Product Manager vs Business Analyst

Product Manager vs Business Analyst
3 min read

Product Manager is a term that varies from company to company and often overlaps with other titles. We will compare the role of a Product Manager to other positions in this mini-series: “Product Manager Vs.” This time, we’ll cover the differences between the Product Manager vs Business Analyst roles.

Despite the differences between a Product Manager vs Business Analyst, the roles may require some of the same skill sets. Titles aren’t always the same in different companies. For example, some companies refer to Business Analysts as Product Owners. But both roles work together to make products that customers will love and enjoy.

Product Manager vs Business Analyst Definitions

Product Manager

A Product Manager’s duty is to create a product that is meaningful, feasible, and valuable. They fulfill this task by integrating business strategy, design experience, and consumer needs. Product Managers are responsible for optimizing a product to meet business objectives and consumer requirements while maximizing the return on investment.

Product Managers are outward-facing. This means that they interact with customers and look at the market to evaluate opportunities. They also take care of finding the most urgent problem to fix and making sure that the team has a solution for it. Product Managers are the owners of the product roadmap for the entire lifespan of the product. They ask the questions that lead to the success of the product, such as “what direction is the product going?”, “what are the customers asking for?” and, “what is the company doing to give the customers what they want?”

Business Analyst

Business Analysts are usually inward-facing. This means that they focus on what is happening inside of the company. They evaluate internal systems, practices, and processes to see how they can best support what the Product Manager is asking for based on what the customers and the market want.

Business Analysts work with the engineering team to determine how the problems with the product will get resolved from a functional user perspective. They evaluate what the internal business challenges will be, what the technical restraints are, the known risks and which action items could lead to solutions.

They also ensure that everyone is working in unison to assist the organization in making more profits, solving current business challenges, and attain their objectives more effectively. One of their core responsibilities is updating the business process during the project. This objective is to ensure that anyone with access to the product is aware of its current stage.

Responsibilities

Project managers are in charge of project preparation, execution, tracking, control, and closure. They are responsible for the entire project scope, team, and resources, as well as the project’s success or failure.

Business Analysts work via data analysis and market analysis to assist companies in developing processes, products, facilities, and applications. As part of an Agile Team, they act as a link between IT and the market, bridging the gap and increasing productivity.

The most significant difference lies in how they support the product. Product Managers will typically need to focus on the meaningful aspect of a product, while the Business Analysts will need to concentrate on identifying opportunities to improve efficiency within the project.

Overlap

While Product Managers and Business Analysts seem to collaborate closely on projects, they both have distinct roles that help people differentiate between the two. A Business Analyst’s job is to recognize a company’s needs and challenges by evaluating and developing its existing processes by identifying requirements and proposing strategies for improving an organization.

While you can make a healthy living as a Business Analyst, the next step to Product Manager seems like an obvious one.

Throughout the course of a product’s lifecycle, Product Managers will work closely with Business Analysts to create the right project. Both positions must have an in-depth understanding of target markets, users, business challenges, and opportunities. Along with clear communication, this will help ensure that the project runs efficiently.

Skills

In any position, you should constantly be trying to enhance your skill base. Luckily, the skills necessary to succeed in Product Management are closely tied to those coming from a Business Analyst background.

While both will need to have exceptional commercial awareness, communication and interpersonal skills, as well as being adept at time management, the purposes these skills are applied to have different objectives.

Product Managers will need these skills to ensure that the product is successful, while the Business Analyst will need them to ensure the product is being created efficiently.

Product Manager Vs Business Analyst

There are more similarities than distinctions between Product Managers and Business Analysts, and the transition from Business Analyst to Product Manager can be a seamless endeavor. With a plethora of cross-over skills and coinciding purposes, becoming a Product Manager is an excellent career move.

For a first-hand account, you can see how Vimeo’s PM did it here.

If you’re considering a career in product management, we’d love to help you take the first step. Schedule a free coaching call with our in-house team to get started.

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