Business Analysts

New PMI Practice Guide for Business Analysts

The Project Management Institute (PMI) has taken a major step in helping practitioners and organizations address project-related issues associated with requirements and business analysis with the release of Business Analysis for Practitioners: A Practice Guide.

Organizations now use business analysis as a competitive advantage, which has increased the demand for practitioners with business analysis skills. Business Analysis for Practitioners clarifies the roles of anyone who performs business analysis. This guide is unique in that it also includes collaboration points throughout for project managers and business analysts. Taking actionable steps to bridge the gap between these roles will have an immediate positive impact on project performance and organizational success.

This is the fourth practice guide released by PMI and the first to address the growing field of business analysis. PMI’s practice guides are intended to encourage discussion related to areas of practice where there may not yet be consensus. This practice guide is not the “last word” on business analysis because both business analysis and the roles that perform it continue to evolve.  However, the guide represents PMI’s thought leadership on this topic that is so important to the success of projects and programs.

What Is Business Analysis, and why is it so important? Business analysis is the set of activities performed to:

  • identify business needs
  • recommend relevant solutions
  • elicit, document and manage requirements.

Business analysis involves effort in a variety of domains—from identifying business needs to solution evaluation. Within each of these domains is a series of supporting tasks and activities. For practical application, the practice guide defines and explores each of these tasks and activities.

When business analysis is properly accounted for and executed on programs and projects, it provides several benefits:

  • Products and services meet customer expectations
  • More stakeholder are engaged and have buy-in
  • Solutions deliver business value and meet stakeholder needs
  • Business analysis competencies and mature practices are developed that are reusable on future projects
  • With the global environment becoming more complex, organizations that take a proactive approach to requirements activities will improve their competitive advantage by reducing waste and delivering projects that provide greater business value.
  • As organizations begin to recognize how to use business analysis to their competitive advantage, the demand is increasing for practitioners with the required business analysis skills. PMI is dedicated to helping practitioners and organizations succeed with these goals.

    Business analysis involves effort in a variety of domains—from identifying business needs to solution evaluation. Within each of these domains, there is a series of supporting tasks and activities. The tasks and activities refine the broad definition of business analysis and articulate other important aspects, such as:

    • Facilitating the identification of problems or opportunity analysis for portfolio investment
    • Understanding the business environmental context and constraints
    • Analyzing requirements
    • Verifying requirements
    • Evaluating solutions.

    Who is doing business analysis?  Business analysis is being performed by many roles in organizations today, including:

    • Business analysts.
    • Agile team members
    • Business architects
    • Data, functional, operational, systems, or user experience analysts
    • Product managers
    • Project managers
    • Requirements managers or analysts
    • Software requirements analysts
    • Systems or value engineers
    • and many more, including

    Collaboration points within the practice guide are visual callouts that emphasize areas where collaboration between the project manager and business analyst is important and critical to project success. The practice guide also explains the areas of perceived overlap and brings clarity to how the work is similar, but not the same. In the same spirit, collaboration points are also used to call out opportunities for business analysts to work together with other roles in support of projects.

    When the project manager and business analyst are not in sync, tangible and intangible factors impede project success. This lack of synergy leads to project inefficiencies in which critical work is overlooked or duplicated, stakeholders are confused and the project team fails to operate at an optimum level of efficiency. Taking actionable steps to bridge the gaps between the roles will have immediate positive impacts to project performance and ultimately organizational success. PMI may develop a full consensus-based standard if the guide is broadly adopted by our community.

    It is available for free download for members on PMI’s requirements management thought leadership web page, . A print version is available for purchase through the PMI Store.

    Be sure to also visit PMI’s requirements management thought leadership  web page, to learn more about requirements management, business analysis and PMI offerings in this area, such as the PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)® certification.

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