Product Owner Vs. Business Analyst

Jan 26, 2018

Product owners focus on technological development, while business analysts attempt to develop companies, and readers can learn more about the differences between the annual salaries, career outlooks, and responsibilities of these professionals.

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Comparing Product Owners to Business Analysts

As the top decision makers on a scrum team, product owners are on the frontline of software development. Business analysts, however, are responsible for making a company more efficient by finding ways to develop a its processes and policies.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Product Owners Bachelor's Degree $81,023 24% (Software Developers)
Business Analysts Bachelor's Degree $59,289 12% (Management Analysts)

Sources: *Payscale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Product Owners vs. Business Analysts

Product owners lead computer software development teams using an agile approach that offers a faster means for designing and releasing the product to customers or end-users. Business analysts may also work to develop technological environments, but that is not always their main goal. Often, business analysts are called upon to redesign a company's work processes, such as managing inventory. Interestingly, both of these professionals should first know a company's business processes by interviewing end-users and company leaders.

Product Owners

Product owners work on scrum development teams to quickly build computer products for organizations or consumers. Similar to some product managers, these leaders carry the main responsibility for the software or hardware product and its release to users. First, they create a prioritized list of requirements, also called a product backlog, that details what the software will include, as well as its overall purpose. To do this, product owners should have a firm understanding of the end-user's technological needs. Though they lead the team during long development meetings, also called sprints, the team is able to dictate what they can complete on a given day.

Job responsibilities of a product owner include:

  • Researching market trends to fill gaps with new product
  • Dividing the project into smaller parts that can be developed and released to customers quickly
  • Changing the product features after a sprint and fixing issues noted during development
  • Making the team aware of deadlines

Business Analysts

Business analysts design projects to improve the operation of an organization and make it more profitable. These professionals complete market research and find gaps left by competitors in order to develop a sales plan. Though they can work in other fields, like accounting or marketing, business analysts typically help organizations integrate technology into their business processes. First, they complete a report outlining any system issues and offering suggestions for change. For these projects, they are able to communicate between technology departments and the stakeholders of a company to decide what the project will include. For other projects, business analysts may recommend new procedures that will streamline the workflow and make the company more efficient. One example of this is eliminating unnecessary positions in the company.

Job responsibilities of a business analyst include:

  • Analyzing business and financial data to determine what operations should be addressed and developed further
  • Defining the scope and outcome of the development project
  • Presenting project plans to company leaders and other stakeholders
  • Measuring the effectiveness of their business solutions using metrics

Related Careers

Because software architects design software for companies and consumers, as do product owners, those interested in becoming a product owner could consider a position as a software architect. Business analysts look for ways to improve a company's finances, similar to the job duties of financial managers, making financial managing a potential career alternative.

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