Transitioning from a BA to a PM

08 / Jul / 2022 by Pramit Gaurav 0 comments

If you are a business analyst (BA), you might have considered becoming a project manager (PM) at least once. Well if you are still thinking about it, you are in the right place. I have been in your shoes and have successfully transitioned to a Project Management role. Though it is not the only way forward, it is quite common. So let’s talk about what it takes to switch roles.

First, you need to understand the difference between business analysts and project managers. Second, try to gain experience by managing parts of an assigned project. You should also consider signing up for online courses, watching YouTube videos, reading forums and blogs, and project management certificates like CAPM or PMP to improve your skills.

In my case, I had prior experience of managing medium size projects in parallel to requirement gathering which made the transition easier. Through this blogpost, I will share my experience and cover multiple angles you should consider before moving from BA to PM competency.

So, where does one start?

Honestly, there is no easy way; you will need to put in work and effort. if you really want it, you need to have a solid plan. The great news is that BAs have a significant advantage as they have already worked in a project environment and have observed project managers in action.

Plus, as a business analyst, you spend a lot of time collating requirements, running some of the project meetings, and understanding what needs to be done. Through this, you keep a close eye on the scope, which is one of the factors that project managers need to consider. Also, as a BA, you also learn to collaborate with cross-functional teams. So now, let’s have a look at what you should consider step by step next to get that PM role.


First and foremost, you need to understand the role and responsibilities of both of these positions.

STEP 1: Learn The Difference Between Business Analysts And Project Managers

Before we proceed, we need to understand the key differences between the two roles. Understanding the target (i.e., PM role) helps to know what we are aiming for. One way I like to think about it differently is that the business analyst ensures that the project is done right or functioning well. In contrast, a project manager ensures that things are done. If you are working on a project, you must have observed project managers around you and what they do.

But in case you have little to no access to them, let’s look into both roles separately. Plus, explore different BA vs PM skills, and then we will explore how to bridge the skill gap.

So, who is a business analyst?

A business analyst is someone whose goal is to improve the organisation through understanding its needs and coming up with solutions. These solutions could either be new technology, change in processes, or a combination of two.

What does a business analyst do?

Usually, a business analyst does the following tasks:
● Analyse the business and structure
● Understand the way technology is used
● Investigate what goals the organisation has to achieve
● Find out the problem with the organisation by using modelling techniques like process maps
● Discuss with senior individuals in the organisation to understand objectives
● Conducts GAP analysis and specifies options for businesses to improve
● Influence stakeholders by formalising the benefits of new technology or strategy
● Support and oversee implementation of new technology, process, or systems
● Runs, interviews, workshops, training sessions
● Completes requirements gathering, analysis, and validation

Then, who is a project manager?

Project Managers are responsible for, in part, all that happens in the project. They initiate, plan, execute, monitor and control and close initiatives with the help of a team.

Individuals in this role would spend every day solving or addressing one of the project constraints:
● Time
● Cost
● Scope
● Quality
● Resources
● Risk

Also, the role requires sharing information, communicating and working with stakeholders to make resources available and various interests addressed. Ultimately, a business creates projects to achieve one or several objectives and the project manager needs to make sure that it achieves those objectives.

I have personally found that knowing when to take decisions, and when to defer the same to senior stakeholders is a great skill to learn. As a PM, you do not have to make all the decisions. Though you must ensure that stakeholders who make those decisions are fully informed.

What are the usual responsibilities of a project manager?
As a project manager, one is responsible for the following:
● Agreeing on project objectives and scope
● Representing the client’s or organisation’s interests
● Provide advice on project management in an organisation
● Organise resources like people, technology, etc.
● Working out risk, issues, assumptions, dependencies
● Track if the objectives of the project are met
● Implement quality controls for the deliverables
● Keeping track of progress through stories, and Gantt Charts.
● Managing sub-contractors and consultants
● Overseeing invoicing and budgets
● Reporting to the client or senior stakeholders on progress
● Evaluating the project’s success against benchmarking
● Conducting lessons learned and improving the organisation’s project management

STEP 2: Get Ready To Learn New Management Skills

As you may have noticed above, you already have multiple skills that a PM role needs. You only need to embrace your existing skill set and learn new skills as a PM. The opportunity to work as a PM needs one to continuously evolve and become versatile.

Here are a few significant advantages of becoming a PM:
1. The knowledge you acquire will make your day-to-day interactions with your project team and business users more productive. You will be able to properly analyse any risks or foresee issues ahead of time which will enable more concrete project plans.
2. The opportunity to cultivate a long and outstanding relationship with the client. You will get more involved in the realm of business analysis, which will set you apart from a project manager. As you acquire more knowledge, you ultimately become an asset to the organisation.
3. Learning new tools like Advance Version of Plan View, Microsoft Project Plan, Jira – Schema and Workflows.

Step 3: Get PMP-Certified And Expand Your Learning Channels

One thing to keep in mind is that to gain full accreditation, you will need multiple years of experience. PMP is just one of the certificates you can get when preparing to be a project manager. However, that does not mean you should not learn PMP as it will expand your understanding of project management. You can also explore CPMP: Certified Project Management Practitioner, which requires no additional experience.

Don’t stop there!

There is so much information available online. Whether it is YouTube, other posts on the web, books on Amazon, LinkedIn Learn, Udemy and so many more. The point is that you should learn as much as possible and start sharing and applying the knowledge.

Doing certifications and learning about PM concepts is actually one of the easiest things you can do when preparing to become a PM. Getting exposure to PM tasks and taking full responsibility for the budget, business expectations and resources is a bit more challenging and much better education than frankly, sitting in the class. The best way to become a PM is to actually do it.

So Which Is Better – Project Manager Or Business Analyst?
There are particular benefits in both roles. If you plan to switch from business analyst to project manager roles, you should sincerely think if the PM role matches your character.

A PM role needs technical skills and leadership skills to manage a team and its stakeholders. PM tends to look at the bigger picture rather than minute details. They usually have multiple varied tasks rather than a few of the same. If you would like to move to a strategic role to get things done, the PM role is the answer for you.

If you like to focus on a few problems in more detail, BA is your calling especially if do not like to
spend too much time managing stakeholders, preparing presentations, or answering why the project is delayed. If you dislike spending a lot of time planning and re-planning the project and managing all resources, stick to being a BA.

If you like playing James Bond, being a BA is perfect for you. Most BAs often feel like detectives because they investigate the business situation by piecing together smaller pieces to get the bigger picture. Ultimately, this investigation leads to options for a business solution. So there will always be learning new things about a business and its issues.

Whereas some say that a PM is a people-mover as they spend a lot of time aligning the right people to the right activities at the right time. They make sure that BAs get enough information to learn and understand the business and agree on their availability for the said project. So, you will become an expert in liaising with various stakeholders and will learn to manage their expectations. But you might not get as much time learning technical skills.

Now, it is for you to answer which role is better for you. Choose wisely!


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