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Saturday, April 16, 2011

the BA and the PMO

Down in Sao Paolo this week for a BA Congress I heard a lot of talk about the PMO. Since it was a BA Congress the talk centered on the role of the BA when there is a PMO. One of the interesting answers, one that is being implemented by many companies in North as well as South America, is positioning the BA as the information gatherer for the PMO decision making process. The business analyst defines the real business problem and the conditions and impacts of that problem so that the PMO can make a reasoned decision about whether the problem should be solved. Sometimes the business analyst authors the business case and sometimes the business analyst participates in the creation of the project charter, both of which may be used as decision papers. When the business analyst is assigned to support the project and assist in defining the solution, the business analyst is also keeping an eye on the business to make sure the problem still needs solving so that the organization does not get a zombie project (a project that has lost its life in terms of useful return to the organization, but still continues because no one wants to stop it).
In many of these instances, the business analyst works directly for the independent and objective Project Management Office rather than for IT or some specific business unit. I like the concept.

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