Is being a Business Analyst beneficial for being a future Product Manager?

Every job I’ve ever had Business analysts specialize in data and use heavy SQL and dashboarding, frequently to support executives or business operations. I’ve read some posts that refer to it as more of a junior PM function, or at the very least as having some product component. What does that appear like in real life? How do you recruit that kind of person? Is it a wise decision? We are a small startup with a bottleneck in both our product and analytics; potentially, a hybrid of these could greatly free us up.


Being a business analyst can be beneficial for becoming a product manager because it provides a solid foundation in understanding the needs of a business and its customers, as well as experience in analyzing data and making data-driven decisions. Additionally, business analysts often work closely with cross-functional teams, including product managers, and have a good understanding of how different departments work together to achieve business goals. However, being a business analyst alone doesn’t guarantee becoming a product manager, other skills such as leadership, strategic thinking, and communication are also required to be successful in a product management role.


In practice, a business analyst in a product-focused role may be involved in the early stages of product development and may help shape the product strategy and roadmap. They may also be responsible for gathering and analyzing customer and market research to inform product decisions. Additionally, they may be involved in creating and maintaining product requirements and specifications, and working with cross-functional teams to ensure that the product meets the needs of the business and its customers. In some cases, a business analyst may also be involved in product testing and validation, and may work closely with a product manager to ensure that the product is delivered on time and within budget. Overall, the role of a business analyst in a product-focused organization may be more hands-on and may involve more direct involvement in the product development process, as opposed to a traditional business analyst role which is more focused on analyzing data and making recommendations to stakeholders.


Hiring for a business analyst with a product focus can be a good idea for a small startup that has both a product and analytics bottleneck. Here are some key steps you can take to hire for this type of role:

  1. Define the role clearly: Clearly define the role and its responsibilities in the job listing, including the specific skills and experience required. Highlight that the role will involve both product and analytics responsibilities, and that the ideal candidate will be comfortable working with cross-functional teams and have experience in both areas.
  2. Look for relevant experience: When reviewing resumes and conducting interviews, look for candidates with relevant experience in both product and analytics. This could include experience in product management, business analysis, data analysis, or a related field.
  3. Assess skills and aptitude: Assess the candidate’s skills and aptitude for both product and analytics. This could include asking about their experience with customer research, data analysis, and product development, as well as testing their ability to analyze data and make data-driven decisions.
  4. Consider soft skills: Soft skills such as communication, leadership, and problem-solving are also important for this type of role. Assess the candidate’s ability to work well with cross-functional teams and communicate effectively with stakeholders.
  5. Look for a good fit: Finally, look for a candidate who is a good fit for your startup culture and who shares your company’s vision and values.

It’s worth noting that hiring someone who can unblock the company by being a “hybrid” of product and analytics is not always a guarantee. It’s important to evaluate the candidate’s skillset and experience to see if they align with the role and the company’s needs.


Phew! That was so much insightful @DanCoelho. The detailed explanation of the hiring process is so much worth and useful. I’m going to save it with special notes. Thank you @MichellePlowman and @ElvinHenriques for your comments. Really very helpful.


Business analysis has a clear definition; look at some examples by searching “IIBA” on Google. The problem is that various companies and industries don’t comprehend it and frequently misuse the phrase. There are also many positions with the same names and a lot of overlap between them.

In conclusion, a business analyst gathers business needs from key stakeholders and relays them to the IT team. There is a lot more to it, but I won’t get into it here. They were deeply ingrained in waterfall project management for many years since they existed long before there was any such thing as a “product.” But as a function, business analysis is expanding in line with agile, scrum, etc.

A standard BA might not be the best fit for a tiny startup, in my opinion. I believe it would be best for you to hire a product manager with analytics expertise. Although it depends on the person’s skill set and interests, there are BAs out there who could perform that job, you might have more success hiring someone for a position with a different title.

Feel free to ask away if you want to converse more; there is plenty more discussion to be had here!


Before Product Manager became popular, Business Analyst served as the umbrella term for the majority of non-tech effort needed to develop a product or provide a service. The role of BA was not just limited to data. I’m pretty confident that many people performed PM-type tasks while working as a senior or lead business analyst in the past, and they still do in the majority of businesses. A more product-focused extension of the BA job, the PM has some clearly defined duties.


Business analysts don’t have a single, all-encompassing description, but they frequently work to improve shared truth so that outcomes are what are expected. Some go one step farther and improve procedures. They eventually merge all of the requirements they test into a usable increment.

I began working in a big organisation as a BSA on the core delivery team. I began by working on lower priority tickets, such as UI tweaks and admin systems. I largely collaborated with the SME (product managers who were in charge of a certain feature or area) to develop the appropriate user experiences. In three years, I’ve advanced to the position of PO in the UX/Front-end team.

The majority of “BA” titles I’ve come across were SQL/dashboarding.


Business analysts (BAs) are professionals who help organizations optimize their performance by analyzing data and identifying opportunities for improvement. In many cases, business analysts are responsible for gathering and analyzing data, and then using that data to make recommendations to stakeholders.

