Effective Project Management: The Third Dimension

Whitepapers | 16 October 2009

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Effective Project Management: The Third Dimension

We all know that the key to project management making a positive impact on our business lies in the adherence to two basic principles: Doing the right project (portfolio management) and doing the project right (project management).

Yet often major corporates comply with both of these tenets and still deliver a white elephant. Consider this diagram below, which represents the (hypothetical) Black Bank’s Portfolio Management Structure.

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In the figure above the Black Bank seems to be doing everything right. Not withstanding the mechanisms by which these processes are implemented (standard software infrastructure etc), we would expect every project to add measurable value to the business.

The truth is: Maybe, maybe not. Let’s assume that the appropriate project management infrastructure is in place, and examine a typical Strategic Alignment.

  • Corporate Goal: By 2011 the Black Bank will be the most successful retail banker in Australia.
  • Business Plan: Align operational expenditure with industry benchmarks.
  • Program: Streamline operational systems.
  • Projects: Business Process Review, Migration of data from four legacy systems to one new bespoke system.
  • Operations: Impact on operations will be in the form of a new core system and associated processes, to be integrated into the Standard Operating Environment.

A project of this scale and criticality to core operations requires more than a “maybe”. We need more than the right project managed the right way, we need the right solution. This is where the often neglected third dimension of effective project management is often overlooked, and that is effective and efficient Business Analysis. The Business Analyst will identify the business needs and document the requirements of the solution (in this case, a new software system). That is: What must the solution do, and what proprieties must it have? Often treated as a project in and of itself, the documentation of solution requirements is absolutely critical in the project’s production of an accepted product which meets the business needs.

Business Analysis is currently where project management was in Australia 12-15 years ago. We all know of it, we know we need it, but it is often unclear exactly what a Business Analyst (BA) does or what value they bring to the business.

Fortunately, just as the AIPM has played a key role in the promotion and progression of project management in Australia over the last 30 years, there are similar bodies emerging in the Business Analysis profession.

The International Institute of Business Analysis™ (IIBA®) is currently finalising Version 2.0 of the Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK®). The BABOK® is structured into six core knowledge areas, as represented below:

© Copyright 2006 International Institute of Business Analysis

Enterprise Analysis:

Enterprise Analysis describes the Business Analysis activities that take place for organisations to:

  • Identify business opportunities.
  • Build their Business Architecture framework.
  • Determine the optimum project investment path for the enterprise.

Requirements Planning and Management: Requirements Planning and Management defines the resources and tasks associated with the planning and management of requirements gathering activities.

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