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Difference Between Product Owner and Business Analyst: Pick Your Agile Saviour

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Difference Between Product Owner and Business Analyst

Gathering and analyzing clients’ requirements and the product is one of the most vital stages in the Software Development Process. A well-scrutinized problem and precise requirements regarding the product will go a long way to creating a practical solution that adds value to your business. The two chief players in this realm of gathering information and analyzing the process or the route for the team to proceed on are the Business Analyst and Product Owner. But the question remains what do these two roles encompass in the context of the Agile Development Framework.

The common misconception between masses is that a Product Owner role is the same as a Business Analyst but with a chic name and a new suit. But while the two share many skills in common, their roles are quite different. 

Let’s break them down.

In the world of Agile Framework, a team’s success heavily lies in their ability to communicate efficiently and effectively. 

Disruption or latency in communication can lead to poor results, 

  • Missing the critical features 
  • Missing vital functionalities within one of the features
  • Installing unwanted or underside features 
  • Making software that lacks in quality (bugs)
  • Delays in project

The need for having a Product Owner or a Business Analyst, or both, depends on the particular project. So if these situations mentioned above have happened with you or crossed your mind, worry no more. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the role and responsibilities of the Product Owner and the Business Analyst and if these two roles entangle each other.

Business Analyst

What Is A Product Owner?

The most cardinal role for the project’s overall success is called the Product Owner. This role is directly linked with gaining project-related information and providing justification for the business. They are here to provide a clear vision for the Development Team without stress about the technicalities of work. They serve as a voice from the client side. 

What Does A Product Owner Do?

Key responsibilities include

  • To provide business strategy
  • Keen focus on the consumer needs
  • Establish business management
  • Administrate the backlog of the product
  • Be the voice of the client to convey expectations to the Development Team.
  • Escalate and Deescalate issues if and when needed

The Product Owner is habitual with Scrum Framework. But we are not going to get into the details of that. If or not the Product Owner and Scrum Master can be the same person, you can refer here. 

What Is a Business Analyst?

On the other side, the Business Analyst is a person who has to oversee that the needs or wants of the client align with what the Development Team is producing.

This person works as a bridge between the business and the technical teams.

While the Product Owner is on the business side, the Business Analyst will be most likely to be on the technical side of the team. 

What Does a Business Analyst Do?

Key responsibilities include

  •  To make availability of all project requirements
  • Keep the focus on the project.
  • Understand the expectations of the stakeholders
  • Facilitate communication between the business and technical sides
  • Be aligned with the Product Owner to communicate the product vision. 
  • Identify the gaps between the consumer needs and the development team.

Business Analyst vs. Product Owner

Simply put, the Product Owner is the client’s voice or the consumer and the Business Analyst acts more like a representative for the technical team.

Although for full disclosure: the partition between these two roles is not that black and white.

The Product Owner and the client-oriented, while the Business Analyst is often seen leaning towards the tactical side of the project. But the Business Analyst can often take on the role of the Product Owner. This comprises managing the backlog of the product, breaking down big stories into smaller parts, making a workflow chart, defining rules of business etc. For these reasons, these two roles overlap sometimes.

So this begs the question in us: do we need people from two different backgrounds to complete the Agile Development Project. 

Can the Product Owner replace the Business Analyst?

The reality of this situation is that an Agile Team will be challenged to bridge the business and the technical sides of the project without a PO.

Some of the critical factors that the technical side should be aware of are the vision behind the project, success criteria, and the vital drivers needed for successful completion. These factors ultimately can only solved through a Product Owner. Thus making his value crucial to the organization because the PO is the only one who can bring business insight about what the product is set out to achieve in the near future.

Final Thoughts 

In the end, having a Product Owner who experienced certainly benefits the Agile Team. That is if he can achieve everything mentioned above and be able to provide clarifications and drive decisions. This result would work in favor of the Agile Team, making them more efficient and, in turn, making it an effective product. Then incorporating feedback from the other users will be a cherry on the cake.

But in case the Product Owner doesn’t have proper domain knowledge, then the Business Analyst would have to intervene and understand the work done in the project while identifying the key users to obtain as much information as possible. They then have to focus on it, and they have to understand the client’s context about the project and look at the bigger picture. 

Understanding these two different domains will help you grasp where your interests lie. In smaller companies these both roles are managed by a single person. But as the company grows, hiring people who specialize in one of these domains becomes inevitable. Thus from there, you can choose who should be your Agile Saviour.