The specific responsibilities of a business analyst can vary depending on the organization and the industry, but some common tasks include:

  • Conducting research and analysis to identify business needs and opportunities for improvement
  • Defining and documenting business requirements and processes
  • Creating data models and dashboards to visualize and communicate data
  • Communicating with stakeholders to understand their needs and gather feedback
  • Collaborating with cross-functional teams to implement solutions and measure their effectiveness

In the context you described, BAs are often focused on data analysis and reporting, and they use SQL and dashboarding tools to extract insights from data. They may be working with large sets of data to support the business operations and provide executives with the information they need to make data-driven decisions. In this context, BAs may work closely with data scientists and other data professionals to ensure that the data they are working with is accurate, complete, and of high quality.

In summary, Business analysts are problem solvers, they use data and analysis to identify opportunities for improvement and help organizations make better decisions. The specific skills and responsibilities of a BA can vary depending on the organization and the industry, but in general, BAs are responsible for using data to drive business success.


Business analysts (BAs) generally do not have the decision-making power in an organization, as they are typically responsible for providing recommendations and insights to stakeholders who have the authority to make decisions. BAs gather and analyze data, identify opportunities for improvement, and make recommendations to stakeholders based on that data. However, it’s the stakeholders who have the decision-making power and are responsible for deciding whether to implement the recommendations.

That being said, BAs can play a critical role in the decision-making process by providing stakeholders with the information they need to make informed decisions. They can use data to identify trends, uncover insights, and provide a clear understanding of the business context. BAs can also help stakeholders evaluate the potential impact of different options, and identify any risks or challenges associated with them.

Additionally, Business Analysts can have some level of decision power depending on the organization structure and their role within the company. Some BAs may have more autonomy and decision-making power than others, and in some cases, they may be responsible for leading cross-functional teams and working closely with senior leaders to develop and implement solutions.

Overall, Business Analysts are considered a support function and they do not have the final decision power, but they do play a critical role in the decision-making process by providing the necessary data and insights to support the decision-making process.


A senior data analyst is best if you just want to dig out and manipulate data; most of them have worked with executives and senior project managers and are therefore experts in their field.

A business analyst can be used in two different ways if you want to fill a middle-ground position between tech and business; they also frequently come from two different backgrounds.

There is a scrum master who removes roadblocks and a business analyst who works in business continuity, lives across products, and acts as a business eye in all products.

I don’t think a hybrid work role works when you may have a better experience by using a data analyst senior; make sure he retains some communication skills. A business analyst who doubles as a data analyst has been doing well lately.


Mostly because if you want to understand what is happening, you need to ask some questions, form some hypotheses, and test some models.

The business analyst will scream bloody tears.

A data analyst or data wrangler must perform that low level of work.

And for high-level business communications, you should call the data lead to confirm a report you received, thus a senior data analyst with strong communication skills is far superior.


I agree with what you wrote @MichaelYoffe. In this particular example however, for a startup, I don’t think they have the maturity to be data driven, I think they are better off with a standard business analyst who can do real business analysis so they will be building the right thing.


As you said @KaneMorgan, in a startup you require to build the right thing, is a single PM per feature/product. Not a PM by portfolio.

I still think a data analyst and a business exec/C-level is more valuable.


Question is, who will do the business analysis activities, because they need to be done. Devs? Haha, good luck Project manager? Nah, they are about the project. Product Manager or Product Owner? Well, if they are trained business analyst then that could be an option, and actually a great one.

In this phase i think a business analyst with a technical background would be a better solution in my opinion. My reason is that small to middle companies are not data driven. They don’t have much data. If they need some data to be displayed one of the devs can put together a dashboard. The data analyst as a full-time job, I just don’t see in a small, startup organization.


Every startup should be data driven. period. How they are supposed to survive a compulsive product market fit iteration without leveraging from their small user generated data.

A Business Analyst with technical background might be a useful solution but to find the right candidate that has enough knowledge and skills to build the foundation of decision-making architecture, pretty special candidate.


I mean I absolutely agree with you but in my experience it almost never happens. They are using some data, but they are so far from being data driven…

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Easy enough to fall into a bias, less time in adaptation, high opportunity cost

If you want a business analyst that makes a hybrid between gut feeling and data to make esoteric decisions it is a bit risky for a company that has not proven that it is here to stay.


Again, business analyst is a supporting role. It does not make decisions. It is not his task.

A business analyst is responsible to create a common understanding of a proposed business change. This is what we have, this is the as is status. This is what we as a company wants to achieve business wise, this is the to be. This is not his or her decision, this is a business level decision, which - hopefully - is supported by data. Then the business analysts helps to come to a common understanding by all stakeholders including business, it department, legal and compliance, regulators, and so on. The job of business analysis is not how technically something will be implemented. It is the what, and the effects on the company’s daily operations.


I agree, I just think that the requirement of such role implies that the other roles are not doing enough, or they don’t have the right skills.

but the talent is scarce, make sense, I’m more like elite player startups.


Well, in my opinion people from business side want to see workers who can do anything for a single salary. So we need devs that are doing frontend, backend, database optimization, DevOps, cloud, business analysis, data analysis, distributed system design, document writing, and all sort of stuff. So then this will become a jack of all trades master of none kind of situation and they cannot really concentrate on the actual development. And of course, anyone can learn business analysis, but it takes years to master it. Business analysis looks like a very simple activity, but it’s actually really complex and tricky and the same as coding it takes lots of practice. Which devs in most cases rarely have, and to be honest, most devs should not be sent to customers :joy::joy::joy::joy:

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