Business Analysts in a Product World: How do Business Analysts fit into Product and Why are they Important?

BAs in a Product World: How do Business Analysts fit into Product and Why are they Important?

The Product space is rapidly growing, and with it the importance of clear role definition. There are many disagreements over role titles and responsibilities, especially around Product Managers vs. Product Owners, and certainly around Product Managers vs BAs. I’ve previously written about Product Owners vs Product Managers, so this time wanted to focus on Business Analysts, what they do, how they’re different to Product Managers, and why they’re an important part of Product Teams.

I will be discussing this question in much more detail with Jason Kingston, Director at Cube Thinking, on my BA Podcast next month, but until then, I just wanted to share a very brief overview of some of the key responsibilities of Product Managers and Business Analysts, and how they work together.

What’s the difference between a Product Manager and a Business Analyst (BA)?

Product Managers and Business Analysts work closely together throughout project lifecycles, but despite this closeness, the roles are separate and very different. 

The role of a Business Analyst is to identify business needs and challenges by assessing and then improving its current processes and systems. Business Analysts drive change in organisations by identifying challenges and recommending solutions, and then collaborating with the relevant team to implement changes. This involves working alongside, for example, software development teams to implement technical changes into software-reliant processes. Essentially, Business Analysts initiate change, and then technical teams deliver on these changes.

Product Managers guide and support cross-departmental teams through the full project lifecycle. They are often in charge of keeping the project aligned to roadmaps and strategies, whilst also managing feature definition, marketing and forecasting. Product Managers often decide the what, why, and when of a product and should provide the expertise required to make strategic decisions. 

The difference between a Product Manager and a Business Analyst is that Product Managers tend to focus on the market and interacting with customers to assess opportunities, with the main goal being the product itself. A Business Analyst is more likely to focus their efforts inside the company and their goals are more aimed towards the processes, practices, and internal systems and how to improve them in order to support the Product Managers plans.

What do Business Analysts Do and Why Do you Need One on your Product Team?

A Business Analyst should be a key member of any Product team, as they are able to gather, understand, and interpret mass amounts of data in order to provide better products and services to customers. A Business Analyst will help: 

  • Define and focus on a target audience
  • Understand customer needs
  • Track customer behaviour and trends
  • Determine customer motivation
  • Make product improvement recommendation
  • Help structure achievable goals

How Do Business Analysts Drive Product Development?

In a nutshell, Business Analysts perform data analysis, identify business needs, define requirements, and documents and improves processes and procedures. Great Business Analysts are then supported by the wider Product Team which often includes Project Managers, Product Managers, Team Leaders, Quality Assurance Managers, Developers, and Test Engineers.

Hiring Exceptional Business Analysts with Maxwell Bond - Award Winning Produdct and BA Recruitment, Manchester & Berlin

It’s difficult to build a high performing Product function without Business Analysts. Hiring exceptional Business Analysts is a valuable asset to any team, as they can help convey complex data as easy-to-understand information. This allows Product Teams to make more informed decisions and deliver great products for their customers. 

If you’re looking to expand your BA and/or Product function, please get in touch for help identifying, attracting, and retaining top BA and Product talent in the UK or Germany.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for your next role within the Product space, browse our current vacancies here.