Business Analysts and Product Owners are two careers that are inevitably intertwined due to their shared goal: they are both responsible for maximizing the value of a product resulting from the work of IT and development teams. They are responsible for understanding the user/customers’ needs of a website, system or software to produce “requirements.” The IT and development teams must then implement, build or change processes to ensure the business aligns their website, system or software with these requirements.
These employees will then help to bridge the gap between the technically-minded IT and development departments, to the wider business including marketing and design, throughout the process. As such, they must be excellent communicators with the ability to understand and explain complex terminology to stakeholders of all levels. Their understanding must be deeper than that of a Project Manager as they will be expected to answer (often quite challenging) questions surrounding a process, and be able to justify why they have made the decisions that they have.
In terms of routes into this profession, they don’t necessarily have to come from an IT or development background, but a basic understanding of both would go a long way to help in their day-to-day responsibilities and correspondences. A business analyst does not need to have an IT background although it can help to have some basic understanding of how IT systems work. Those candidates that do have a technical background often transition to a BA or Product Owner role within the same business, rather than by moving to a new one – making for a smoother, more gradual change.
Core areas of focus in this profession include: transformation and change management, data analytics and visualisation, documentation and process mapping, modelling, UX/UI, project management and requirement gathering/engineering.
BA’s and PO’s will often have experience in working methodologies such as: SAFe Agile & SAFe Wagile, Agile Scrum & Kanban, Waterfall.