How to transition from a Business Analyst role to a Product Manager role?

If you are currently a business analyst and want to move up in your career, then it is ideal if you pursue the field of product management. One of the great reasons why it is recommended is that both fields focus on solving problems.

However, as a business analyst, what it requires you to become a product manager is to becoming strategic towards your behavior and thinking.

If you are a business analyst and think that you are apt for the role of a product manager, then this post will help you understand how the transition works.

Let’s get started.

First, understand the difference between a business analyst and a product manager 

While there are a lot of similarities in the roles of a product manager and business analyst, there are many differences as well. If you are making a switch, you need to understand the difference here.

As a business analyst, you are focused on developing capabilities. But, a product manager’s role is entirely focused on developing products. That is, if you become a product manager, you will be completely responsible for the product. It is vital for the product manager to understand why and how people use the service/product. On the other hand, business analysts are focused on defining the requirements and necessities for a business capability.

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The primary difference you need to know is that as a BA, you are intended to solving problems inside your company. These are often very complicated problems that require you to bring together different stakeholders to find the key. Well, the stakeholders are inside the organization, and you can talk to them, at least in principle.

However, as a product manager, your customers are external. You have to talk to as many customers as possible. If your organization boasts a good market research team, you will get a decent idea of what your customers want. But, as a product manager, you will always be working with little to no information than you would get as a business analyst. Hence, you have to implement ideas that represent your predictions and best guess about what your customers need.

If you are able to understand this aspect, transitioning from a BA to a product manager becomes much easier.

Since you have little to no exposure to the customer-end of the business, you have to prepare yourself before switching the job roles. For that, you need to:

  • Find opportunities to work with your company’s sales and marketing team, including the UX professionals, because they will be some of the key partners as a product manager. You don’t have to be an expert in the mentioned areas, but you need to know how they work.
  • Get your hands on customer-facing projects. This way, you will be able to find opportunities to connect your job to work that brings revenue for your organization.
  • Engage with project sponsors and business cases. This will allow you to understand how the project you are working on will improve service, avoid additional costs, and increase revenue.

If you are interested in embracing the role of a product manager, business analysis is a great place to start from.

February 4, 2020

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