Project Manager vs. Business Analyst - Adaptive US

Ann P
4 min read
6/23/22 5:45 AM

Who is a Project Manager?

A Project manager is a professional performing project management. It is the responsibility of the project manager to plan, procure, monitor, and execute a project in any undertaking with a defined scope, defined start, and a defined finish, irrespective of the industry.

Some of the Key Activities of a Project Manager are:

  • Project Focused: The primary duty of the project manager is to focus on the planning and organizing of a project and its resources. It is totally dependent on the project manager to identify what Lifecycle would be used, formulate the project team, plan for risk and resources and efficiently guide the team throughout the Project.
  • Project Planning: The project manager is in charge of the project planning phase. This is where the project manager builds the project roadmap, including the project plan, scope, schedule, constraints, work breakdown structure, and risk analysis.
  • Project Monitoring: Without asking, we already know the project manager must monitor the Project from start to finish, some of which includes tracking a project's metrics, progress, and all the tasks involved in ensuring that the task is delivered on time, on the specified budget and according to requirement and standards specified by the project owners.
  • Task Analysis: The project manager's duty is to perform the task analysis, which involves breaking down the entire project into smaller bits up to the smallest deliverables and dividing the task among the different project teams.
  • Project Lifecycle: The success of a project is largely, though not fully dependent on the Project Manager from start to finish; they are in charge of the entire Lifecycle of the Project. The project lifecycle includes initiating, planning, executing / monitoring, and closing.

Who is a Business Analyst?

A business analyst is a professional who analyses, documents, and brings improvement to business processes, products, services, and software through data analysis. Business analysts are also called change agents.

Highlighted below are some of the activities of a Business Analyst

  • Business Need Focused: A business analyst focuses entirely on the business need. They are centered on what EXACTLY the business needs and ensure its actualization.
  • Requirement Planning: This is where the BA plans what is needed to carry out a project. During this stage, the BA sets up a management team to define the cost and benefit of the project, select a project team, and set out the detailed stages that will be carried out.
  • Requirement Elicitation: One of the most important aspects of being a Business analyst is knowing what requirements are and how to elicit them. Requirement elicitation involves investigating and clarifying the business needs in order to determine underlying issues and causes. The goal is to draw out or obtain requirements from stakeholders.
  • Requirement Analysis: This is where the business analyst organizes the elements that are discovered during elicitations. The requirements are organized, specified, modeled, designed, verified, and validated.
  • Requirement Lifecycle: The BA manages the entire lifecycle of a project from the beginning to the end. Some processes include monitoring, planning, analyzing, managing, and communicating organizational requirements.

Similarities between a Project Manager and a Business Analyst

  • Stakeholder Collaboration: Both the PM and the BA conduct stakeholders' collaboration. They both manage the stakeholders in order to achieve an end goal. Stakeholder collaboration is simply stimulating the stakeholders to work together to accomplish a common goal. Stakeholders are people who are affected by a project directly or indirectly. Stakeholders include project sponsors, customers, end-users, etc.
  • Risk Management: Both the PM and BA conduct risk management. They both identify, plan for mitigation and manage potential problems/risks that could impact the Project's performance.
  • Scope Management: Both the PM and the BA carry out scope management. Scope management is the total amount of work that must be done in order for a project to be delivered within the specified timeline and resources. This enables them to avoid what is known as scope creep, where a project starts to have uncontrolled change that might lead to project failure.
  • Estimation: Both the PM and the BA carry out estimation. This is where the PM and the BA analyze all it would take for a project to be successful. This includes the time, cost, resources, etc.

Differences between a Project Manager and a Business Analyst

  • Skillset Difference: While the skillset of a Business Analyst and Project Manager might seem almost the same, the core skillset is peculiar to each role. For a BA, their skills are bringing improvement with the help of changes in process, tools and technology, process modeling, data visualization, data review, data-driven decision making, and expertise in BA tools such as MS Visio, Jira, Balsamiq Adobe Acrobat, databox, etc. The PM skill set includes expertise in project management tools such as click up, Hive,, Trello Etc.
  • Stakeholder Management and Project Management: For a business analyst, stakeholder analysis skills are a must, while in project management, the Project Manager must learn to initiate, plan, and execute a project within its set boundaries
  • The Professional Aspect: There are many professional bodies for project management. The Project Management Institute (PMI) manages certifications, like Project Management Professionals (PMP). The International Project Management Association (IPMA) is the umbrella body for National Organizations like the Association for project management in the UK and more.

One of the leading bodies for Business Analysis is The International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA). They are incharge of the 'Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK)' and the certifications like CBAP, CCBA, and ECBA.

Every Project needs a Project Manager, as much as a Project needs a Business Analyst. A forum participant at Modern Analyst suggests that one analyst can support 4 to 8 developers, so you'd need more Business Analysts in the team if your Project has more developers. Research has shown that projects perform better and deliver higher value with a Business Analyst. The end product is more thorough, more aligned to the business needs, and a better fit for the systems and organizations, especially if IT is involved or you are working with more systems.

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