Business analytics projects are often characterized by uncertain or changing requirements — and a high implementation risk. So it takes a special breed of project manager to execute and deliver them.
Managers have used business analytics to inform their decision making for years. And while few companies would qualify as being what management innovation and strategy expert Thomas H. Davenport has dubbed ‘analytic competitors,’ more and more businesses are moving in that direction. Which best practices do the most experienced project managers involved in business analytics projects employ, and how would they advise their less experienced peers? The authors found that the most important qualities could be sorted into five areas: having a delivery orientation and a bias towards execution; seeing value in use and value of learning; working to gain commitment; relying on intelligent experimentation; and promoting smart use of information technology.
Although many of the business analytics project managers the authors interviewed report to the IT department, they identify with the business side of their organizations. Best-in-class CIOs realize that IT and business can’t afford to continue to be at loggerheads with one another. IT should pursue opportunities to deliver faster implementation cycles, maintaining just enough process and architectural hygiene to ensure quality and professional support.