BAs and PMs working together (part 3)

Last week I wrote about what project managers value when working with business analysts. This week I want to focus on what we don’t.

Don’t worry: it’s not that bad!

The differences in the ways that project managers work and the ways that business analysts work means that it’s not always easy to work together.

For example, project managers don’t like working with business analysts who insist on the slavish application of the Business Analysis Book of Knowledge. You must tailor your methodology, choosing the bits that apply to your project. To be fair, we don’t like the slavish application of any methodology: PMBOK®, PRINCE2® or anything else. Don’t complete methodology process steps for the sake of it. If it isn’t relevant, don’t do it, whatever ‘it’ is. It will just be a waste of your time and not valued by the rest of the team. Learn to pick and choose from your methodology and only use what makes sense in the context of your project.

We don’t much like lots and lots of detail either. That isn’t to say that BAs shouldn’t do it: after all, someone has to. BAs care about quality and stakeholder satisfaction and this is evidenced by the detail required in functional analyses, swim lane diagrams and use cases. What I mean is that we don’t really want to hear about it. Tell me what the requirements are and I will trust that you have run the workshops to get it right. I don’t need to live through a blow-by-blow account of your customer interviews. This ties in to the communication point I mentioned last week: it’s all about tailoring your communication to the audience who is receiving it.

Finally, we don’t like an ‘I just need to…’ attitude. I’m sure you have all worked with someone who wouldn’t give up a task until they were completely sure that everything was validated, ratified and signed off in blood. In a modern, agile, business, that doesn’t wash. Sometimes, good enough is, well, good enough. Don’t strive for perfection in tasks where it doesn’t matter. Apply the Pareto principle: sometimes that final 20% won’t make a significant enough difference. So drop it. In order to hit those OTOBOS principles, you need to take the approach that you have to start a task at some point. Being held up by ‘I just need to…’ people means frustration and slipped milestones for everyone.

Next week I’ll be talking about how to improve the working relationships between project managers and business analysts.

Missed previous instalments of this ‘working together’ series?
Read part 1 here:  the triple constraint
Read part 2 here: what project managers value

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Similar Posts