The Role of Business Analysis in Project Management
Business analysis has become a critical tool for modern businesses. However, its role is particularly more important in project management.
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Why Business Analysis is Crucial in Project Management
Success in project management is measured by completing projects within stipulated timeframes without exceeding budgeted costs. Business analysis complements project management perfectly since its very function and purpose revolves around delivering maximum value to stakeholders.
Business analysis achieves this by navigating through structural bureaucracies and comprehensively mapping out an entire project ecosystem which will provide a bird’s-eye view of process inefficiencies, systemic weaknesses and technological shortcomings, as well as tabulating data for future review and analysis. Its other roles in project management include:
(i) Internal Communication
Business analysts facilitate and streamline the communication of complex processes and technical details between stakeholders from various departments. This helps project managers to establish clear roles and areas of responsibilities which will translate to less uncertainties and consequently, higher productivity.
(ii) Establishing Requirements
Business analysts establish the requirements of each stakeholder and department. This ensures that planning, testing, roll out and integration of products, processes and services will run smoothly without impacting existing roles and functions. Vague or constantly changing requirement is actually very common in large businesses, and as a result, typically leads to operational inefficiency and wasted resources.
(iii) Development and Deployment
Development and deployment of new processes or products are heavily reliant on established requirements and communications provided by business analysis. In its absence, projects tend to encounter more hurdles and challenges owing to unclear objectives and boundaries.
(iv) Strategic Planning
Businesses cannot develop strategies in isolation. They have to factor in market, consumer, regulatory, political and environmental considerations, to name a few, when developing strategies and plans. Business analysis provides project managers with accurate information and data set to enable them to develop informed strategies for projects. Today, research and development projects cannot even begin without input and insights from business analysts as the wrong strategy is not only costly, but could set a company back for years, decades even. Think of Nokia and how badly they read the market. Its fall from a 90 plus percent stranglehold of the market dip to below 1% in less than a decade – all because they chose the wrong operating system to build their products on.
Cognisant of this fact, many companies now insists that their project executives take a business analyst course to equip them with the needed skillset to manage their future projects.