I think it depends on what you enjoy doing the most. I have had the opportunity to run the Project Management Office for a £120 million programme of work whilst also doing my day job of being a Business Analyst (at the time a junior one) I enjoyed some aspects of the role such as the increased exposure to senior stakeholders, overall it just wasn’t for me.
But I know people who work in PMO and absolutely love it and wouldn’t even consider being a BA. (Perhaps because they see that most PMs expect BAs to everything bar coding/development and the PM’s job!)
But there is no right answer a Business Analyst career path may be better for someone or the PMO career path may better for them, or neither may be a good choice.
Here is some information to help with that decision.
For any Programme Management Office, it is extremely important that you are able to show how your PMO delivers tangible and meaningful business benefits.
Here are five of the most important:
- Align the portfolio of projects with an eye toward future strategy
- Deliver programmes on-time, within budget and according to scope
- Understand the linkages and dependencies between various projects in the portfolio
- Improve communication within the programme team among all stakeholders
- Increase the awareness of the value of the PMO and PPM process
I was going to copy/paste and as well as cite but quite lengthy so just have a look at The skills that make a great PMO professional — PMO Perspectives Blog
But from that site:
PMOs and the people that work within them have had a raw deal when it comes to professional development. After taking the same courses as project and programme managers there is very little available that focuses purely on the PMO role. For PMO professionals today, it is about understanding the wider skillsets needed to implement and mature PMOs.
As an organisation structure or entity it needs skills and experience not found exclusively in project management. It is the PPPM, organisational, business and interpersonal skills that also make great PMOs and great PMO professionals.
And UK Salary Salary: PMO
Now for BAs.
As to what is needed to be a good BA I would say very simply being a great “people person” and excellent attention to detail including some element of being a “data guy”. A fairly rare combination.
And more unofficially on projects, Business Analysts tend to be expected to do everything bar a Project Manager’s job and coding/development. (As other answers on Quora have mentioned).
More “officially” the below is fairly good summary.
Key skills are:
Being a successful Business Analyst means you have to have a variety of different skills and be adaptable to a changing environment. Every Business Analyst will bring their unique blend of skills and experience to the role, of course, but I’ve highlighted below what I think are the most common skills that a good BA will need. Feel free to add in the comments any other skills that you have found helpful in your BA career.
1. Understand Your Objectives.
Being able to interpret direction is important. If you don’t fully understand what and, more importantly, why you are being asked to do something, there is a risk that you won’t deliver what’s required. Don’t be worried about asking for further information if your brief isn’t clear.
2. Good Verbal Communication Skills.
It is essential that you are a good communicator, regardless of the method of communication. You must be able to make your point clearly and unambiguously. It is also important that you know how to ask insightful questions to retrieve the information you need from stakeholders. For example, if your stakeholder isn’t a technical specialist you may need to ask your questions in plain English — avoiding jargon and acronyms. Being able to communicate information at the appropriate level is vital — some stakeholders will need more detailed information than others.
3. The Ability To Run Stakeholder Meetings.
Although using email provides a useful audit trail, sometimes it is not enough to communicate with stakeholders via email. Don’t underestimate the value of face to face meetings to discuss problems in more detail and clear up any queries. Often you will discover more about your project from a face to face meeting where people tend to be more open about discussing situations. You can always follow up a meeting with written confirmation if an audit trail is required.
4. Be A Good Listener.
Listening skills are key to being a successful BA. You must be able to listen and absorb information. This will allow you to analyse thoroughly the information gathered to specify requirements. It’s important that you don’t just listen to what’s being said, but are able to understand the context of what’s being said — the motivation behind it, the circumstances behind what’s being said, and even what’s not being said. Voice tone and body language can help you understand the message behind the words.
5. Hone Your Presentation Skills.
It is likely that at some point in your career as a BA you will need to facilitate a workshop, or present a piece of work to a stakeholder or project team. Consider the content of your presentation and make sure it matches the objectives of the meeting — there is no point in presenting information about implementation methods if the meeting is being held to discuss requirements gathering. These presentations are not only for you to present information. They can also work as an excellent way to extract more information or clarity from stakeholders if you are unclear on something or are looking for more detail on a particular area of the project.
6. Be Excellent At Time Management.
A BA must have excellent time management skills to ensure that work is completed on time and the project does not fall behind schedule. Multi-tasking is an important skill, but you must also be able to prioritise activities — understanding which are more critical than others — and concentrate on them. Remember that you need to manage your own time and activities, but you may also need to manage other people’s time if you are dependent on them for information. Make sure that they know when you need them to deliver.
7. Documentation And Writing Skills.
Requirements documents, reports, specifications, plans and analysis. As a BA you will be required to deliver a range of different types of documents. You will need to ensure that your documents are written in a clear and concise manner, and at a level that is appropriate for your stakeholders. Avoid nuances specific to a particular workstream as they may not be understood by all stakeholders. As an inexperienced/beginner BA, it is unlikely that you will have experience writing requirements documentation, however, strong writing skills are an excellent starting point. Experience will lead to clear and concise requirements documentation.
8. Stakeholder Management.
It is essential that you know how to manage all of you stakeholders and know how much power and influence they have on your project. Stakeholders can be your strongest supporters or your biggest critics. An experienced BA will be able to analyse how much management each stakeholder needs and how they should be individually managed. Do they need face to face meetings and detailed information or are they content with high-level reports? Are they supportive of your project? Knowing the answers to these key questions will help you to manage your stakeholders and the wider project. Can you influence them directly or do you need to influence someone who can influence them.
