The Trifecta: BA + PM + IT = WIN!
How well does your organization leverage institutional business analysis (BA) and project management (PM) experience within IT projects? From an enterprise perspective, most organizations recognize that there is a disconnect between knowledge of processes and the effective application of that knowledge. It has been talked about and written about for years within the PM and BA communities. So how can organizations bridge the gap between institutional knowledge and project results? The answer is to synchronize IT, project management and business analysis competencies so that those skills translate into capabilities.
IT departments and staff do project work. This is not a mystery. Projects (in a perfect world) have a project manager who is expected to do what project managers do: plan, monitor and control projects. Projects (again, in a perfect world) also have a business analyst who collaborates with stakeholders and the IT staff, who work to define the requirements that will deliver the product that either solves the business problem or seizes the business opportunity. Sounds easy, right?
But, the world isn’t perfect. Many times, IT staff aren’t given a clear vision or scope of what the project is intended to achieve. Without this context the project manager doesn’t know what set of features, goals or objectives success will be measured against. If business requirements aren’t defined or tied to a strategic business goal, business analysts won’t know how to measure the value, priority or feasibility of scope items. The end result of the project: chaos.
If you are in charge of project managers and they have been managing your projects on instinct rather than by a consistent, repeatable methodology, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Taking a PMI-approved PM course can set the conditions for your project managers to achieve consistently better results. As a supervisor, it gives you the confidence that your project managers aren’t just making it up as they go along. PM education can also standardize the deliverables or outputs that your project managers deliver to you, making your job easier.
But even the best project manager will not be successful managing projects if the scope of those projects is not properly defined and aligned with business objectives and organizational strategy. Enter BA training. The International Institute of Business Analysis™ (IIBA®) has developed a framework that makes requirements management and BA both structured and consistent. A framework is the best defense against ever changing, out-of-scope requirements. Invest in defining the business need, project goals and requirements up front – it will save you misery and heartache on the back end when you are left to fix what never should have been a problem in the first place.
When you spend the time to do it right, organizationally, projects don’t have to be daunting. Your IT staff are trained and competent, but they can’t do it alone. Once your project managers have the PM skills to keep things on track, and your business analysts have the BA competencies and tools to define the scope of the product properly, only then do you achieve the Trifecta!