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What is the Difference Between Business Analyst and Project Manager?

Business analyst and project manager are both primarily responsible to study and oversee the efficiency within a certain facet of an organization.

Difference Between Business Analyst and Project Manager

Generally, a Business Analyst focuses more on financial data and the administrative tasks to improve the overall workflow efficiency and helps to reduce costs within a department.

Project Manager focuses less on the financial operations of the Company and more on the progression of a particular task assigned within a particular department to meet deadlines. The table given below gives you more information on salary, job growth, and educational requirements.

Title Education Background Average Salary Job Growth
Business Analyst Bachelor Degree $58,476 7% for Business operations specialists
Project Manager Bachelor Degree $72,001 7% for Business operations specialists

The confusion arises between the two roles if the responsibilities of a business analyst and a project manager are not defined clearly. When professionals are working on a project, they have pressure to deliver the desired outcomes and little thought is given to who should be responsible for which parts of the delivery. A project team works more efficiently when roles are defined clearly. This blog will outline the specific role or responsibilities of a Business Analyst and a Project Manager within a project. You will be sure of where boundaries lie more than with some of the other roles.

Why does it matter defining roles within a Project?

Before we get into the detailed responsibilities for each role, it is important to understand why defining roles for a business analyst or a project manager is essential. Project Productivity is one of the most vital reasons why it is necessary to define roles for each profile separately. When you are working on a small-scale project with shorter timeframes, it is easy to mix the responsibilities of a Business Analyst and a Project Manager and still achieve good results too. However, when you are working on a large project, you will soon realize that mixing responsibilities of a BA and project manager can never give the needed outcome. Generally, professionals working in a large-scale environment not knowing where to start and what to deliver in the end.

Professionalism is considered other important reason why it is an important defining role of BA and project manager clearly. Once you will go through the responsibilities of both profiles, you will realize that each of the roles has a different set of competencies and diluting them will leave these professions undefined. People love to work on dedicated tasks as per their expertize and assigning random tasks to experts will distract them from their professional career goals. If we take it another way then assigning random tasks will make you more responsible to handle tough tasks but it is usually recommended. So, it is the best idea for a business analyst and a project manager to focus on their respective roles. Let us dive deep and understand the responsibilities of a Project Manager and the Business Analyst one by one.

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What are the roles and responsibilities of a Project Manager?

A project manager is a person who ensures that the project is delivered within the decided budget and timeframe. For this purpose, the project manager should design plans, negotiate budgets, align resources, and track the progress of tasks defined within a project. The core responsibilities of a Project Manager are listed below. What are the roles and responsibilities of a Project Manager?

Project Initiation

As discussed, the major responsibility of a project manager is to deliver the final build within the decided timeframe or budget. For this purpose, he has to create a plan or project initiation document or project brief with stakeholders who are sponsoring the project. This document generally covers the project scope, business goals, deadlines or timeframes, budget, risks, assumptions, and the final output as expected by the client.

Project Plan

A project manager is responsible to create, plan, and track the activities of a project against the agreed timeline or project schedule. This task can be given to the project scheduler as well who specializes in managing varied project activities. He has to report the project health and project status to clients on a regular basis.

Project Risks or Issues

A project manager is responsible to manage or resolve risks that occur or identified during the life cycle of a project. This is taken as the main job role for a project manager based on the overall health of a project and this can be an intense activity too sometimes.

Project Support or Maintenance

A project manager has to be sure that all team members are working together without any ego conflicts that help to achieve the desired results as expected. A Project Manager should support individual team member with their own specific issues, risks or stakeholder engagement activities related to their area of expertise. The role of a project manager is very much similar to the facilitator or a supporter to connect all team members together.

Stakeholder Engagement

The key responsibility of a business analyst to manage the stakeholder expectations around the project scope, expected business impacts, and delivery timeframes too. There are more responsibilities too but we tried to focus on core responsibilities here within a project environment.

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What are the responsibilities of a Business Analyst?

The role of a business analyst involves understanding business needs, problems, and translating them into a requirement to get the solution at the organization level. From a practical point of view, most business analysts focus on eliciting requirements from stakeholders, analyze or document those requirements into different artifacts for the consumption of solution architects, developers, software vendors, developers, testers etc. What are the responsibilities of a Business Analyst? Business analysts usually come from different backgrounds with different specializations in areas like accounting, management, business operations etc. Here is a complete list of the typical role and responsibilities of a business analyst within a project environment.

Plan Requirements

A business analyst first creates a plan to describe the business analyst activities as needed for the project. This plan can be a supplement of the overall project plan. It will also include the business analysis approach, resources requirements, and work effort estimates.

Elicit Requirements

A business analyst is also responsible to elicit requirements from different stakeholders in the business that are impacted by the project. It includes responsibilities to identify stakeholder requirements, stakeholder engagement, and manage all requirements outputs received from these stakeholder engagement activities.

Manage Requirements

A business analyst is responsible to manage requirement documents, reviews, prioritize or validate activities etc. A business analyst must manage requirement changes too with tools like the Requirements Traceability Matrix.

Stakeholder Engagement

A business analyst is responsible to engage or communicate with stakeholders from all parts of the affected business on a regular basis. It is important to mention that all interactions with stakeholders have restricted to requirements related engagement.

Where the responsibilities of a BA and project manager get blurred?

Here, we will focus on most critical areas where the roles of both professions get blurred.

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Planning Phase

A project manager is responsible for the overall planning of a project but it is the business analyst who will brief the business analysis tasks. Sometimes, a project manager is solely responsible for the planning of a project with respect to the requirements gathering approaches that ultimately affect the final requirement output. Also, it is necessary for both BA and project manager to agree with the planning boundaries then coordinate the agreed plans.

Stakeholders Engagement

A business analyst and the project manager both need to speak with stakeholders in many cases. It creates a situation where stakeholder might raise a requirement related discussion with the project manager instead of a business analyst. In turn, it creates a situation when the project manager has to add new requirement and he needs to make changes to the existing requirements with stakeholder in the absence of the business analyst. Here, the project manager may ask stakeholder to wait until the business analyst does not come. Indirectly, it will educate the stakeholders too how to engage with different roles within a project. The same situation may arise when stakeholder starts a conversation about the project delivery timeframes with the business analyst but the project manager is more responsible here to update the project status. In this situation too, the business analyst should hold the discussion until the project manager does not come.

Conclusion

With this discussion, you probably come up with a list where roles sometimes get blurred and why is it important to understand the role and responsibilities for both professions. It is important however to point out again a clear understanding of differences between a project manager and a business analyst where roles are overlapping. With a deep understanding of the key differences between the two project roles, you can imagine yourself how much these two roles are similar or even remotely the same.


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