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Picture an ideal employee. What key traits would you see in him/her possess?
The ability to do multiple tasks, embrace new and complex challenges along with updating skills to keep up with changing times.
Well, when it comes to project managers and business analysts, these are traits aren't just a plus, these traits are a necessity.
Project managers have to be open to learning new technologies and professional skills required to manage different roles and to overcome key challenges that come up in their projects. Very often, these projects revolve around revenue generation funnels and business plans that have monetary constraints, metrics, and goals.
It is essential for a business that there is research into better business revenue models and that business processes are optimal in design. Who takes care of all this? The Business Analyst.
Who would you rather be? A Project Manager or a Business Analyst?
A Business Analyst (BA), in general, is a person who is assigned to explore opportunities to bring business /money to any hiring organization.
He is part of the business operation and is generally found relatively high in the hierarchy of the organizations which are into IT Services and Software Solutions. He would be part of the core team that would also include the Project Manager as well as the Finance Manager. Hence, he acts as a liaison between the two, and the client.
As mentioned above, a Business Analyst plays a liaising role between the core team and the clients. But the primary job of BA is to communicate with all the stakeholders and extract the possibility of bringing business to the hiring organization. He is also involved in knowing and validating the changes to business processes, information systems, and policies.
Business Analysts are also assigned to analyze the organizations’ business operations by interpreting the processes, analyzing the data i.e. output rate, gains/losses, and customer feedback.
This would help them to compile and generate reports on issues and drawbacks within the different departments of the hiring organization. The reports help the project/product managers to initiate any corrective/preventive actions.
Some of the other roles that BA would manage are:
In general, a project manager is assigned the task of managing and deliver any project which has defined scope, start and end date, with responsibilities like planning, execution, and control of the project activities.
As we know the project manager is the main driver of the project of a hiring organization, he has multiple roles to play in achieving the project assigned. Some of the key roles of a project manager are listed below:
A professional project manager's role is to manage the assigned project smoothly and control the progress by keeping the project on track, avoid non-conformances to achieve the quality standards set at the beginning of the project.
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By looking at the above information about the roles and responsibilities of a Business Analyst and a Project Manager, one may notice the similarities between the two positions.
But still, both positions exist in many organizations based on their business module.
Both BA and PM play their roles in contributing to the organizations’ business growth. Project managers play leadership roles within the context of the assigned project while Business analysts are individual contributors. Project managers many times play a higher role as whatever he/she created with the team goes to the market and starts giving back to the organization.
Looking at the BA’s role, many times he/she would be the key participants in initiating many projects thus making their role similar to project managers. The dividing line is project managers manage a team while business analysts would be part of the business/marketing team as an individual.
Some of the other roles that overlap are, collecting requirements, planning business analysis/market potential, request for proposals (RFP), defining the scope, gathering customer requirements, and defining business needs.
Few of the other factors which favor combining the roles of Business Analyst and Project Manager are:
There are many professionals in various organizations where they play dual or multiple roles. These may happen many times with BA and PM too. Both are leaders, decision-makers. Hence, can mold themselves to compete with either role. In case any organization does feel the necessity of keeping both roles or may opt to cut the cost on resources or in case the project appears to be small to assign both resources, both BA and PM roles would be combined and assigned as one resource.
If a Business Analyst and the Project Manager keep changing their roles based on the organization’s needs, changing the career for both the professional may prove to be inevitable. This may prove to be advantageous for them keeping in view the market demand as organizations most of the time look for the professional who is capable to manage multiple responsibilities.
When it comes to changing career, project managers get more advantage over the business analyst since project manager many time carry technical competencies as well managerial skills, which may not be so in other as business analyst generally possess business skills and typically focussed on the product despite he/she may contribute to project-related works. Though the competencies overlap the mindset is different.
Considering today’s business situation, business analysts do not have their career path as many organizations do not maintain that vertical, meaning business analysts may not have a senior business analyst position. So it would be more reasonable for the BA to get involved with project management procedures if they ever think to change their career. In many cases, it is seen that project managers attempt to change their career to business analysts, based on the hierarchy within the organization.
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Role Comparison in terms of Competencies
|Competency||Business Analyst||Project Manager|
Apart from the above key difference between the two roles would be:
Business Analyst conducts business analysis and recommends solutions that enable the organization to meet its goals. Whereas,
The Project Manager manages the assigned project through the application of approved/planned management processes using his/her skills to meet the project objectives.
Other general differences are tabulated as below:
Project Manager is an important person as project delivery is concerned so as a Business Analyst for the organization’s business growth. Depending upon the organization’s hierarchy/resource structure, both the roles are managed independently else clubbed together as a single position to manage both business and the projects.
Due to the changing trends in the marketplace, many professionals opt for a Business Analyst role especially the IT/Software sector, as this position plays vital businesses to the organization and for the attractive salary package. But this role has limitations in the organization’s hierarchy.
Project Manager role fits into any type of organizations, for any type of projects they do. This position is widely accepted by most of the professionals because of its growth prospects. Since business and project go hand in hand, project managers would get better opportunities to shift their career to business analysis since most of the project manager skills match with the business analyst position.
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