We speak to a lot of business analysts who have aspirations of becoming project managers. And we tell them all the same thing: yes, it’s a natural progression but it requires a plan. We see it as a four-step plan.
STEP 1: Raise awareness of the PM skills you already have.
This article from projectmanagement.com neatly sums up the top 10 qualities of an effective project manager.
Most BAs will have some experience with all ten, but #2 (strong communication skills) is the most important quality that hiring managers will key in on. This is especially so in the financial world where most project teams are made up of experts and stakeholders from different disciplines and lines of business.
What you should be doing: Use your professional social media channels (like LinkedIn) to demonstrate your ability to communicate clearly.
Post thoughts related to communication and stakeholder alignment that position you as someone who understands what successful communication looks like. You could talk about the experiences you had, what you learned from them and how you plan to build that learning into future projects.
Add to group conversations related to business communication. The added benefit of doing this is that you’ll learn from other people in the conversation group.
Weave the other top-10 qualities into your posts and activities, especially organization, quick-thinking and the ability to inspire others. As a BA, you’ve most likely had the opportunity to demonstrate these skills. Show them off using general but concrete examples that don’t breach any confidentiality.
If your resume passes the initial six-second test, you have to know that the hiring manager will check your LinkedIn profile. This is your chance to instill some extra confidence. Take it.
STEP 2: Consider getting PMP-certified.
Talent Economy predicts a demand for 87.7 million project managers by 2027. While this means a ton of opportunity for you, it also means a ton of competition — so any advantage you can get is in your best interest.
Certification is about the best advantage, but be sure you get the right kind of education.
As a BA, you’ll have a bit of an advantage in a PMP course because you’ll already be familiar with many of the concepts. This will make your program a bit easier.
STEP 3: Make your intentions known to your current manager.
Now that you’ve established yourself as an option for an upcoming PM role based on your BA experience and your PMP certification, you can put yourself out there as a legit option.
Start by having an honest conversation with your current employer. Tell them about your desire to move from BA to PM, and let them know what you’ve done and what you’re doing to warrant consideration.
For inspiration, here’s a great article about putting yourself out there from the Huffington Post. Definitely worth reading and internalizing, especially the part about “your needs versus their needs.”
What you should be doing: Practise your pitch.
Present yourself with confidence. Start with a clear idea of what you want and why you want it.
Anticipate questions you’ll be asked and have answers ready. To do this, you should get to know the person you’ll be speaking with a bit. Look at their LinkedIn profile to find out a bit more about what they value. Talk to their peers to get some additional insights. And talk to other PMs in your company about the questions they were asked.
The key to this step is to remember that you can’t get what you don’t ask for.
STEP 4: Look for a new BA role with more PM job functions.
You’ve completed the first three steps and you realize that there’s no opportunity at your current company. That’s okay, and don’t for a minute think you’ve wasted your time
You’re now well-positioned for a new job that will get you closer to your career goals. And with the right recruiter in your corner, you’ll find that new job sooner than you think. Send us your resume and let’s get the ball rolling.