Is it a trend that BAs see the project manager role as a natural progression of the BA career path?
I have recently took on a role of a BA Lead and held career development sessions with my team. Often most of them cited becoming project managers as their long term goal. I respect this goal but I just wanted to know is it the BA career path or are there trends that talks to this?
Five or ten years ago, the common career advice to business analysts was that to be promoted, you should become a project manager. In fact, business analysis was often heralded as an entry level path into project management.And even now, I find that assuming that to get promoted, they need to become a project manager, is a common misconception amongst BAs. This typically happens because their organization does not have a senior-level BA career path.
Today, the path from business analysis to project management is still a legitimate career direction, but it no longer represents the only option. In fact, we are seeing the reverse direction as well, with project management professionals transitioning into business analysis careers. There are many, many project managers who participate in our courses as a way to expand the business analysis aspect of their roles.
In short, the path from BA to PM is a historical trend that is slowly but surely being debunked.
As a manager, you are in a unique position to help drive this change.
- Can you help your business analysts find a career path in your organization?
- Can they move into senior level roles where they are involved in defining the project scope or evaluating new business opportunities?
- Can they move into lead business analyst roles such as your own?
This leads me to another point, as a big part of the answer to this question is “what’s next” for your career? Your individual climb up the ladder may indeed pave the way for those on your team and, as you lead by example, you may inspire your BAs to also stay business analysts.
- Is the scope of responsibilities fulfilled by your team the full set of business analysis opportunities?
- Are there other opportunities to leverage your team’s strengths to take on new senior business analyst responsibilities and make a positive impact on the business?
As you settle into your new role as lead, these will be important questions for you to consider.
Now, this is not to say that project management is not one possible career path and you are right to respect that goal, if the goal is based on a passion for the role and not an assumption that this is the only promotion opportunity. In my experience some BAs are naturally suited to project management, but most are not. The competencies overlap but the mindsets are different.
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