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What does a Business Lead on a project do?

What does a Business Lead on a project do?

As we all know, there are different levels within any company - from director to team member. But when it comes to roles that involve managing people (which most businesses need), there are also different titles for those who manage them. A good example would be between an assistant manager and a supervisor. The former has more responsibilities but less power than the latter.

In IT companies, you might find yourself looking at a position called 'technical business lead'. This person's main responsibility will be to work alongside a senior developer to ensure that everything is being done correctly and as expected by the client. However, they don't necessarily report directly to anyone else. Instead, this role sits somewhere below a project manager and sometimes even further down the food chain. They're not always involved in day-to-day operations either unless something unexpected happens.

So what exactly does a Business Lead do then? What are the skills required to perform such a role well? And why should someone take the time out to learn about these things? Here, we'll look at some of the differences between a Business Lead and a Project Manager.

What role is above a manager?

If you were asked to define what a Business Lead was, chances are you'd say that it's like a manager. In fact, if you had your choice, you'd probably prefer one over the other. That said, there are two key differences here: firstly, while managers usually oversee teams of employees, business leads tend to focus specifically on a single individual or small group of individuals. Secondly, managers generally spend much of their time coordinating tasks across multiple departments whereas business leads act as liaisons between various groups.

This means that whilst both types of roles may appear similar to outsiders, there are significant differences internally. To give you another perspective, think about what a manager looks like to the rest of the world versus a business lead. If you saw the same person wearing suits, carrying briefcases and walking around the office without a smile, which one might you assume was the boss?

On top of that, managers often carry out important duties outside of the workplace too. For instance, they could be tasked with negotiating contracts on behalf of the organization or making sure certain policies are adhered to. Sometimes, this involves taking part in public speaking events, attending conferences and networking with clients. It's worth noting that this isn't true of every manager though. There are plenty who only ever deal with internal matters.

The bottom line is that although managers are responsible for overseeing staff, business leads are primarily focused on specific projects. So while they still fulfil managerial functions, they're mostly limited to those relating to the completion of particular goals.

What level is above a manager?

While business leads aren't quite as powerful as managers, they're still considered to be more experienced than junior employees. As mentioned earlier, this experience doesn't come automatically however. Most organizations choose to hire business leads after having seen a number of successful candidates in action elsewhere before deciding whether to promote them.

When hiring new people into positions like this, companies typically expect prospective employees to already possess several years' worth of relevant knowledge. A few examples include previous experience dealing with stakeholders, creating reports, writing proposals and presenting results to superiors. These kinds of qualifications are extremely rare amongst young professionals who may only be starting out in careers.

To put this into context, let's imagine that you've just been promoted into a management role. You now have access to a whole new set of tools and resources, including a large budget and the ability to delegate tasks to others. Naturally, you feel confident enough to begin delegating jobs to colleagues. Yet despite knowing that you can trust those under your command, you're worried because you never received formal training in doing so. How long until you realise that you haven't actually delegated anything properly yet?

Now compare this to a business lead who has spent five or six years learning how to create plans, negotiate deals and communicate effectively. Whilst they may lack formal qualifications in these areas, they understand how to use them better than inexperienced newcomers. When it comes to delegation, they're far more likely to get it right straight away rather than wasting valuable time.

Is a project lead higher than a project manager?

One thing that makes business leads stand apart from project managers is their skill set. Whereas PMs are trained to plan ahead, track progress and keep everyone informed, business leads are trained to handle issues as soon as they arise. Therefore, they're able to respond quickly to problems instead of waiting for them to become unmanageable.

For example, if a task seems like it's going wrong, a business lead won't simply shrug off the problem and ask for help. Instead, they'll try to solve the issue themselves and figure out where the mistake came from. From there, they'll work through each step needed to resolve the situation and avoid repeating mistakes in future. Ultimately, this kind of response saves both money and effort.

Another way that business leads differ from PMs is how they approach communication. One reason that PMs struggle to keep things updated is that they rarely have the opportunity to speak face-to-face with members of the team. On the contrary, business leads regularly meet up with their counterparts to discuss progress and share ideas. They also frequently update clients and stakeholders via email or phone calls.

