What Is Product
are many different descriptions of what a Product Manager is. Melissa Perri’s
description from her Product Institute online course sums it up best:
Product Manager effectively solves problems for users while achieving business
Managers sit in the intersection of business, technology, and user experience,
which is verily similar to where many people see Business Analysts, with the
possible exception of including user experience.
Product Management role is most prevalent in a product development context
where they seek to understand the needs of their organization’s customers and
make decisions regarding what solution would best satisfy those needs.
a result of these responsibilities they need to be both outward facing, being
concerned about things such as pricing, profitability, and distribution. At the
same time they also need to be concerned with getting the solution they
identify built, and so are concerned about things such as personas,
requirements, use scenarios, and stakeholder communications. It’s in this area
primarily that the activities of a Product Manager overlap that of Business
a BA can become a Product Manager?
Why Does Product
Management Fit On The Business Analysis Career Ladder?
you look at a common definition of Business Analyst and Business Analysis from
the Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge:
Business Analysis is the practice of
enabling change in an enterprise by defining needs and recommending solutions
that deliver value to stakeholders. Business Analysis enables an enterprise to
articulate needs and the rationale for change, and to design and describe
solutions that can deliver value.
Business Analyst is anyone who performs Business Analysis and more precisely
Analysts are responsible for discovering, synthesizing, and analyzing
information from a variety of sources within an enterprise, including tools,
processes, documentation, and stakeholders. The Business Analyst is responsible
for eliciting the actual needs of stakeholders which frequently involves
investigating and clarifying their expressed desires in order to determine
underlying issues and causes. Business Analysts play a role in aligning the
designed and delivered solutions with the needs of stakeholders.
Analysts tend to focus on needs of businesses and stakeholders. They primarily
elicit, analyze and document requirements to find answers to known problems and
deal with complicated systems.
Analysts are usually found in organizations that develop products for internal
use, IT organizations, or process improvement organizations. In other words
there are two key differences between Product Management and Business Analysis:
1. Product Managers Seek
To Solve Problems For People Outside The Organization. Business Analysts Seek
To Solve Problems For People Inside Their Organization.
techniques to do this are very similar, although Product Managers face the
situation where their customers have a choice whether to use their solutions.
Business Analysts typically work in a situation where their stakeholders don’t
have a choice, or explicitly requested the solution. Product Managers have to
figure out if a problem even exists and whether it’s worth solving whereas
Business Analysts know a problem exists, they need to figure out what it is
(and they still should figure out whether it’s worth solving)
2. Product Managers Are
Responsible For Making Decisions. Business Analysts Are Responsible For Making
Sure Decisions Get Made.
Management includes a majority of Business Analysis activities, but involves
many other activities, including decision making. Based on the premise that a
position that involves decision making represents a step up from a position
that does not have broad decision making responsibilities, Product Management
could be considered a step on the Business Analyst career ladder.
Management certainly has a better alignment with Business Analysis in terms of
techniques and perspective than project management does. In addition, Product
Management is still relevant as organizations adopt agile, whereas project
management tends to disappear at the team level even though it is still
relevant at the enterprise level.
Management is not the only path you could take in your Business Analysis
career. In fact, it could represent a split in the path between leading
products, leading people (Business Analyst Manager / IT Management) or being an
individual contributor at the enterprise level (Business Architect).
How Can A Business
Analyst Become A Product Manager?
are a variety of ways that you can put yourself in position to become a Product
for Product Owner opportunities, especially those with decision making
responsibility. Product ownership is also a subset of Product Management, very
similar to Business Analysis with the important addition of decision making
responsibilities. This route is especially helpful if you are working in IT
inside of an organization. Taking on Product Owner roles on internal products
can often be a good place to get familiar with most of the aspects of Product
a side hustle where you create your own product or service. The side hustle can
be as simple as starting a website that focuses on an area of particular
interest for you. This gives you an opportunity to practice the market focused
skills that you may not use as a Business Analyst working on internal IT
projects. Another option here is to volunteer with a nonprofit or small
business to help them introduce or improve a product or service.
you think you’d like to get into Product Management at a tech company, a good
introduction is to take part in a Startup Weekend in your area. Startup
weekends are a weekend long experience where people, technical and
non-technical alike, get together to get a condensed experience of what it’s
like being in a startup. Participant form teams, often with people they didn’t
know before, identify a project, research the idea, build a minimum viable
product, and pitch their idea at the end of the weekend. Even if you don’t want
to really work in a startup this can be a great introduction to what product
focused Product Management can be. Learn more about Product Management through
blogs, books and courses.
from Business Analysis to Product Management is a very logical transition,
where you can apply almost everything you learn as a Business Analyst and pick
up new skills along the way.