We addressed some actions you can take when you are both project manager and business analyst in the last couple of blogs, now let’s talk about attitude.
One of the problems with being both a business analyst and a project manager or even a business analyst and a system analyst or maybe all three is that the tasks and activities are basically the same. Both roles define problems, communicate with all levels of the organization, define solutions, define requirements, assess risk, perform stakeholder analysis, define and maintain scope, handle changes, plan, manage expectations, and so forth. The difference is in focus.
The business analyst focuses on all things pertaining to the business or the product (the result of the project). The project manager focuses on all things pertaining to the project. In other words, while the project manager identifies and assesses project risk, the business analyst identifies and assesses product or business risk. The project manager defines problems in the execution of the project. The business analyst defines problems in the business. And so forth. To the degree that you can retain and not confuse your focuses will be the degree of success you achieve as a slash.
Keep in mind a couple of tenets. The project manager has authority; the business analyst does not. This means that when you make pronouncements about the project make sure you are not doing it while performing the business analyst role. To retain as much of the checks and balances that are built in when there are two people playing the roles, keep your focus as business analyst away from the project. For the most part, the business analyst should not be concerned with deadline or budget. The business analyst is focused on delivering the solution to the business problem. The project manager however is very much concerned with the project deadline and budget.
The project manager will resist any changes that will impact those constraints while the business analyst should resist any attempts to reduce scope to fit the constraints where the reduction causes the problem not to be solved completely. This is a healthy relationship, as long as it remains professional. As a slash, you may have to argue with yourself about these issues. But that should be all right in today’s environment since most people will assume you are talking on your cell phone.
The tricks discussed in the last blog are techniques to assist you in maintaining separate focuses. There are some other tricks we can talk about in the next edition.