September 17, 2013

Project managers and business analysts are two integral parts of a project team and they are often confused for one another due to their overlapping responsibilities. However, they actually play very different roles with complementary skills in the project completion process and are both necessary to ensure a successful project. Here’s a breakdown of their similarities and differences:

Similarities

  • Both are responsible for working together and creating the scope and definition of the project
  • Both define the key objectives that need to be accomplished
  • Both identify the risks and/or challenges associated with the project

The Project Manager

  • The project manager is typically the first person assigned to a project.
  • They bear the decision-making responsibilities and establish the team of people needed for the project.
  • On top of defining the project, a project manager is responsible for reducing it down to a set of manageable and assignable tasks.
  • A PM must manage all team members and address any issues that arise. Along with that, they must be able to adapt to change as projects very rarely go exactly as planned.
  • They are charged with the mission of completing the project on time and within budget – easier said than done!
  • Major skills include being able to see the “big picture,” management, and the ability to direct

The Business Analyst

  • A BA is usually brought on to a project after it has been assigned to a project manager.
  • They are responsible for bridging the gap between the business and IT, as well as communicating with stakeholders.
  • A BA knows the business, as well as the project inside and out.
  • They focus on gathering requirements, making sense of the requirements, and ensuring that the project is adhering to these requirements in order to solve the business problems.
  • Major skills include being detail oriented, excellent listening and communication, and the ability to identify and investigate issues when they occur throughout the course of the project

You may ask, “Can this all be done by one person?” Well, technically yes, and it is not uncommon for smaller companies to have one individual to perform all of the above responsibilities. However, many experts agree that the best case scenario is one where they have both a project manager and a business analyst on a team. This will help ensure that all components of the project can be thoroughly considered in order to deliver a high quality project.   

Do you think each project needs both a business analyst and project manager on the team? Please share your thoughts below. 

Posted By: Briana Perrino

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