and can offer organizations invaluable skills, knowledge and experience.

Author: Anthony Sherick.

Anthony is director of the Technojobs Group which was founded six years ago and includes the specialist jobsite businessanalystjobs.co.uk. Anthony has a background in Business Development and online marketing, including an MA in Marketing.

Article image © Andrea Danti - Fotolia.com

Like this article:
  10 members liked this article


Raphael posted on Tuesday, December 24, 2013 9:31 AM

Nice article. Indeed in some cases we are project managers, or change managers.
My impression is that Business Analysis role or job is still very different from companies to companies.

Only registered users may post comments.



Copyright 2006-2022 by Modern Analyst Media LLC