Over the last few months I have been in more discussions than I can count about the role of the business analyst, project manager vs. business analyst, where the business analyst fits in on an agile team, and which roles are needed to make a successful team.  They have been wonderful passionate conversations.  With each discussion I kept coming back to the same conclusion…it’s all about teamwork.

When I look back at what made some projects challenged and others widely successful it came down to all team members doing what was needed to reach the goal regardless of their role.  I don’t know about you, but I never had the luxury of the having the best in class PM, BA, development team, and QA analyst.  Since that was the case my most successful teams would discuss what needed to be done (tasks) to accomplish our goal and who on the team was the best person to complete or assist with that task.  I would say 85-90% of everyone’s tasks fell in line with their role.  The other 10-15% was filled with tasks that individuals were more qualified to accomplish.  This 10-15% is what made those teams great.  When team members have the attitude of “what can I do to help the team” you’ll have more success.  Chances of failure increase when team members bring an attitude of “that task is not in my job description.”

This point was illustrated beautifully by Lee Scott and Dawn Solem of VSP in their presentation Business Analyst & Project Manager – The Strategic Partnership to Project Success at the PW & WCBA conference in Anaheim last month.  Thank you Lee and Dawn.

Defining roles have its place, but to be a successful team you have to figure out how to use everyone’s expertise and skills regardless of roles.

Please add your thoughts and comments!

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