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5 Strategies for Better PM-BA Relationships

The relationship between the Project Manager and the Business Analyst is so important to the strength of a project and its overall outcome that it should not be left up to chance. In an ideal world, a project’s PM and BA:

  • Have worked together with mutual respect and trust
  • Share a common understanding of project methodology , the requirements process and critical success factors
  • Consider each other as peers
  • Have a deep understanding and appreciation of the other’s role and tasks
  • Are comfortable communicating and negotiating with each other

Some of these conditions cannot be created. They are determined by the individual PMs and BAs involved. But the bottom line is that in order for a project to succeed, and future projects to be do well, the PM and BA need to have a healthy relationship that can handle turbulence and disagreement in an open but respectful manner.

Produce a Good Pair

Given the importance of the rapport between the PM and the BA on project team performance, how can an organization nurture this key ingredient of project success?  Here are five basic strategies you can employ:

  1. Train and cross training PMs and BAs on methodology and roles. Each should understand the responsibilities of the other and agree on how to attain outcomes.
  2. Build two-person teams of PMs and BAs who can work together more than once so they can get to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
  3. Reward collaboration and cultivate PMs and BAs who exhibit the best characteristics of their respective roles.
  4. Chose PMs and BAs who naturally understand the value of compromise and work actively together to manage risk.
  5. Develop a mindset where professionals over-communicate to ensure that nothing gets missed.

Amid the training and collaborative exercises, be sure to pay close attention to the interdependencies of the two professionals. One of the major strategic areas of overlap between the PM and BA roles, for example, is the area of scope definition and management. These professionals should be deeply involved in discussions such as this which are deceptively straightforward, but end up playing havoc on schedules and budgets.

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