Management secrets of BA projects unveiled: a special breed

As business environments become more complex and competitive, managers need to be able to detect and, preferably, predict trends and respond to them quickly. Companies are giving business analytics (BA) increasingly high priority in the hope of gaining an edge on their competitors. Yet BA projects are often characterised by uncertain or changing requirements and a high implementation risk, so it takes a special breed of project manager to execute and deliver them. In a study aimed at identifying what characterises experienced, skilful project managers involved in BA projects, Professor Stijn Viaene and researcher Annabel Van den Bunder found that the most important qualities of skilled BA managers can be categorised into five areas:

  1. Focusing on project execution and value delivery rather than on strict adherence to the plan.
  2. Seeing value in use and value of learning.
  3. Enabling a process of engaging stakeholders, explaining and managing expectations.
  4. Relying on intelligent experimentation, with sufficient scientific rigour in each step, and not losing focus on practical relevance and usability.
  5. Promoting smart use of information technology. Projects conducted as partnerships yield better results.


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