It\u2019s fascinating to observe the emerging wave of business-relationship managers (BRMs). There\u2019s an assumption that the existing work executed by project managers is of little value. This misguided view promotes the notion that it\u2019s possible for business-relationship managers to be effective and build credibility without project management support and buy-in.\nInversely, innovative and progressive business-relationship managers know that to be strategic, they must solve the tactical elements first. The most powerful business-relationship managers tightly partner with project managers to address tactical needs, enabling BRMs to focus on the strategic outlook.\nThe role already performed\nReflect for a minute on your organization. What\u2019s the dynamic between BRMs and project managers? Is it healthy and highly collaborative? Or is there increased friction? If there\u2019s growing polarization, your business partners will lose tactical ground, relegating BRMs to a tactical role.\nThe role of business-relationship managers is newly designed but not newly performed. Much as in the \u201870s and \u201880s, when project managers were called designers, software engineers, and architects, someone else owned the role of the business-relationship manager. In most cases, this was the project manager.\nThe additional role of the business-relationship manager, however, was likely ineffectively executed due to the workload that prevented the project manager from focusing on relationships. This isn\u2019t to excuse but to understand the phenomenon.\nThe hidden value here is that project managers understand what\u2019s required to execute. They can manage the tactical for CIOs, empowering BRMs to drive the strategic.\nDiscovering strategic value through project manager synergies\nBusiness-relationship managers are accountable for prioritization, demand management, and improving business process outcomes, e.g., value realization. It\u2019s helpful to outline what\u2019s in scope for most business relationship managers.\nBusiness relationship managers in-scope:\n\nIT face of the business\nBusiness-area function representative and subject matter advisor (as required)\nIdentify and capture IT demand\nPrioritize demand for business partners\nCo-own business processes\nDevelop business cases\nHigh-level technology impact analysis\nOwn organizational change management\nImprove business operations by applying business-process leading practices\nAssume accountability for all IT resources (internal and external) within the business partner\u2019s area\nCoordinate vendor management (business area and impacted IT areas). Manage vendor contracts.\n\nBusiness relationship managers out-of-scope:\n\nManaging project team\nFormally communicating project status, e.g., tactical\nManaging budget of project, e.g., PO, invoice, and payments\nManaging the PMO or project management lifecycle processes or deliverables\n\nKey areas of focus for business-relationship managers:\n\nDemand capture and prioritization\nBusiness process modeling, e.g., business process and business components\nIT roadmap for business functions\nSLAs\n\nLikewise, to leverage the project-manager role and unburden your business-relationship managers of tactical activities, understanding the project manager role is useful.\nProject managers are accountable for the delivery of internal and external projects and programs within scope, schedule, budget, quality, and benefits.\nProject managers in-scope:\n\nManage scope, e.g., delivery of agreed-upon scope\nManage schedule, e.g., on-time delivery\nManage budget, e.g., financial forecasting, PO, invoice, and payments\nManage quality, e.g., internal\/external quality measures, PPM tools\nManage benefits, e.g., project outcome realization\nDefine roles and responsibilities of team\nResource management of team, e.g., utilization and allocation\nManage and administer change control process, e.g., run the project change-control board\nCommunication of project status\n\nProject managers out-of-scope:\n\nPrimary interface with business\nDemand capture and prioritization of business wants and needs\nOwnership of the business partners\u2019 processes\nOwning the business process models\nManaging IT resources within the business partner\u2019s area\nManaging SLAs with vendors or business areas\n\nKey areas of focus for project managers:\n\nDeliver project and programs aligned within the expected scope, schedule, budget, quality, and benefits.\nClearly and consistently communicate status of project to impacted stakeholders\n\nCIOs can extend the capability to positively impact business partners strategically by visualizing in and out-of-scope areas for overlapping roles.\nSavvy business-relationship managers know the greatest value comes from thinking and executing strategically. That\u2019s difficult to do when you\u2019re wading through bogs of technical debt.\nA new breed\nAs business evolves and creates new roles, it\u2019s useful to remember that newly defined roles were once the responsibility of others. I\u2019ve had the pleasure to work with some amazing business-relationship managers\u2014leaders that wanted to be part of something bigger. These were dreamers who saw the potential for their business partners and were creative enough to build relationships to empower those visions.\nThe common theme is that inspirational business-relationship managers know that their strategic success stands on the shoulders of tactical success.