With regards to leadership style, business leads are known for being decisive. Not only will they decide whether or not to accept a given offer, they'll also stick to their guns when necessary. At times like these, they'll refuse to compromise and they'll push back against those who want to change course.

Why is this useful information? Because if you're planning on becoming a Business Lead, you must develop the mindset to follow through on decisions made. Otherwise, you risk losing credibility and falling behind the competition. Fortunately, it's easy to train yourself to make smart choices and stick to your guns once you start thinking like a leader. All you need to do is take a little advice from this article.

Who is higher project lead or project manager?

Whilst business leads are technically superior to PMs, they aren't necessarily the best choice for every project. Some organisations require a combination of expertise to complete certain initiatives. Others rely on the skills provided by PMs alone to finish certain parts of a project successfully.

That said, there's no denying that a business lead's skillset makes them ideal for handling certain situations. Whether it's responding to customer complaints or resolving conflict between parties, a business lead knows how to tackle these challenges head-on. And unlike PMs, they're able to deliver value to customers faster thanks to their familiarity with processes and procedures.

Ultimately, a business lead acts as a bridge between the needs of the organisation and its external partners. By understanding the needs of both sides, they're able to provide solutions that suit both parties well. Thus, they play a vital role in ensuring that projects run smoothly and efficiently.

A good question. A few years ago when I first started my career as an IT professional, one of the questions that kept coming up was "what is a software developer". It's not something you hear much about these days, but it used to be common knowledge amongst developers, even if they didn't know exactly what it meant!

So let me explain...

The idea behind this article is simple - there are lots of different titles for people who work on projects and programmes. And some of them sound quite similar, such as Programmer, Developer, Analyst etc. But what actually happens inside a company depends upon which title someone has been given.

There are two main roles within a team - the 'project' part of the project (i.e. the actual programming) and the 'programme' part (the overall plan). The former includes things like designing solutions, writing code, testing and creating documentation. This may include tasks like setting up infrastructure, deploying applications, managing servers and databases. At its most basic level, the role of the programmer is simply to write computer programs according to specifications provided by others (typically called the client).

Programming is just one element of delivering a product or service though. There will also need to be tests performed to ensure that the final solution meets all requirements. In addition, there must be training delivered so that users understand how to use the system properly. Documentation needs to be written too, along with any other necessary tools and resources needed. All of these elements are important parts of the process, but only programmers create those pieces of the puzzle.

The programme is where everything else comes together. You'll probably recognise the acronym PMO from time to time - Programme Management Office. That's because although the term technically means nothing more than 'office', it's really shorthand for the entire life-cycle of a particular piece of software or service.

Project managers oversee all aspects of the delivery of a program and help to deliver the best possible outcome for everyone involved. They typically spend their day meeting clients, discussing plans and budgets, making sure deadlines are met and helping teams get things done.

They often provide leadership and motivation to individuals and teams, ensuring that everybody understands why certain actions are being taken. They might also set goals and objectives, allocate responsibilities, manage expectations and communicate progress.

And then there's the person doing the actual coding. If we were to take the analogy further, they would be like the builder at the construction site - providing direction and oversight across every aspect of the building.

You could argue that this is splitting hairs slightly, since ultimately the programmer writes the code, but that doesn't mean that he/she is always the right person to handle every issue that arises during the course of production. What makes a good project leader is having excellent communication skills, a clear understanding of the end goal, and the ability to delegate effectively.

What position is higher than a project manager?

This brings us back to our original question, namely "what is a software developer?" Well, as far as the organisation goes, it's pretty straightforward - anyone who works directly under a project manager. So yes, a project manager is the highest-ranking individual responsible for overseeing a large chunk of a larger project. However, there are several positions above him/her, depending on whether the project involves multiple companies or departments.

In fact, a senior executive can be considered a project manager, as long as they've got experience running large multi-million dollar programmes. However, there is another high ranking position above the project manager, namely the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and this is usually reserved for CEOs of large corporations.

But beyond the top tier of the hierarchy, there isn't necessarily a direct correlation between rank and responsibility. For example, while a Senior Vice President may report into a CEO, they won't necessarily run anything themselves. Instead, they'll be tasked with leading a department or division and reporting into the CEO.

