Business analysts are indeed the greatest assets to any PMO (Programme Management Office), as they are the foundation to any project.
But unfortunately they can also be one of the largest expenses, especially when incorrect BAs are assigned to a project.
So it is critical that a PMO ensures these BA are properly utilised before going ahead and allocating them to the project, or worse, hiring more.
Resource inefficiency can be greatly reduced if right choices are made upfront.
Here are typical steps to plan and allocate BA resource across the projects:
1. Determine current and future supply
2. Determine current and future demand
3. Match demand with supply
4. Plan to bridge the gap between demand and supply
Determine current and future supply
This should be the first step in any BA resource planning. It is very important to have a PMO-wide visibility over the quantity and quality of the entire pool of employed BA, both permanent and contractors.
For each individual take an inventory of:
• Capabilities and domain knowledge
• Experience and areas of interest
• Working relationships with the stakeholders/business units
• Working hours including planned and unplanned leave
Determine the current and future demand
This step requires a good understanding of your current resource allocations and the impact of those resources on new projects coming your way. A typical PMO will have a variety of projects that require a different BA with different skills at different times. A quick way forward is to develop a ‘shirt- size’ resource plan for different projects. This information is crucial in order to calculate the total resources demanded.
Match demand with supply
It may sound simple that once the supply and demand of BA have been determined accurately, they need to be matched, but it is important to ensure that the right BA for the project is identified, based on the required skill, role, availability and area of interest.
Create a resource planning process that provides cost-effective and timely visibility into current and future resource demands. Also make sure you design a resource planning structure that fits your business.
Plan to bridge the gap between demand and supply
No matter how much effort is used to re/ allocate available BA resources, there will be times you will end up with resourcing gaps where you have too many BA, or sometimes don’t have enough.
The important thing is being able to identify this in advance and plan accordingly to ensure that the project runs smoothly.
By creating the ability to optimise resources using a robust resource planning process, your PMO will be able to:
• Improve time-to-market for your most important projects
• Enable you to know at any point in time where your BA resources are deployed
• Understand the impact of assigning additional projects to your BA pool
• Make fact-based decisions on project scheduling and prioritisation
Maximising the utilisation of BA is much easier said than done and, unfortunately, the poor allocation adversely affects the bottom line as they are often the greatest overhead. On a final note sometimes resource plans are useless but planning is indispensible.
By Jayesh Jain, CBAP, CSPO, agilist and enterprise business analyst