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OUTSIDE THE BOX FORUM: Business Analyst as Co-Manager or Project Manager

The Co-Manager Model is unique to the Effective Complex Project Management (ECPM) Framework.

It consists of a senior client manager who plays the role of co-project manager opposite the professional project manager. They equally share responsibility and authority over the entire project. When that is not feasible, an alternative is needed. There are two possibilities that utilize the client’s business analyst.

Related Article: If It Doesn’t Make Sense, Why Do It?

Business Analyst as Co-Manager

In order to be assigned decision-making authority on the project, this business analyst must be the most senior level professional. They must have as intimate an understanding of the client’s line of business as does the client manager. They are their representative expert and trusted too. The management model used in the IS Department at Walmart is very similar to this model. In Walmart, it would not be unusual for the business analyst in a line of business to have a deeper and more complete understanding of a business process than its manager.

Business Analyst as Project Manager

Project managers are pervasive throughout the organization whether you want to admit it or not. They range from the senior-most professional to those who only occasionally use the process. There will be situations where the department manager will elect to keep the project internal and not look to outside management support. My practice has always been to have a relationship with each of my client departments to where they are encouraged to consult with me on project issues and problems. This type of relationship can be cultivated through a Project Support Office that is service-oriented. I often refer to myself as their extended team.

This model can be thought of a variation of the Co-Manager Model with both managers collapsed into a single individual. That destroys the benefit of having the two co-managers discuss issues when they have differing points of view. That can prove to be a healthy exchange which the collapsed model does not afford.

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