Ultimately though, whatever your title is, it should reflect your expertise and importance to the project.

What is the difference between project management and project lead?

It's worth noting here that although both terms refer to the same thing, they're not interchangeable. Project management is a broad concept relating to planning, organising, monitoring and controlling the activities needed to complete a project successfully. A project manager oversees the whole lifecycle of a project, including design, implementation, testing and deployment.

On the other hand, a project lead focuses primarily on the execution phase of a project. He/she manages people, delivers results, ensures quality standards are maintained and deals with issues arising throughout the project cycle.

This distinction becomes clearer when looking at the job descriptions associated with each role. While a project manager will likely define his/her own responsibilities based around the scope of the project, a project lead will generally focus on specific areas related to the project. These might include scheduling meetings, handling budgeting matters, hiring new staff members, communicating status updates and resolving problems.

These differences become even more apparent when comparing the pay packages available for each role. As mentioned earlier, a project manager might earn anywhere from $70K-$100K per year, whereas a project lead would expect to receive somewhere between $40k-$60K. On average, however, salaries tend to fall closer to the lower half of that range.

Another point to consider is the amount of control a project manager has over a project. Whereas a project lead typically reports directly to the project manager, they don't necessarily answer to anyone else.

What does a lead project manager do?

At the very least, a project manager has four key duties:

Manage resources

Ensure timely completion of required tasks

Monitor performance against agreed milestones

Communicate status changes

As the name suggests, a project manager is in charge of managing a group of employees, resources and contractors. This requires careful consideration of timelines, budgets and resource availability, alongside regular communication with stakeholders.

Depending upon the size of the project, a project manager might have upwards of 20 subordinates. Each member of the team will have a specific task to perform, but the PM will still need to keep tabs on everybody and make decisions accordingly.

A typical day might involve spending a significant portion of it dealing with unexpected events and changing circumstances - things like delays, cancellations and interruptions. To deal with these situations, a project manager will need to maintain composure and remain flexible enough to react quickly.

While the tasks described above are essential, it's not unusual for a project manager to undertake additional duties outside of her primary role. Some organisations require their leads to act as mentors, coaches and troubleshooters for junior staff. Others prefer them to play an active role in developing marketing strategies and content.

Whatever the case, it's crucial that a project manager remains impartial and objective wherever possible, in order to avoid conflict.

What is the role of a project lead?

Whereas a project manager controls a number of sub-teams, a project lead handles a single team. Their job is to coordinate efforts and drive productivity through the team. They will normally be assigned to a small core of experts who carry out the bulk of the work on a project. When a problem occurs, the lead is expected to resolve it swiftly and efficiently.

Leads also frequently take on administrative duties, including coordinating schedules, tracking expenses, liaising with suppliers and keeping track of internal processes. They can also participate in strategic discussions regarding future developments, as well as contribute ideas towards improving operations.

When compared to a project manager, a lead is less experienced and therefore earns less money. His/her compensation package tends to depend on the nature of the project itself - smaller projects will see a higher pay scale, whilst bigger ones will typically offer fewer opportunities for advancement.

However, despite the relatively low rate, leads can enjoy a wider variety of benefits than their counterparts. Many employers will allow them to choose their own hours, allowing them greater flexibility over when they want to start and finish their shifts. Other perks might include paid holidays, health insurance and pension contributions.

If you'd like to learn more about either role, check out our articles below:

How to Become a Software Engineer

Five Steps to Becoming a Project Manager

How Much Do Technical Project Managers Make?

What Does a Project Manager Do Anyway?

The term "Business Lead" describes someone who acts as an intermediary between the client (or sponsor), and the team delivering the service or product that they are paying for. The key thing about this person is that they represent more than just the interests of one organisation - it's important that there is good communication across all parties involved, which requires some coordination and negotiation skills.

Having said that, the position of 'lead' has different meanings depending upon context. For example, if you're talking about a project within your own company then a Technical Business Leader will be responsible for ensuring that everything works smoothly from start to finish, including making sure everyone understands exactly how things should work. This means that there may also be responsibility for managing budgets and schedules, so technically they don't really fit into the 'project management' category at all!

