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Demystifying business analysis for project managers

Beata Green
July 13, 2015

While it may seem to many that the benefits of business analysis are obvious, the truth is that many businesses don’t completely understand how analysis can help their business. In actuality, business analysis can be the glue that holds a business together.

What do business analysts do? Business analysts help to make projects easier to understand by breaking them down into smaller and more manageable pieces. Testing and developing is also made far easier by business analysts. They also help to keep all projects on task by documenting their scope.

Support: Sometimes during challenging projects, project managers can become overwhelmed by reports, budgets and schedules. Business analysts can help by providing their support, both to project managers, their teams and their sponsors.

Communication: They also help to keep communication lines open by filling in any gaps when there is a breakdown. As well, any confusion as far as requirements, testing or scope can be eliminated with the explanations and assistance of a business analyst.

Benefit increase: Professional business analysts understand how to increase a company’s potential benefits. Not only can they uncover new business needs, but they can ensure that the priorities of a business are focused on value.

The future of business analysis

Business analysts will be asked to take on several project roles, including testing and project management. Many of them will also begin to offer their services on a specialist basis, such as scoping, cost-benefit analysis and IT project requirements.

Those who already have a background in business analysis will continue their migration to more influential positions in the area of organisation. As a result, their title may change from ‘business analyst’ to a more appropriate moniker. However, this may also cause more confusion and disagreement over their exact responsibilities and job description.

Hiring a business analyst

Companies questioning whether or not to hire a professional business analyst or a project manager should ask themselves what kinds of value each can bring to a project. In some cases, a project manager may have analyst experience. That being said, it is important to determine how well they can examine facts and other information, whether they can ask the right questions and perform thorough research. Finally, they must be able to aggregate and distil information into several charts, workflows, and other documents.

Any professional business analyst being considered for a spot on your team should have experience in the IT discipline you require. While this may seem like an obvious consideration, there can be a world of difference between one IT discipline and another.

Effective documenting, problem-solving skills, and industry knowledge are other qualities that a professional business analyst should possess. They should also have current core competencies and be motivated and self-directed.

Finally, a business analyst should have the communication and skills necessary to work as a team to solve problems.

Beata Green
Beata Green is managing director of HeadChannel Ltd, a London-based bespoke software development company. She is responsible for overall strategic direction and overseeing the company’s continuing growth, building closer client relationships and maintaining best working practices.
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