From Business Analyst to Project Manager

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Humans are creatures of movement. Like atoms that bounce off each other to create energy, so human beings look to gain and transmit energy from their surroundings. This is why the phrase “career growth” has been such a topical issue for many years. We look for meaning and challenge in work and when we cease to gain energy from our surroundings we seek to grow.

In this blog, we will cover the transition that many Business Analysts seek to make, from Business Analyst to Project Manager. This transition, however, is not clear-cut as Business Analysts and Project Managers normally collaborate on projects and their roles may become blurred. For this reason, we will define the roles and functions of Business Analysts and Project Managers and where the demarcation can be made. We will outline the key differences between the roles, how the transition can be made and key attributes clients look for, in Project Managers.

The Business Analyst:

The role of a Business Analyst is that of a communicator and planner between the IT department and business stakeholders. They are responsible for the preparation, documentation and confirmation of requirements for the project. They translate business problems or needs into requirements for a solution that maximises value within the business. Business Analysis activities are outlined in a requirements plan.

The key to this role is the analysis and engagement of stakeholders. As a Business Analyst, they focus on stakeholders that are specific to the project. These stakeholders will originate from all affected parts of the business and focus on communication-related to the requirements.

The Project Manager:

Project Managers initiate, plan, execute and close projects managing the key constraints to project management namely: quality, time and cost.

Project Manager

Project Managers cover a more extensive scope related to the project. For example, they will focus on stakeholders that may be outside the project that may have an effect on the project such as competitor activity or interest groups. Project Managers set activities to manageable tasks with clear definition of the project scope and acquisition of resources. They also set the timeframe for the delivery of the project and ensure timely delivery.

Where the Lines Become Clearer

Vicky James (2004) uses PMBOK and BABOK to outline the differences between the roles in a table.

PMBOK® Task

BABOK® Task

4.2 Develop Project Management Plan

2.3 Plan Business Analysis Activities
2.5 Plan Requirements Management
2.6 Manage Business Analysis Performance

4.4 Monitor and Control Project Work

2.6 Manage Business Analysis Performance

5.1 Plan Scope Management
5.2 Collect Requirements

2.5 Plan Requirements Management Process
3.1-4 Elicitation: Prepare, Conduct, Document, Confirm
4.2 Manage Requirements Traceability
4.4.5.1 Requirements Documentation

5.3 Define Scope

5.4 Define Solution Scope

5.4 Create WBS
5.6 Control Scope

4.1 Manage Solution Scope
5.4 Define Solution Scope

5.5 Validate Scope

7.5 Validate Solution

8.3 Quality Control (Testing-monitoring and recording results)

7.6 Evaluate Solution Performance(Results analysis and recommendation)

13.1 Identify Stakeholders

2.2 Conduct Stakeholder Analysis

10.1 Plan Communications Management

2.4 Plan Business Analysis Communication

10.2 Manage Communications
10.3 Control Communications

4.5 Communicate Requirements
2.6 Manage Business Analysis Performance

 

From the table, it is clear Project Managers set the tempo while Business Analysts support its success.

What it takes to be a Project Manager

Companies have a growing need for Project Managers and with rapid changes in the working environment highlight key skills and attributes required to fulfil the role. Prince II, PMP and PMBOK certifications are sort after qualifications. Preference is normally given to Project Managers trained in or with experience in agile methodology. Agile has emerged as a flexible way of developing and updating IT systems in rapidly changing business environments. 

Increasingly companies also seek Project Managers with extensive customer / client-facing experience. Effectively conveying the client’s vision and ideas is essential and this experience aids in making them more adept at communicating with the customer.

Finally, technical expertise or a technical background is always beneficial to IT Project Management roles. Project Managers that began their careers as developers, software engineering or IT infrastructure are normally preferred by employers.

To Sum it all Up

  1. Understand the difference between your current function and the function of the role you wish to progress to.
  2. Obtain the required qualifications to get you there.
  3. Expose yourself as much as you can to projects or activities that give you experience in the required environments.
  4. Get in touch with a Recruiter to help you with your next career move. 

I’m always happy to speak to Business Analysts and Project Managers looking to make their next career move. FRS Recruitment: Contact me on 01 834 0035  - Idah

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