Comparing Business Analysts to Project Managers
Business analysts and project managers are both primarily responsible for studying and overseeing the efficiency within a certain facet of an organization. Generally, business analysts focus on viewing the financial data and inner workings of the administrative tasks to find ways to improve workflow efficiency while reducing costs within a department. Project managers focus less on the financial aspects of the company and more on the progression of a particular task that is assigned within their department, ensuring they meet deadlines. The table featured below has more information on salary, job growth, and education.
|Job Title||Education Requirements||Median Salary (2017)*||Job Growth (2014-2024)**|
|Business Analyst||Bachelor's degree||$58,476||7% (for all business operations specialists)|
|Project Manager||Bachelor's degree||$72,001||7% (for all business operations specialists)|
Sources: *PayScale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Responsibilities of Business Analysts vs. Project Managers
As mentioned earlier, a business analyst's primary responsibility is improving the efficiency of a particular department within an organization, while a project manager is meant to oversee a designated team to ensure that deadlines are met and that the work is up to standard. Business analysts typically process vast amounts of data in a short amount of time, in order to produce reports that suggest what areas or methodologies are working well or need improvement. Project managers on the other hand, develop and plan the timeline and goals for their team in order to complete an assignment given to them by upper management. Very little overlap exists between the two positions with regard to responsibilities, as business analysts are interpreters of data, while project managers implement the tasks they are assigned.
Business analysts are typically tasked with improving the operations of a business by interpreting raw, quantitative data such as the rate of output, financial gains or losses, and customer feedback. From this analysis, they compile the data into a report, with their observations as well as potential issues and solutions to any drawbacks the department may endure. This information is usually given to a supervisor or manager in order to give them a more informed perception of their department's efficiency, and thus make any necessary changes or cuts. Due to the high intensity of their workload and environment, business analysts must adapt quickly to any changes in the data they are analyzing and make fast decisions and interpretations, making the career highly stressful.
Other responsibilities business analysts may have include:
- Make applicable and informative conclusions based on research
- Explain complex terms and principles in a simplistic way for clients to understand
- Identify and factor the needs of customers into their analysis
- Help the company meet any needs within a department
Project managers ensure that an assignment is done within a certain span of time by allotting the workload to the members of their staff or team. They are usually assigned various projects throughout the year and are responsible for developing strategies and goals needed to finish the assignment by set deadlines. Project managers are also responsible for resolving any issues that may arise and delay the progress of their team while keeping documentation on both the needs and status of the assignment. By continually checking on their team and making any changes to the goals or overall work methods, project managers are able to maintain a highly efficient work environment to ensure their assignments are completed in a timely manner.
Other duties are as follows:
- Update workers on their progress with the project
- Manage and abide by budget constrictions
- Communicate progress or setbacks to upper management
- Provide any resources needed for completion of project to staff
Whether you are interested in using data to improve the financial productivity of a company or would like to uphold a managerial role, cost estimator and project coordinator jobs are similar to the career options discussed in this article. Like a business analyst, cost estimators are responsible for interpreting the data of a company's finances, while project coordinators act as assistant to project managers for large assignments.