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25 June 2007

PMs and BAs working together

Often the things I post about are triggered by events at work. Sometimes it takes a few months to get around to posting, but generally I am reflecting on lessons I have learned one way or another.

Here‘s a lesson I am happy to say I learned from someone else’s experience. People will lie to you about what is going on in a project. “Everything is fine” they say as another milestone is missed and covered up. You trust the wrong people. And sometimes on a busy project you miss the lies.

There is a lesson in there, and it offers an opportunity to extend an idea from a couple of blog posts from earlier this year.

One of them was by Barbara Carkenord who wrote about why a BA is a valuable partner for a project manager. Read the article here: Why Does a Project Need a Project Manager and a Business Analyst?

Beyond the fundamental differences in the roles' focus there are other benefits. Barbara's focus was on the way the BA is focused on the operational stakeholders and the PM should be focused on the sponsor and strategic stakeholders.

An analogy is the way large corporations have a CEO and a COO. The CEO is focused outwardly on shareholders stakeholders and the press, while the COO is dealing with managing (and often transforming) the day to day operations.

The PM and the BA have to trust each other and work well together. If they do they can share knowledge and warn each other about potential pitfalls and risks. The relationship should be intimate and honest and should be established early in the project while there is time to work through the process of establishing a common language and set of expectations. Two sets of eyes are better than one.

Have you got that relationship on your project?