9. Develop Your Modelling Skills.
As the saying goes a picture paints a thousand words. Techniques such as process modelling are effective tools to convey large amounts of information without relying on text. A visual representation allows you to get an overview of the problem or project so that you can see what works well and where the gaps lie. A typical process model will have several different levels of detail to allow a BA to engage with stakeholders in a language that they understand.
As to whether or not it is the right specialisation for you and others than having a look at the below from Alastair Majury on “What does being a BA mean to you?” may assist you and others in deciding.
I came across this thread on LinkedIn titled — “What does being a BA mean to you?”.
The original post is:
“What does being a BA mean to you?
As someone very passionate about what I do, I will like to read and know how you feel being a BA (including Data, Systems, Infrastructure, … Analysts).
Please share your thoughts.”
And here are some of the responses:
“I think we BAs are lucky to be given the opportunity to have a job where we help people understand and describe problems they are facing, and then help them come up with solutions. We get to work with lots of different kinds of people, in mostly collaborative, rather than stupidly competitive, environments. We are also fortunate to work in a domain where there is lifelong learning.”
This one in particular resonates with myself:
“It is the breadth and variety of what we do (elicitation, facilitation, collaboration, listening, questioning, analysis, planning, organizing, documenting, illustrating, communicating, presenting, tracking, tracing) and who we work with (Sponsors, Business, Architects, Developers, Testers, Project Managers) that I enjoy most.
1 — Working with the business to understand and describe the problem and what is to be achieved,
2 — Collaborating with SMEs, Architects, and other analysts to define a solution for the problem,
3 — Organizing the requirements for the solution so that the development team can leverage them to build the solution, and making sure the team has a clear understanding of the requirements, and
4 — Ensuring that the solution that is built meets the needs of the business.
I enjoy being the liaison between business and developers.”
“ I enjoy the essential thrownness that every business problem presents, the hermeneutic turn in modeling inquiry, and the reification of aporia. When the client’s complete aporia is reified and made apparent to the client I feel that my whole obligation to the client has been fulfilled. This is not a profession for doormats or dolts.”
“BA work is beyond requirements, facilitations,collaboratiom etc…we wear many hats, depending on the need of the hour. The only piece so far , missing , is writing code. But, i am sure there are BA’s out there that have done that as well and tested it too,just to be sure…:)”
“As a BA, I’ve worn several hats. Requirements gatherer, facilitator, collaborator, data analyst, developer, unit tester, and so many others. It depends on the day and the client need.”
“hi, if you’re questioning BA role purely from emotional/feeling perspective, look at the role of someone who feels the pain of all parties impacted by a change as well as all players who make the change happened, feels the pain and has skills to balance it out providing rationale, information, illustrations, whatever it takes to influence balanced decision making”
“ We take an empty slate and populate it with deliverables. Sometimes we deliver the goods. Other times, team members deliver the goods. We ensure delivery is according to best practices — well defined plans, validation tests, documentation, coordination between teams and stakeholders, and sometimes we make pretty the deliverable that is at first not-so-pretty. Making delivery possible, orderly, and neat.”
Based on Salary: Business Analyst
Perhaps not a true reflection between PMO and BA salary, as looks like PMOs stick to the same title, whilst BAs move onto being a Senior Business Analyst.
So Senior BA average salary
If you like this answer you may also like some of my other answers below.
Alastair Majury resides locally in the historic Scottish city of Dunblane, and is a Principal Consultant and a Senior Regulatory Business Analyst working across the country. Alastair Majury also serves on the local council (Stirling Council) as Councillor Alastair Majury where he represents the ward of Dunblane and Bridge of Allan, topping the poll.
Alastair Majury, is also a director of Majury Change Management Ltd is a highly experienced Senior Business Analyst / Data Scientist with a proven track record of success planning, developing, implementing and delivering migrations, organisational change, regulatory, legislative, and process improvements for global financial organisations, covering Retail Banking, Investment Banking, Wealth Management, and Life & Pensions.
For several years now, Alastair has worked extensively with a variety of financial institutions in order to offer the utmost comprehensive services. As a data scientist/business analyst, Alastair Majury is expected to find intuitive and sensible solutions to complex problems.
As a data scientist/business analyst, Alastair Majury has worked closely with several high-profile businesses, such as BNP Paribas, National Australia Bank, Standard Life and the Royal Bank of Scotland Group.A graduate of University of Glasgow, Alastair Majury earned his M.A. in Economics with Business Economics. Since then, Alastair has undergone several training sessions and earned multiple certifications for a variety of skills. More specifically, he has earned certifications in IAQ, risk management, resource management, and a bevy of other areas. Alastair Majury thoroughly enjoys his work.
What excites him most about being a data scientist/business analyst is that every problem has a variety of solutions. This allows for a great deal of creativity on his part. Providing ingenious solutions to his customers’ problems provides a great deal of satisfaction to Alastair Majury. Every single day can be a new and challenging problem.
Although he is a fierce and determined worker, Alastair also manages to find free time to embrace his hobbies and interests. Alastair is a major proponent of philanthropy and charitable endeavors. He constantly finds new and exciting ways to promote charities and philanthropic organizations in his community. He also tries to donate time and funds to said organizations whenever he can. Alastair Majury firmly believes that if we all work together towards a common goal, we can find peace.