Product Owner vs. Business Analyst - Demystifying the Ambiguities


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Agile projects, due to the short cycles of delivery, require a collaborative team, substantial leadership support, and a robust, agile culture to be in place to be called as working and successful.

The two key pillars for a successful agile project are the product owner and the business analyst.

The product owner works almost like the director of a movie, envisioning the macro and micro-level details for the product. At the same time, the business analyst ensures smooth execution of the sprint and manages the epics and stories' details.

However, there are many ambiguities between these two roles due to some overlap of skills and responsibilities.

Let us look at both the roles to seek the similarities and differences:

1. Product Owner

The product owner has a vision of the product keeping the domain/industry experience and the market need.

His/her job is to ensure that the product meets the market and stakeholder needs; he/she conducts a market analysis followed by an enterprise SWOT analysis to come up with the product vision. The PO also works on the go-to-market strategy for the product.

The product owner tries to leverage his/her experience/expertise in the domain, need of the market, the industry or the domain that it is into, the organization's market position, and the customer expectation of the product as seen over the years of experience.

Critical Responsibilities for Product Owner

  • Market Analysis –
  • Analysis of market need/demand
  • Availability of similar products in the market
  • Underserved customer needs
  • Potential trends in synergy with current offerings

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  • Enterprise Analysis
    • SWOT analysis
    • Due diligence on the market opportunity
    • Product offering decision based on the due diligence report
  • Product vision and roadmap – 
    • Product vision keeping the need analysis in mind
    • Product roadmap with high-level features and timeline

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  • Go to Market Strategy – 
    • Go to market strategy.
    • Marketing messages/communications
    • Channels of marketing
    • Modes of advertising

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  • Managing Product features
    • Managing stakeholder expectations and prioritizing their needs
    • Prioritization of the epics/stories/features based on criticality and ROI involved

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The PO works closely with the stakeholders and the BA in giving more details to the product.