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Saturday, December 3, 2011

The slash - working as one

One of the bigger issues in the world of business analysis nowadays is the wearing of multiple hats. The business analyst is asked to prepare a business case for a project and then when the business case is approved is asked to take over as project manager, and, incidentally, also perform the expected business analyst duties. Coming from the other direction, the project manager is assigned a project team without a business analyst and told to take care of the requirements as part of the project manager job. I call people in these situations, "slashes", as in "Business analyst / project manager".
Why does this happen? Mostly belt tightening. Organizations have to cut corners and save expenses so they combine roles. And on smaller projects this might work fairly well depending on the business analyst or project manager who is awarded the "slash". However, any project of depth, complexity, length, size, or visibility is going to be in grave danger of failure with one person trying to do both roles. The danger specifically to the business analyst is that ALL the responsibility for the project will end up on the "slash's" shoulders. There is no one else. One hopes that the combination of the roles is not simply a ruse to gain someone at which to point fingers.
In upcoming blogs I'll talk about the issue of the "slash" and how you can handle the situation, short of dusting off the resume, and turn it into a break even if not an outright success.