A project is typically managed by a Project Manager in terms of completion times and dates and budgets set. However, most projects require business analysts, especially within projects that require tech implementation and changes. Their roles typically involve documenting user requirements, developing and testing technology systems. In large organisations, the business analyst will work alongside a project manager to ensure the smooth running of a project. However, in a small business, the project manager may be expected to take on the responsibilities of a business analyst. Due to this, some may ask, why are business analysts so critical to a project?
Managing the tech team
Although a project manager with a tech background will have no problem managing a tech team, a business analyst will be able to give more time to the team and manage and create decisions. The business analyst will hold team discussions, give directions and resolve any conflicts that occur during the project within the tech team. This will be a daily activity that the business analyst will hold whilst the project manager will deal with other requirements. The tech team will need daily guidance, direction and requirements which would be delayed if it was down to the project manager to give. The business analyst will handle these situations to ensure the smooth running of the project. The experienced business analyst will also understand what the tech team will need to implement during this project and therefore it will be easier for them to translate when discussing future requirements with other stakeholders on the project.
Making creative decisions on the project
Although most people would believe that the project manager makes most of the decisions on a project, a business analyst is more likely to take on this role without causing such a delay in response. Communication is key for a business analyst during a project as they are constantly communicating with the team and customer throughout the project lifecycle. They are used to making on the spot decisions regarding the designs or development of a project as constantly putting every design change through to the project manager would cause a delay in the project.
Leading and reviewing the business processes
Having detailed and complex requirements are an essential part of a project. Although the project manager leads the project overall, the business analyst is the one reviewing business processes, meeting with the project customers and working with the project team to ensure they are following the correct requirements. They also help with the designs specifications which will lead the project into the technical design phase of the project. It is possible for project managers to do these things, but on large projects, it is likely that the business analyst will do most of the real work on the technical engagement whilst the project manager’s attention is elsewhere.
Ensuring the engagement of the project customer
It can be damaging to a project if the project customer is disconnected from the project and isn’t kept up to date regarding the process. If the project customers become distant for a period of time, it can be hard to get certain tasks completed. Decisions then become delayed, questions about certain requirements aren’t answered and it may seem impossible for the project to proceed which can be frustrating for all parties involved. However, this is another reason why business analysts are critical to a project as they help to keep the project customer engaged throughout the project. Business analysts recognise this challenge and they work on keeping up the daily communications with the project manager to help keep the project customer involved.
You can find out more about the roles and responsibilities of a business analyst here.