Why Business Analysis is so important for Project Management?
By Mo Haque, MSEE, MSEE, PMP
Business analysis is one of the most talked about subjects in the circle of project managers and unfortunately it is one of the most misunderstood subjects too. Business analysis is the discipline of analyzing business needs (short term & long term) and determining solutions for business objectives. This discipline overlaps the role of a project manager, since he / she has to not only assess the projects but also document detailed requirements and needs of the stakeholders. Often the stakeholders want a solution for their business needs but they are unable to clearly articulate the desired outcome of the solution.
Therefore it is the project manager’s role / task to not only understand the current situation/ pain points but able to document the detailed requirements to provide the desired solution which would be the product of the project. In order to understand the requirements, validate the as-is situation, and obtain stakeholders’ buy-in on the to-be solution, a project manager must use the business analysis discipline.
Business analysis focuses on identifying the changes to an organization that are necessary for achieving its stated project (tactical or strategic) goals. It identifies the roadmap that includes changes to the strategies, structures, policies, processes, and information systems. Business analysis determines the process gaps, inefficiencies and bottle-necks and enables the documentation of as-is processes and provides the hooks for developing business case, which is another role a project manager is required to help with.
Business analysis also provides requirements analysis. So business analysis helps in documenting the detailed requirements of a project. Requirements analysis performed under the business analysis discipline includes analyzing, existing product, versions of the product, and similar products in the market. This enables a project manager to define scope accurately. Business analysis further includes usability analysis (how the product will be used) which is not done in project management discipline.
Other advantages of business analysis are contextual inquiries that deliver understanding of behavior (sociology) of the users involved in the processes, including the records of each activity performed throughout the processes. Business analysis further identifies tasks allocation charts to document distribution of work and the resources needed. The above outputs of business analysis strengthen the project success and reduce the risk of project failure.
SmartPath LLC training hones into the above business analysis outputs and the participants learn based on a real life enterprise case.