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We have employed two Business analysts and I'm not sure how they relate to my role as a PM. Does anyone know how their role should relate to me as the manager of the project as a whole?

  • Are you performing the role of Product Manager or Project Manager? (or both?!) – Marv Mills Aug 13 '15 at 8:36
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The answer to this will likely depend on your organisation.

At my last company, BAs were the product owner for the team and wrote stories, conducted research and made all prioritisation calls on the features their team were working on at the time. Product Managers were more probably more like a programme manager, setting the priority of the overall roadmap for multiple teams.

In my current org, it's closer to how AgileSteve describes things with Product Managers tending towards a more strategic, outward facing view and BAs looking more inside the team, making sure acceptance criteria cover all cases.

With uncertainty in your org about where the role boundaries lie, you have two risks.

  • Both the PM and the BA think they should be doing a task and you duplicate effort.
  • Both the PM and the BA think the other person is doing a task and it gets forgotten.

I'd advise getting both groups together for a contracting session.

Identify tasks/responsibilities that as a group you think belongs to one role or other and which activities could justifiably belong to both roles. Whether you decide up front who does the activities that could sit in either role or whether you decide to let that happen organically for different teams isn't too important at this point, the main thing is making sure everyone knows what the grey area activities are so they communicate sufficiently about them.

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Business Analysts will understand the customers needs and deliver a fully comprehension of the business requirements for the project and how these requirements can be met. The PM must coordinate the whole process of the project, making sure that all the stakeholders will receive the information needed for their work, that the scope will be followed, that the schedule and budget will be not surpassed and so on.

So, BAs will feed the project manager with the requirements and solution to be delivered, and the PM will ensure that everything will run as planned during the project execution until it is finished. You manage the project, they manage the business needs.

Try this link. It offers some explanation about the difference between these roles.

Hope it can help!

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It really depends on how your organization is structured. Malkav describes what I would consider the typical interaction between project manager and BA in a more waterfall oriented organization. BA's are also supports to product managers in that they often flesh out higher level requirements and help the implementing team bridge the gap between business and technical knowledge.

BA's in a more Agile organization will not feed the project manager or Product Manager requirements. They may assist the Product Owner or Product Manager or replace the Product Owner in feeding the team business requirements in the form of user stories. The BA will also assist with prioritization, researching customer behaviors, and identifying people and process impacts that go along with a technology-based project. The interaction between the BA and the project or product manager then may change in that the PM serves the BA (like any other team member) to ensure the BA has access to all the right resources while ensuring all stakeholders in the project have sufficient visibility and feedback opportunities to ensure the BA adds value to the team and optimizes the business value delivered.

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Is your role of Product Manager - taking in the role of Product Owner?

Assuming you are the PO, perhaps you can spend majority of your time, talking with the stakeholders, and understanding their needs etc. You can then specify the priority and the epics (and perhaps the high level stories). The BA (or agile BA) can then look after the details for the stories, and be the point of contact for the dev team.

tl;dr - PO can be more stakeholder facing, and work with epics; BA can be more dev team facing, and take the epics and work on stories

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In the organization I am part the PM is the manager of the scope and the schedule. The BA is the keeper of the business requirements and watches over the testing team to ensure understanding of the documented requirements.

I, as the PM, ensure that all original scope goals are met on time. I treat my BAs as the leader of the requirements team and my interest is that it gets completed on time and that the final product is presentable to the customer for UAT.

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