Project Analyst Job Description
Project analysts help drive a project from start to finish by coordinating information, providing support through data analysis, and contributing to overall strategy and performance evaluation. They’re responsible for project documentation and monitoring. Because of their detailed view of the project, they play an important role in both internal and external communication. Project analysts often report to project or senior managers, and they spend most of their workday inside the office, generally following regular hours with the occasional overtime for urgent projects. Full-time positions for large companies are most common, but part-time work is also possible.
Project Analyst Duties and Responsibilities
No two project analysts are exactly alike, as specific skills vary depending on the employer, industry, and composition of the project team. However, after researching on job postings, we identified several core duties and responsibilities common to the job:
Contribute to Project Planning
Project analysts work with other team members to prepare detailed plans for new projects, determining resource allocation, deliverable timelines, and possible issues. They may also conduct a feasibility analysis to ensure consistency with client demands.
Help Manage Projects
A key part of a project analyst’s job is providing support by handling some of the operational aspects of a project. Possible tasks include coordinating with stakeholders and consultants, conducting internal meetings, reviewing finances, and streamlining the overall workflow, with the primary aim of keeping the project on schedule.
Evaluate and Monitor Progress
During planning, project analysts kick off the evaluation process by establishing performance indicators. They then monitor every step of the project with reference to cost estimates, overall plans, and deliverable deadlines. This leads to a strategic advantage, since they can better identify roadblocks and propose process improvements.
Perform Data Analysis
Project analysts dedicate many of their work hours to handling data, which they research, monitor, and analyze to produce business insights and action recommendations. From project reviews to performance optimization, the applications of this are endless.
Project analysts are accountable for creating and maintaining project documentation, including timelines, resource plans, and meeting minutes. They must also prepare presentations and regular status reports, serving as the main source of information about the project to external teams.
Project Analyst Skills and Qualifications
Project analysts display a combination of stellar people skills and technical acumen while keeping a sharp eye on all project factors. Companies typically hire candidates with a bachelor’s degree in a business-related field and the following skills:
- Project management – project analysts determine general workflow and direct many of a project’s day-to-day tasks, so management experience is essential
- Data analysis – a project analyst must be comfortable using software programs to process data and interpret the results through critical thinking
- Business knowledge – since project analysts play a critical role in setting the team’s direction, they should have a solid understanding of business and operational fundamentals, especially in their specific industry
- Organization skills – this role involves juggling multiple tasks and even projects. To keep everything running seamlessly, project analysts should be extremely organized, capable of multitasking and managing their time well
- Communication skills – project analysts collaborate at all levels, working with team members, senior management, and business owners to move projects forward. This requires excellent written and verbal communication skills
Tools of the Trade
Project analysts work regularly with the following tools:
- Basic documentation software (Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
- Project management software (Microsoft Project, Basecamp, JIRA, Asana, or equivalent)
- Diagramming software (may include Microsoft Visio, Creately, Lucidchart, or draw.io)
Project Analyst Education and Training
For the project analyst position, most employers require at least a bachelor’s degree in a field such as business, finance, or computer science. Certification for project management is not necessary, but it may improve the employment chances of candidates with unrelated degrees. Most project analysts have at least one year of prior experience in a management or analytical role. Hands-on training is provided on the job, although it’s expected that project analysts are already aware of business fundamentals, including basic models and diagrams.
Project Analyst Salary and Outlook
The average salary for a project analyst is around $61,000 per year, according to Glassdoor. Income ranges from a 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 percent by 2026. This is a faster-than-average rate, signaling that companies will increasingly seek out management analysts, including project analysts, to optimize projects and bolster efficiency.
If you’re interested in becoming a successful project analyst, we’ve found the following helpful resources on the web:
Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management – Scott Berkun distills the lessons and strategies he learned as a Microsoft project manager into a collection of personal essays that examine all facets of the job. The book includes amusing anecdotes, practical tools, and in-depth exercises to help project analysts with their own work
Big Business: Unlocking Value from Big Data with Analytics – data scientists and managers from top technology companies discuss Big Data in this 50-minute video from a China 2.0 conference. It covers the pros and cons of Big Data and analytics and how to transform them into solid business strategies
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity – project analysts are perpetual multitaskers who stay calm even under pressure. This book has been called “the bible of business and personal productivity,” and project analysts will benefit from reading its productivity techniques and perspective on time management
Project Manager Community – this informal LinkedIn group is centered on project management, with over 350,000 members. Project analysts who join the group can participate in discussions, discover related job postings, and access varied educational material, including training videos and articles
Business Analysis Techniques: 72 Essential Tools for Success – all the business analysis tools and models out there can be overwhelming. Project analysts can get back to basics by consulting this reference, which balances theory and practice in its descriptions of fundamental business analysis techniques
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