Too Many Hats
At some organizations, project managers
also play the role of business analyst. However, multitasking and the inherent challenge of using different skills for each role
can become a risk factor when the project
is too big for one person to handle both
roles. When the burden gets too heavy, it’s
best to split up responsibilities to keep the
project on the right path.
For instance, Maksym Ovsianikov,
PMI-PBA, PMP, senior technical business
analyst, EPAM Systems, Mountain View,
California, USA, recalls a software project
in which he initially performed both roles
on a 10-member team. But in a short time,
the project had expanded to 35 team
members in different locations—with a
short timeline, large scope and a high
number of requirements. Mr. Ovsianikov
began to spend a huge amount of time
simply developing schedules, organizing
meetings and creating minutes. He realized
he needed help.
Because Mr. Ovsianikov knew the
product well, he chose to focus on business
analyst responsibilities and asked another
person to become the project manager.
“We agreed who would cover what, who
would handle which tasks and how we
would effectively collaborate,” he says.
The new project manager focused on
communication, project planning and solving issues within the team. Mr. Ovsianikov,
meanwhile, remained the primary point
of contact for the customer, eliciting and
translating requirements and the vision of
the product to the software development
team. “It was a really good decision—our
customer was really satisfied,” he says.
“The project manager looks inward toward
solution is being built right, while the bu
customer and organization to ensure th
Inviting business analysts to planning sessions
or other project management meetings also helps
them get a front-row view of the pressures that
project managers face on a daily basis, says Michael
Brown, senior technical writer, Lockheed Martin,
Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. Mr. Brown’s role
encompasses many of the responsibilities often
handled by a business analyst.
“Techniques are great, but understanding is
always better,” Mr. Brown says. “Because once the
project manager understands the problem the busi-
ness analyst is trying to solve, and once the business
analyst understands the project manager’s deci-
sions are driven by pressures out of their control,
then more appropriate techniques can be created
But the relationship shouldn’t be all business.
Lunch meetings or other social activities, such as
playing a sport together, allow the project manager
and business analyst to develop a personal bond
that can ease professional tensions.
“;is helps the working relationship, because you
can push the boundaries and challenge each other,”
Mr. Chute says. “;at’s not the case with strangers
or even acquaintances. You may have a very di;erent
view than that person, but you wouldn’t challenge
that view as strongly as with somebody you know.”
From Both Flanks
By playing to each other’s strengths—and compensating for each other’s weaknesses—project managers and business analysts can produce better results.
But if one party steamrolls the other, the project
outcome will most likely su;er.
When project constraints are too rigid, for exam-