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The 3 Ps Everyone on Your Company’s Tech Team Should Understand

I have a rule that I teach all my business systems analysts about what they need to do once they hit the ground on a new transformational project.

This rule can apply to a lot of folks in technology in general, whether they’re a business systems analyst, a developer, a quality assurance analyst, or something else. It’s a great rule to understand for anyone with analytical skills who is also trying to hone their management skills.

That rule is the 3Ps: Project Manager, Players, and Plumbing.

Project Manager

It’s critical when you first get on the ground at a new project to know what the project management office needs out of the project manager for them to get their job done. Often, it’s the documentation needed to proceed through the project gates – like the project charter, scope document, business requirements, functional/technical requirements, and test plans. There are several gates to get through before software integration testing, user acceptance testing, and finally putting the software into the production environment for day-to-day use.

Understanding what the manager needs to do to get through those gates is one of the first things I tell analysts to do. If you understand, anticipate, and support those things you’re going to ingratiate yourself quite a bit with that manager.

It also helps quite a bit to keep track of all of the players (see below) and take really great minutes in all the meetings you and/or the Project Manager attend.  And if you’re an analyst who thinks that’s below your pay grade? Nothing is below your pay grade if it moves the project forward and gets the project done.


Regardless of who you are, it’s important to know who all the players are – what departments you’re dealing with, who signs the checks, who makes the decisions for the department, who the subject matter experts are who report to that manager, etc. All the players interrelate with each other, and you need to understand their roles so you can gather information and unblock problems.

This is why I always look for soft skills in any potential new business systems analyst. The ability to understand who does what, where in the ecosystem you’re going into, and how they interrelate to each other is a skill I prize among anyone on my tech team. It’s hard to get any project done if you don’t know who’s making the decisions, who needs to be in the meetings, and who’s doing the work.


If there are systems or pieces of software in place, how do those pieces interrelate with one another? How are users using them? What type of data flows and in what direction does it flow?

Plumbing is about drawing diagrams of the architecture to figure out how many processes are manual versus automated, who does what where, and how data is flowing. I find that when you do that, you more easily figure out the points of failure and where (what I affectionately refer to as “data pissing on the floor” instead of flowing through the pipes) is occurring. That data needs a pipe to hit because we don’t want to lose data or actions in the ecosystem.

Altogether, if you can master those 3 Ps, you will be an invaluable resource for any sort of organization you go to regardless of the size of the enterprise. That’s what you get paid big bucks for and honestly, there aren’t a lot of good business systems analysts out there that can do all of them. When analysts miss one of those skillsets, organizations have to hire more people, and that can create disjointed project documentation and disjointed movement forward on the project.

So, for the love of God, master the 3 Ps! If you need help mastering them or obtaining resources that understand the 3 Ps, that’s where we come in. You can reach out here to get started.