However, when we talk about a 'Project Lead', or 'Programme Lead', these roles often come under the umbrella of a Project/ Programme Manager. In fact, most large organisations employ two separate people to manage each side of a project - one to deal directly with clients and stakeholders, while another handles day-to-day operations on behalf of the customer.

So, what does a Business Lead actually do? First, let me explain why having a good relationship with a Project Manager is essential. Without them, it would be impossible to get anything done without constant backtracking and rework. A PM isn't going to take on board every single detail unless you ask them too, but they will provide guidance and steer you towards decisions that need to be made. If you have no idea where you want to go, or feel lost, they'll help you find your way out again. They're not always right though, so you still need to check up on progress yourself sometimes.

Now that that's out of the way, here's my list of responsibilities for a Business Lead:

Initiating meetings with other departments

Making sure that any new requirements are communicated clearly

Ensuring that any changes to existing processes are documented appropriately

Keeping track of deadlines and expectations throughout the process

Setting clear milestones along the way

Providing regular updates and reports to managers and colleagues

Following through on promises

This sounds like a lot of work, but remember that the Business Lead doesn't necessarily know everything about the subject matter themselves, so they rely heavily on the expertise of others. It's therefore vital that they communicate effectively with those experts and keep them informed of developments.

If you've been asked to fill this role in a particular situation, try to understand what kind of information the person needs from you. Are they asking you to make recommendations based on your knowledge of the area? Do they simply want you to relay messages back and forth between departments? Either way, it's important that you use email rather than phone calls because that allows you to send files easily, and makes it much easier to record notes. Keep a log of conversations, and write down questions you might have before calling. Asking questions during a conversation helps ensure that nothing gets missed later on.

It's also worth remembering that being a Business Lead comes with a certain amount of social responsibility. You must set aside time to meet with customers and suppliers regularly, and act accordingly. Don't neglect your duties in favour of spending long hours buried deep inside your laptop researching something unrelated. When you're meeting face to face with people, be polite and attentive, even if you're busy elsewhere. Listen carefully and nod politely whenever someone says something relevant. Make eye contact and smile, and give positive feedback when appropriate. These small gestures show that you care about the outcome of the project, and encourage others to treat you well too.

Finally, remember that the Business Lead plays a crucial part in keeping everyone happy. There may be disagreements over details, and someone could potentially disagree with the overall direction of a project, but by acting as mediator you create space for everybody else to express their opinions too. It's only natural that they'll be worried about losing funding if they see that the project leader keeps getting distracted, so by demonstrating respect and understanding you reassure them that nobody is taking advantage of anyone else.

This article was written by Nick Stirling, founder of MetaLeading, dedicated to helping businesses improve productivity and profitability using technology.

How Do You Become A Good Business Lead? 

A few years ago, when my company was looking at ways we could improve our customer experience in order to increase sales, we asked ourselves what would be most beneficial from a business perspective.

"Customer satisfaction", you may say, but that isn't really going to help us much if customers aren't coming back". So we decided to focus instead on increasing repeat visits by existing clients, so that we didn't need to spend time up-selling new ones. This required a lot more effort because we had to find out why people were leaving, and then work backwards to figure out how to change things so that they wouldn't leave again. It also meant that we needed to understand what made them come back in the first place! We discovered that the majority of these repeat visitors came back after receiving excellent service within the first 24 hours of visiting our website.

We realised that if we wanted to retain customers, we needed to ensure that every aspect of our site met their expectations right away. To achieve this, we needed to train staff to ensure that they knew exactly what customers' needs were, and how best to meet those requirements.

This led to very real improvements in the quality of customer service provided. But the question remained - how did we get such high standards in the first place? Well, it turns out that a Business Lead has been instrumental in helping us deliver an exceptional level of customer care. When I started working here, we had no idea what a Business Lead actually did - and even less of an understanding of what makes a successful one. Here’s how I got to where I am now...

Understand your goals – What are the outcomes that you want to achieve? How will you know whether you're achieving them? Who else will be affected by any changes that take place?

Define your strategy/plan – Why are you doing something? Where are you starting from?



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