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Product Owner Vs. Business Analyst - What's the Difference?

Product Owner Vs. Business Analyst - What's the Difference?

This blog aims to discuss the top differences between the roles of a Product Owner and a Business Analyst as these two positions are often misunderstood. It will explain the key responsibilities and skills required for each role, how they work together in an Agile environment, and how understanding their differences can help organizations better utilize these important positions to deliver business value through products and solutions.

Table of Content

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Who is a Business Analyst?

Business analysts are experts who form an interface between clients of different divisions and IT specialists. Business analysts work with executives from various departments to identify business issues and offer technological solutions. Apart from that, business analysts also keep track of existing company operations, make organizational changes, and design software systems.

What does a Business Analyst Do?

You must be interested to know about how to become a business analyst and what they do. Business analysts analyze and communicate business-related trends and data-driven solutions to the management. Business analysts play an important role in helping companies make data-driven business decisions through constant evaluations and recommendations. Business analysts identify the areas of improvement and suggest actionable that are in alignment with the business goals.

Who is a Product Owner?

Product owners are crucial to the overall success of a project. These professionals interact directly with the business to obtain project-related information to justify why specific features are implemented.

These professionals also contribute to the product’s vision excluding the technical aspects. They act as a business-side voice and a single point of contact for getting alignment, clarifying questions, reaching consensus, and driving decisions.

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What does a Product Owner Do?

A product owner takes care that each product delivers maximum value to the user. A product owner forms the core of any product development cycle. They maintain the backlog based on the evolving needs of the project and prioritize the needs and requirements of the project. They are also responsible for identifying the key areas of improvement and supporting the product design sprint. Apart from defining the product vision and strategies, they also perform the role of a business strategist, project manager, and development team lead.

Now, let us have a look at the job description of a product owner and a business analyst.

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Job Description: Product Owner vs Business Analyst

Product Owner Job Description:

Product owners are the head of an Agile team. They evaluate the work done by the team members of Scrum.

Scrum generates software for product development. Scrum professionals assess the software and make sure that the software matches the functionality and attributes of the product to attain maximum efficiency.

Product owners are also responsible for conducting time-to-time meetings to achieve high performance, fulfill project deadlines, identify product challenges, determine product road maps, and complete client targets and objectives.

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Business Analyst Job Description:

Business analysts are versatile and perform a wide range of tasks in various disciplines. The job description of a Business Analyst varies with different sectors and organizations. A business analyst in a technical team, for example, is in charge of monitoring and upgrading systems, while a business analyst in a sales team is in charge of addressing customer issues and gathering feedback.

The profile of a business analyst encompasses several different job titles including data analyst, enterprise analyst, business consultant, marketing analyst, product manager, requirements manager, system analyst, and many more.

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Educational Qualifications: Product Owner vs Business Analyst

Educational qualifications for both are quite similar.

  • Bachelor’s degree is a must-have
  • Bachelor’s degree in the following fields is preferred:
    • Business Administration
    • Finance
    • Accounting
    • Statistics
  • A Master’s degree in any of the above fields could be advantageous for advanced roles

Apart from the above-mentioned qualifications, one needs to have the following specifications to become a product owner:

  • At least two years of experience in the business field
  • Managerial qualities and outstanding verbal and written communication skills
  • A track record of producing excellent products on time is preferred

You can begin your career if you meet the qualifications listed above. Otherwise, you’ll need to get certified in a variety of courses. To enter the field of business analytics, you must first obtain a business analytics certification.

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Roles and Responsibilities: Product Owner vs Business Analyst

Let us have a look at the duties of a product owner and business analyst.

Product OwnerBusiness Analyst
Manage and prioritize the backlog of productsIdentify areas for improvement and put technical solutions in place
Assess the progress of product development at each iterationModernize and automate existing systems
Transform product managers’ strategies into development tasksProvide management and other teams with a plan of action
Maintain contact with developers to address questionsCollaborate with clients, IT department, and management personnel
Assess significant changes while ending a sprintEnsure cost-effectiveness and resource allocation
Assist in the coordination of product and developmentProject management and performance monitoring
Learn about the market and customer needsObtain information from a variety of stakeholders to provide valuable reports
Act as a primary liaisonAnalyze current business processes and devise improvement solutions
Be involved in Scrum, Sprint reviews, retrospective meetings, and Sprint planning on a daily basisKeep track of corporate processes and anticipate future needs or problems

Role of Product Owner and Business Analyst in an Agile Team

Now, let us understand the roles and responsibilities of a product owner and business analyst in an Agile environment.

