Project Manager versus Business Analyst

Program and Project Management


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Program and Project Management > Best Practices > Project Manager versus Business Analyst

Project Manager versus Business Analyst
Vaibhav Behere
How is the role of a project manager different from business analyst? Is a project manager required to know the business process?

Project Manager versus Business Analyst
Luis, Manager, China, Member
In principle, a PM does not need to know the business process. But in a real project, no matter how big the project is, it's helpful for the PM if he knows the business processes so that he can ensure the project is under control.

How is Project Manager Different from a Business Analyst?
Vaibhav Behere
Thank you for the clarification, it's a good first answer.
Who can throw more light on what are the main overlaps and what are the main differences between a project manager and a business analist?

Difference Between Project Manager and Business Analyst
Luis, Manager, China, Member
- A qualified business analist should contribute in requirements collection, clarification, documentation, and translate these to function specification. Also she/he needs to verify the result and support uat.
- A project manager will be responsible for the delivery of this project. In the area of reporting and mornitoring, the project manager also needs knowledge of the business requirements.
Hope the above analysis can help to answer your questions.

Analists Analyze, and PM's Manage :-)
PG van Bladel
A PM is managing a project. That means organizing a temporary organisational structure (people and means) in order to achieve a certain goal.
A business analyst looks at a business matter, in order to provide an analysis for it.
There can be much overlap:
* The whole goal of a PM's project can be to provide an analysis. Then an analyst can be the project manager. But as a PM one always has to look for the aspects that go into running the project. e.g. can my project members do their work? What are risks threatening my project outcome? Am I running late or out of funding?
* A project should have a business case at its core (among other things stating what the benefit of the project is). A business analyst can provide such a business case.
* A project often delivers a product that has to be inserted in a business process. A business analyst can draw such a business processes, and see that the project deliverable fits in.
* Etc.

Project Manager and Business Analyst
Natarajan Ramanathan
In general, the project manager is responsible for the successful execution of a project; whereas the business analyst is responsible in the realms of the business processes.
Having said that, when the project manager does not have domain knowledge and does not have an understanding of the business processes, there are certainly going to be issues in planning, developing and executing a project.

Responsibility Differences Between a Project Manager and a Business Analyst
Esta Lessing, Analyst, Australia, Member
In projects, the Business Analyst and the Project Manager work closely together and they are very dependent on each other to achieve their results. However, these two roles have very different responsibilities when it comes to how to approach the work at hand and who should be driving and executing separate aspects of the project.
Although the role of the Business Analyst and the Project Manager have completely different focuses and responsibilities, the two roles sometimes get somewhat blurred, in particular in 2 areas:
1. PLANNING: The Project Manager has the overall responsibility for the planning of the project, but the Business Analyst is responsible to provide a business analysis approach with effort estimates against all the business analysis tasks.
2. STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT: The Business Analyst and the Project Manager both need to speak to the same stakeholders in many cases. The stakeholder might raise a requirements related discussion with the Project Manager instead of the Business Analyst. This in turn may lead to the Project Manager agreeing a new requirement or a change to an existing requirement with this stakeholder in the absence of the Business Analyst.
You can read this short article which discusses this exact topic to further clarify the role of the Business Analyst versus that of the Project Manager. .

Responsibility Differences Between a PM and a BA
K.Narayana Moorthy, HR Consultant, India, Member
On one hand, a Project Manager and Business Analyst, should be working collaboratively. On the other hand, the two roles do offer a healthy contest in project related decisions. The issue at hand is that there is a lot of uncertainty about the differences in these roles.The result of this uncertainty is cases where one person plays both the roles without enough skills for each, and other cases where the team members do not know who is responsible for what.
Let us then look into these differences:
- A project Manager has the responsibility for the initiation, planning, execution, and closure of a project.
- A Business Analyst is mainly concerned with the end product and ensuring it meets the requirements and demands of the projects's key stakeholders. A BA's primary responsibilities are communicating with stakeholders, gathering requirements, and making sense of these requirements in order to ensure that the end products will solve the business problems at hand.
A PM has to monitor and control project work. A BA has to manage business analysis performance.
A PM has to plan scope management, collect requirements, define scope, control scope, create WBS, manage requirements, traceability, define solution scope, manage solution scope. A BA has to plan requirements management, process elicitation, prepare, conduct, document, confirm, define solution scope, requirements documentation, define solution scope, manage solution scope, manage requirements traceability.
A PM has to validate scope and quality control (testing, monitoring and recording results). A BA has to validate solution, evaluate solution performance (results analysis and recommendation).
A PM has to plan communications, control communications, identify stakeholders. A BA has to conduct stake er analysis, manage business analysis, performance, communication requirements.
Summing up: while the BA is content focused, the PM is process focused. Both are needed for the organization to achieve its goal.

Difference Between a Project Manager and a Business Analyst
Paul D Giammalvo, Professor and Consultant, Indonesia, Member
BA is a term found primarily in IT project management. In construction, particularly oil, gas mining and process plants the BA function is performed by what is known as a "Cost Engineer". This term has been in use since the 1950's and prior to that, it was known as Engineering Economics. In most engineering schools, "engineering economics" is a required course of study. The two primary organizations supporting cost engineering is AACE in the US and AcostE in the UK.
In the military industrial complex, that same function is fulfilled by what is known as a "Systems Engineer". The organization which supports Systems Engineers is INCOSE.
For our IT colleagues, it is a shame that you keep on inventing the wheel when all this has been done before you.

Business Analyst versus Project Manager
K.Narayana Moorthy, HR Consultant, India, Member
While a Business Analyst is content focused (WHAT), a Project Manager is process focused (HOW).
Content and Process are two different frames of reference which may be brought to bear on the same situation, and often highlight quite different aspects of it:
- CONTENT is the common sense angle. It is about taking something at face value. It is the set of tasks and techniques used to work as a liaison among stakeholders to understand, the structure, policies and operations of an organization.
- PROCESS is about the impact of a statement or action on a situation. It is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to provide activities to meet the project requirements.

Primarily the conflict comes from the SCOPE OF THE PROJECT. The PM is against increasing the scope, by adding features or functions to the product. The BA wants changes to meet the requirements/satisfaction of stakeholders.
However it is essential that PM and BA should work collaboratively.
Business process improvement initiatives are continuous. As the organization grows its processes need to be continuously analyzed and refined.
The project team has to accurately document the data. It has to study the risks and appropriate strategies are to be worked out. The PM (in charge of the team) therefore has to be in tune with the business processes.

The Project Manager versus the Business Analyst
James07, Business Consultant, India, Member
The core of the difference is in the title:
  • The PROJECT MANAGER manages the project – “The application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to provide activities to meet the project requirements.”
  • The BUSINESS ANALYST conducts business analysis – “The set of tasks and techniques used to work as a liaison among stakeholders to understand the structure, policies, and operations of an organization, and to recommend solutions that enable the organization to meet its goals.

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