Moving from a Business Analyst to a Product Manager role

Business analysts often look for the logical career paths for their role. A lot of Product Managers come from the BA ranks. The biggest things aspiring PMs need to learn are becoming more strategic in their thinking and behaviour.

When it comes to Business Analysts, it is often recognized as a logical career. It is their propensity to analyze every aspect of business that allows them to become indispensable to an organization. And upon close inspection, we have come to the conclusion that most Product Managers come from the Business Analyst background. 

To put it simply, most Product Managers used to be Business Analysts before shifting careers. Even though the job descriptions are different, Product Managers and Business Analysts are united by their mutual goal to create the right product for their organization. 

Hence, an aspiring Product Manager from this background will find certain similarities, and whole lot of differences. Be it strategic thinking or understanding customer feedback, a Product Manager will have to go beyond the analytical approach. 

The shift in careers for a Product Manager has to be purely based on business model and value. It has to be based on their zeal for the customer – to understand and address their needs, how to solve their problems, and providing them with a unique end-user experience. It has to be based on how well you can make your approach more strategic, and how you manage your priorities and time.

This shift is also determined by communication skills and how effectively you can sell your ideas. Well, we can say that “Behind every great product manager is a great business analyst.”  

With this blog, we have tried to put more perspective to the entire idea of Business Analyst vs Product Manager. Keep reading to find out more.  

Who is a Business Analyst?

A business analyst is a person who analyzes an organization’s processes and systems to assess the business model and its integration with technology. A Business Analyst helps guide businesses in improving their processes, products, services, and software through data analysis. They are primarily responsible for bridging the gap between IT and business with data-driven recommendations. 

To become a Business Analyst, the following business skills are imperative: 

  • Analytical Problem Solving Approach: Business Analysts deal with large amounts of data daily. Thus, they need to have an analytical approach to any problem they encounter. 
  • Effective Communication: To present complicated data, it is essential for Business Analysts to know how to speak clearly and effectively. They should be able to explain this data to everyone with ease. 
  • Creative Thinking: With technological advancements happening every day, it is essential for Business Analysts to brainstorm and come up with innovative ideas. 
  • Industry Knowledge: Business Analysts need to be on top of the latest trends in the industry to ensure that the organization is moving in the right direction.

Who is a Product Manager?

A Product Manager is a person who is responsible for developing products for an organization. Product managers prepare business strategies for a product, specify its functional requirements, and manage the launch of features.   

A Product Manager needs the following skills: 

  • Communication Skills: To explain the specifications and strategies of a product, a Product Manager needs to know how to communicate clearly and effectively. 
  • Technical Expertise: Product Managers need to have technical knowledge to ensure that the product vision can be clearly explained to the engineering team. 
  • Marketing Inclination: To develop marketing strategies and put out the launch plan, Product Managers need to have an extensive know-how of marketing. 
  • Strategic Thinking: Product Managers should be able to think strategically throughout every phase of a product’s development, be it deciding launch plan or conducting market research. 

So, now that you understand the basics of who a Business Analyst and a Product Manager is and the skills they require respectively, let us look at what they share in common and what sets them apart.  

The Similarities: Business Analyst & Product Manager

The significant similarity between these two roles is the focus on requirements. These can be identified as: 

  • Product Managers and Business Analysts need to develop a deep understanding of a market, users, and/or a business problem/opportunity
  • Both are responsible for communicating their understanding of the requirements, business and product, to their teams

The Differences: Business Analyst VS Product Manager

Below are two main differences between Product Management and Business Analysis. Product Managers are focused on developing Products; Business Analysts are focused on developing capabilities for the business. 

For Product Managers, the ultimate goal is the product. While it’s critical for the Product Manager to understand why and how people use the product, they generally do not define how people use it. Business Analysts, on the other hand, are responsible for determining the requirements for a business capability.

Product Managers are responsible for the product roadmap. Business Analysts are not. The product roadmap is one of the core responsibilities of the Product Manager. This means the Product Manager has to answer the question: what’s next? What’s on the horizon? What direction are we taking this product? 

The Business Analyst is working within a project and taking the direction and scope as given (or possibly making scope and recommendations). 

To Conclude

Though the roles are different, the core definition to their job function remains same. If one is responsible for the product, the other is for the business. Be it thinking strategically or using effective communication, their skill sets are quite similar to each other. Yes, when shifting roles, as a Product Manager you may need to develop a skill or two, but it can be seamless, if you want to.  Therefore, if you are looking to make a career switch, the process can be smooth. If you have an affinity for product management and want to make the plunge, you can go ahead and make the transition.  You can also get in touch with our senior counselor and see how you can make transition to Product Management Role.
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