Product owners envision products based on domain or industry knowledge and market need.

The duty of product owners is to guarantee that the products satisfy market and stakeholder demands; to do so, product owners do a market study followed by an enterprise SWOT analysis. Product owners are also in charge of the products’ go-to-market plans.

Product owners seek to leverage their domain experience or expertise, market needs, organization’s market position, and consumer expectations of the product as observed over time.

Business analysts are facilitators who link the users, stakeholders, and Agile team. Business analysts challenge assumptions and requirements, evaluate needs, identify gaps, and collaborate closely with SMEs to describe user stories and elicit requirements. Business analysts model and elicit requirements, maintain dataflows, and clarify requirements for the team.

Product owners are assisted by business analysts in delivering comprehensive artifacts. Business analysts are frequently thought of as stand-ins for product owners. This gives the Agile team more access to the viewpoints of product owners.

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Skills: Product Owner Vs Business Analyst

A product owner or business analyst should have the following skills:

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Communication skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Technical skills
  • Leadership and management skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Organizational skills
  • Analytical skills

Most of the skills of business analysts and product owners overlap, while a few are different. The following table compares the skills of a business analyst and product owner.

Product Owner SkillsBusiness Analyst Skills
Communicate on product requirements and goals, technical knowledge, project statuses, and stakeholder and user feedbackNeed to be skilled in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint)
Say no to feedback that hinders the development of a productMaintain a team-oriented and collaborative atmosphere with a feeling of leadership
Write user storiesHave high-level of technical knowledge
Support documents, images, and rough wireframes for user storiesHave thorough grasp over organizational structure and procedures
Design product roadmaps to keep track of product developmentDeliver presentations and write reports based on the results of analysis

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Career Path: Product Owner or Business Analyst?

Traditional Business Analysts advance to:

  1. Senior Business Analyst
  2. Business Architect
  3. Senior Business Architect

In an Agile framework, a business analyst may progress to:

  1. Product Owner
  2. PMO director
  3. Vice President
  4. Senior Vice President
  5. Chief Information Officer

A business system analyst may advance to:

  1. Senior Analyst
  2. Technology Architect
  3. Enterprise Architect

A project manager my progress to:

  1. Senior Project Manager
  2. Program Manager
  3. Business Owner

Anyone pursuing a career as a business analyst can grow in their career by moving laterally from one department to another with specialized abilities necessary for that area.

To go from a senior business analyst to a business architect, you must change your perspective from tactical to strategic, focus on the outside rather than the inside, and take a holistic view of the organization.

You’ll need leadership skills, a customer-centric attitude, and decision-making authority to make the shift from business analyst to product owner.

As you go up the corporate ladder, you’ll need to look outside the box and think more comprehensively to bring greater value to your company.

Check out our blog on Business Analyst Career Path to learn more!

Product Owner Salary vs Business Analyst Salary

It can be inferred from the graph that, in a few countries, product owners are paid higher as compared to business analysts. This might be due to the shift of responsibilities toward product owners. In some countries, product owners are paid similar, or even higher, to business analysts as the roles for both profiles are evenly distributed.

In India, product owners are paid higher than business analysts. This is because, in India, product owners shoulder higher responsibilities as compared to business analysts.

A business analyst with five to nine years of experience can earn about INR830,975 p.a., while a senior business analyst with over 15 years of experience can earn around INR1,209,787 p.a. The remuneration may rise to INR1,654,946 with more experience.


Though business analysts and project owners work in the Agile team, their responsibilities vary. Product owners focus on the development of products, while business analysts focus on the team’s business operations. Product owners are confined to the Agile team, but business analysts can work in different sectors.

If you’re a person who is flexible and would like to explore more, then you are well-suited to become a business analyst. If you’re a person who is keen to work on a particular aspect, then you are well-suited to be a product owner. You can always become a product owner from a business analyst with the right skills and qualifications.

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About the Author

Senior Research Analyst

As a Senior Research Analyst, Arya Karn brings expertise in crafting compelling technical content in Data Science and Machine Learning. With extensive knowledge in AI/ML, NLP, DBMS, and Generative AI, his works get lakhs of views across social platforms that benefit both technical and business spheres.