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This paper explores the relationship between project managers and business analysts, the friction that can arise between the two and how to overcome it.
While there is some overlap between business analysis and project management, these are two areas with different perspectives on projects that can cause friction. We explore what is meant by project management and by business analysis, and look at the particular skills and perspectives of each discipline. There are also wide areas of overlap between the two, which we lay out. We look at changes in the role of the business analyst over the years and how this has shifted the relationship with project managers.
We share the results of asking nearly 400 project managers and business analysts about the relationship between the two roles. This work began with the responses of over 200 participants during an interactive webinar in July 2014 (Pullan). These answers were refined during an online survey carried out in January-February 2015. The survey had 186 participants from countries including UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Ireland and sixteen others.
The results of the research show that there are issues caused by the project manager, business analyst and the organization, which can be overcome by good communication, trust, respect, rapport, mutual understanding, and a shared language. Organizations can help by including business analysis from the start of each project, ensuring clear roles and responsibilities for both roles, supporting their project teams with a clear vision of the end goal and providing good governance.