The Perfect Partnership: Product Management and Business Analysis (part two)
By Greg Geracie and David Heidt
part one can be found here: https://productmanagement.buzz/index.php/2012/01/30/the_perfect_par/
Effective product managers spend a significant amount of time in the market
gathering requirements, monitoring trends, examining competitive activity, and
evangelizing their product. Product managers are also expected to distill market
information into actionable requirements and channel these requirements to the
team developing the product. A product manager’s job increases in complexity
as the organization grows. Product managers get stretched thinner and thinner
by the ever-increasing volume of internal and external demands.
When this happens, product managers naturally turn their efforts toward either
market-facing or product development activities. Although product managers are
skilled at both, they typically prefer one over the other and allocate their time
accordingly. Many pick market-facing activities. This bias toward one or the
other, and the demands that company growth place on a product manager,
ultimately causes the organization to feel the need to add a business analyst, or
someone with similar skills, to the team.
The new team member is tasked with helping facilitate, communicate, analyze,
and recommend business solutions as well as translating high-level requirements
created by the product manager into implementable requirements. This need for
translation necessitates a collaborative partnership between a product manager
and business analyst.
The pairing of a strong business analyst with a market-facing product manager can result in a perfect partnership. The product manager assumes responsibility for guiding the product successfully through its life cycle and interfacing with the market. In concert with the product manager, the business analyst drives the effort to turn high-level market requirements into requirements that are implementable within the constraints and capabilities of the organization. Factors such as people, processes, and technology are all key considerations for success.
This division of labor leads to improved harmony with the principles on the core team of product managers, project managers, business analysts, and lead engineers. Most importantly, it places the right people in the right roles to create value for the organization, customers, and stakeholders.
The reality is that product managers are often faced with the nearly impossible challenge of spanning the market and the multitude of development activities. And like project managers, who steer complex and interdependent initiatives, product managers who want to succeed must rely heavily on influence and shared organizational objectives while interfacing with customers and coordinating the activities of a myriad of internal stakeholders. Many product managers get stretched to the breaking point trying to be jacks of all trades and end up struggling against unrealistic expectations.
By pairing business analysts with product managers at key points throughout the life cycle of a product’s development, organizations can optimize bandwidth, expertise, and interest-related challenges that allow both roles to do what they do best – create value.
About the Authors
Greg Geracie is the President of Actuation Consulting, a world-class provider of product management training courses and advisory services to some of the nation’s most well known organizations. Greg is also the author of the global best seller Take Charge Product Management and the Editor-in-Chief of The Guide to the Product Management and Marketing Body of Knowledge.
David Heidt is a Managing Partner at Enterprise Agility, a worldwide leader in the areas of business architecture, process, rules, requirements, and legacy modernization. David is also President of the IIBA Chicagoland Chapter and a contributor to The Guide to the Product Management and Marketing Body of Knowledge.