Is this a sign that the PMI’s BA certification is of more value?

Venus and Mars

In a recent ProjectTimes articleKiron Bondale described the oft-seen misalignment between Project Managers and Business Analysts.

In his article, he lists some comments made by each about the other…

From the business analysts, common complaints about project managers include:

  • Appear to be focused solely on cost or schedule constraints without also embracing the criticality of having good quality requirements
  • Demonstrate an unwillingness or inability to provide assistance in ensuring that stakeholders are attending and contributing to requirements gathering or review sessions
  • Don’t bother to read or understand high-level project requirements documents
  • Support or initiate scope change decisions without proactively engaging the business analyst

On the other side, I’ve frequently met project managers who complain about business analysts who:

  • Appear to have no sense of time or cost constraints when producing their deliverables or appear unable or unwilling to provide effort or duration estimates for their work
  • Produce requirements documents which are unusable by other project team members or which don’t address the customer’s stated and unstated needs
  • Appear to forget that the second word in their job title actually implies the task of analyzing, distilling and refining requirements as opposed to just parroting what’s been received from stakeholders
  • Become unavailable for the remainder of the project’s lifetime as soon as their requirements documents have been signed off

A lot of these comments see very familiar to me. As a Business Analyst, I have often felt that the interests of the Project Manager weren’t always in the interest of the customer. More or less exactly what the comments above describe.

I guess because, often, the BA is the one that is talking with the various stakeholders (from Management level through to the people performing the business tasks each day), that it the BA feels that they “really understand” what the real users want, as well as understanding their pain points.

As a professional, also, the BA wants to ensure that they have correctly, and thoroughly captured the users needs, and business/technical requirements, so that these are reflected in the final outcome. This sometimes takes more effort than planned for, or expected. And this can cause issues with the PM’s expectations who, while also wanting to provide a good solution, is also concerned with things such as costs, ongoing impact, etc.

Does this “misalignment” occur because PMs are from Mars, and BAs from Venus? That because they come from different “worlds”, they have different views on reality? If so, realising that the PM is the one that is “in charge” of the project, would it mean that a BA with a better appreciation of the world/ideology/background of the PM be of more value to the project?

And … does this mean that the BA certification offering from the Project Manager Institute, is going to play a bigger part in projects in the future?

Your thoughts … ?

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7 thoughts on “Is this a sign that the PMI’s BA certification is of more value?

  1. Its too nascent enough to comment on whether the PMI-PBA is really valuable compared to IIBA’s CBAP/CCBA, but I can for sure tell that the need for Business Analyst’s is really growing. Its also good for Business Analysts that they read PMBoK and understand how to manage project and its vital ingredients ‘REQUIREMENTS’ as well. I can just say that with one stone you are hitting ‘TWO BIRDS’ so its certainly advantageous for both BA’s and PM’s. I also feel it would be a holistic/completely circle of a project all the way from requirements elicitation till project execution. I am certainly sure that will take up the certain for sure.

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    • You’ve got it exactly right. Having an understanding of what’s important for the other, appears to be extremely valuable. And, as you say, it form a holistic/complete circle of a project.

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  2. The ability to plan the Business Analysis effort, including providing estimate of duration, is a core competency for any BA. While some (perhaps less experienced) analysts would prefer to jump into detail quickly, most acknowledge that without a good, well thought through plan the BA effort will suffer. My experience suggests that BAs *do* care about time and cost; however they understand that stakeholders quickly forget about how quickly their solution was deployed and how little it cost them, when it does not really fit their business needs well.
    While change is usually (and best) delivered via a project, a seasoned BA understands that the BA effort extends beyond projects. So a certification from the PMI will at best be mostly of value to less experienced BAs who spend their time in well defined and scoped projects, not those more senior analysts working in the enterprise space, where there is arguably more value for the analyst and organisation.

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    • you summed it up nicely John, the BA effort does extend beyond a project. And, as you said, it feels like the PMI certificate will be “project-focused” (naturally). I am curious how this will play out.

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  3. A well written article from both perspective, but I think we missed highlighting that the new PMI-BA course is something which agrees with the need and importance of Scope management for the success of project also a Business Anslyst who acts as a Project manager..As most of us as PM might have donned the hat of a BA and liasioned with stakeholder to understand his needs and documented a. Business requirement document or a SRS ..but from a system requirement angle not from the business angle, similarly a BA also donnes the PM hat , apart from giving the effort estimation for the Business Analysis activities ,which basically contains the scope of any project…he also ends up getting it delivered at customer end.An advantageous point the BA has here is he understand the clients language , his pain points and hence. Aptly prioritize his product backlog based on his needs and desires with cost and effort in mind.which clearly displays the BA importance in Project management as he is the owner of the scope which decides the success or failure of s project..even if we deliver a world class solution within budget & schedule, without meeting the Acceptance criteria of client..which anyway results in a failure..their comes the BA the Requirements or scope incharge who makes sure things are delivered as per customers expectations, but with a slight delay…How did he achieve it due to his ability to speak his customers language..
    PMI BA certification is something from the angle of equiping PM who are mere executioners(project focussed) to align with Stakeholder angle also.Also this makes a recognition of Business Analyst who donned the PM role

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  4. About this certification its upto a candidate to take a call, what is he actually looking by getting this certification.if someone is aiming to be Risk Management specialist he will consider PMI-risk management course and Isaca Risk Management course..weigh the pros and cons..if one needs a brand he will go with ISACA as against PMI-Risk Management as the former are pioneer in that choosen field unless PMI stand at par over the years..then comes cost and need to make the call

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    • Interesting comment – Thanks. I hadn’t heard of ISACA before. The training material seems very good. Have you had any experience with this yourself?

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