What Is a Project Analyst in Project Management?
By Deepesh KotwaniJan 5, 2020
Project Analyst is Mike Ross for Project Manager Harvey Specter. (From season 1)
I don’t mean that you don’t need a degree for that, but that you have to work as hard and become as talented as Mike Ross was. You will be just below the project manager and above all the other team members.
A project report consists of a lot of paperwork to be generated, that the project manager has to oversee, but he doesn’t need to prepare them. The job of the project manager is to oversee that everything is going according to the steps in planning and take necessary actions to keep the project on track, the actual work is carried on by the team members and the project analyst.
Now it’s upto you if you consider the project analyst as the right hand of the project manager or as the assistant, but before framing anything in your mind, do consider this number.
The average salary for a project analyst is around $61,000 per year, according to Glassdoor. Income ranges for low of $46,000 to a high of $84,000 annually.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were over 806,000 management analysts employed in 2016, a number that's projected to grow 14 per cent by 2026. This is a faster-than-average rate, signalling that companies will increasingly seek out management analysts, including project analysts, to optimize projects and bolster efficiency.
So, if you are thinking of pursuing this as your career, this may be the right time for you. But what does a Project Analyst do?
What does a Project Analyst do?
The project analyst works for the project manager, but with the team members and other stakeholders. Project Analyst is the closest associate of the project as they do the monitoring of all the KPI’s that are critical for the project.
According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), requirements-related problems are the main issue that causes projects to become problematic. Research cited by PMI notes that 70-85% of all project rework is caused by errors in requirements. In order to avoid these errors, you might want to consider adding a project analyst to your team if you haven’t already.
Now you may think that the work of monitoring the KPI’s and project’s stakeholder management is the work of the Project Manager, so why hire someone else for the job? More people are needed as you want to expand or focus on the important things. If we are talking about a bigger project, the main job of the project manager is to keep the project in sync with the project baseline and within the budget. The other less important works should be transferred so as they can focus on the main work.
The Project Analyst as suggested by the name performs analytical tasks to ensure that the project is in sync with its goals and objectives. The work of the Project Analyst starts even before the task is pitched as they have to research different projects, see the trends, consult the written agreement, to make sure that the project is right or not for the strategic goal of the company.
They work with the project manager to prepare the Project Proposal, project report, project presentations, etc. They also do the work of revising them.
The key duties of a Project Analyst are as follows:
1. Handling Data:
Any name has it’s own meaning. The name Project Analyst suggests that the work will be related to the analysis of the project. But what data is to be analyzed?
Unlike the definition of a computer, input-processing-output, all the processes follow the same steps. In a project, the input is given by the client and the project manager, the processing is done by the team members and the output is collected by the project analyst to be checked if the result is the desired one or not.
This includes data from the risk management process, resource management, budgets, schedules, and all the processes that produce an output.
The data is generally in the numerical form and to arrange the data various tools like MS Excel and many more can be utilized. There are two types of people: The one who loves numbers and the others that don’t. To be a Project Analyst you must love numbers.
2. Data Interpretation:
A news channel provides the news in the form that the readers want to read them. There are various channels through which the news is given, through a newspaper to the audience that wants to read the detailed news, through tv to the audience that doesn’t prefer reading but wants to know the news in detail. And through just a 1-minute brief in the app version to the audience that just wants to be highlighted by the news.
This is how the data should be interpreted and presented to different people and departments of the organization. A senior stakeholder would not want to see the long and boring spreadsheets and just need the headlines. The Project Manager wants to know the detailed interpretation, so provide them with a detailed presentation. The finance department is just interested in the financial aspects so just provide them with financial information.
3. Joining the dots:
Ok, so now the work related to data and it’s interpretation is over. Now comes the number of some qualitative works.
The Project Analyst is the closest one to the team, thus they have to work in pointing out the interdependencies of the tasks and make them visible to the project manager. They have to work in making sure that the deliverables are directly linked with the strategic goals of the organization. Unlike the project manager, they are also responsible for foreseeing any potential risks or conflicts.
Being the closest person to the team makes them a direct mode of contact to the project manager for the team members.
4. Interacting with Stakeholders:
The work of the project analyst is not to just play with numbers and interpret the data, it is to interact with the people. Moreover, mere numbers and data are not sufficient to come to any conclusion, if you are not interacting with the stakeholder.
Eg: To know if the result is the desired result or not, you need to interact with the client, and it is essential even for making any small change in the project. And if the project analyst doesn’t find anything right with the data, they have to contact the seniors about the discrepancies.
As the project analyst works the closest with the team they can interpret what the team is good and which skills need some polishing and based on that they can arrange some knowledge sessions or skill-building exercises or seminars to help and improve the team.
Now comes the work of analysing the organization. They just think about a simple question of what can be done to be better? The thinking is carried out in the direction of improving productivity and quality of the work.
If they think that something better could be done, they have to first derive how to implement the solution and the pros and cons of the solution. An organization should always strive to become better as this is the only way you can defeat and become the top player in your game.
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