Author: Sergey Korban

Project Manager and Business Analyst In Tandem for Success

I’ve been working in project management and business analysis domains for many years. The projects I’ve been engaged in cover regulatory compliance, business process improvements, software development, ERP implementation and ITIL adherence, just to name a few.

Heated discussions about relationships between a project manager (PM) and a business analyst (BA) are often focused on their non-aligning sides rather than on their mutual efforts to ensure project success.

I tend to think about PMs and BAs working together in projects as two hands carrying a baby. Here is my view on the PM-BA tandem and how it comes together to make a project successful.

 How It Works

I’ve been involved in multiple projects for the last two decades. The projects were of different scales and nature. However, there is one common element in all of them:  a project manager and a business analyst are the two sides of the same coin. Their skills and joined efforts make a project successful and deliver good value to the business. I would like to demonstrate how a PM and a BA could work on a project, and explore each project phase in more detail. Please note that project phases and the documentation involved follow PRINCE2®.

Project Start Up

PM and BA work with project stakeholders throughout the entire project lifecycle. Before the project starts, a PM deals with business stakeholders to identify the business need at a high level. The outcome of this interaction is a Project Initiation document. This document outlines the business need, the impact of the current state on the business, the desired target state, project complexity, estimated project duration and expected benefits.

 ba-pm-article-diagram

 PM-BA: Collaboration Model

Project Initiation

The PM engages the BA to help with project scoping and definition of the business need, expected project outcome (deliverables) and project acceptance criteria.

While the PM works on drafting a project plan, the BA develops a BA plan outlining BA deliverables, communication patterns with stakeholders, requirements management approach and estimation of effort. The BA agrees the BA plan and Requirements Management plan with the PM.

Once the plans are agreed, the BA works closely with the project stakeholders on clarifying the business need, specifying high level business requirements, conducting stakeholder analysis, identifying risks, assumptions and constraints, as well as tolerances to a solution. The BA determines solution scope, high level requirements, solution approach, reusable and new components to be used in the fin