Business Analysts and Product Managers as Leaders

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With the growth in Business Analyst (BA) and Product Management (PdM) roles in today’s economy – US Department of Labor findings show 22% growth projected for BAs alone – it is becoming increasingly common for people to see these titles as a part of a greater career path.

Further, whereas people used to spend decades in those roles, today many folks see these roles as a valuable place to gain experience in multiple skills. With that in mind here are some types of skills to develop that can help you progress into a leadership role.

Project Management
Today senior BAs and PdMs often also wear the hat of Project Manager in smaller software projects. Unlike traditional Project Managers, it is very unlikely that a BA or PdM has the Project Management Professional (PMP) credential. It is very beneficial if you find yourself in a project management role to join the Project Management Institute (PMI) and begin taking classes towards achieving your PMP. Not only will these classes improve your project management skills, they title of PMP will open many doors to new roles and responsibilities. PMPs are far more commonly found in senior leadership and executive positions than those with business analyst certifications. BAs and PdMs who combine business analysis skills with the certification of a PMP will have qualifications that enable them to reach high management positions within an organization.

Industry Knowledge
If you spend a significant time working in any industry it is likely that you will become an expert in that domain due to your exposure to many topics within the field. As IT is typically an ancillary function within the company, there are often limits to how high a person within the organization can rise to. BAs and PdMs have enough soft skills that they can easily transition into positions on the business side. Combining those skills with domain knowledge and you have a person that is eminently qualified for management. Add in the ability of skilled BAs and PdMs to perform process analysis and improvement, placing them as the manager of a department has the added benefit of potential process gains.

Cross Functional Experience
One of the most common functions BAs and PdMs have as part of their roles is working with cross functional teams to develop requirements. Due to their experience working with multiple teams, these people make excellent committee heads for special projects. They are able to drive these endeavors to completion and ensure that everyone offers input in order to create the best possible work product. These skills also prove valuable in executive positions because they become responsible for the entire work product of numerous, different teams. Handling the challenges BAs and PdMs face in getting cross functional teams to work together to develop correct requirements enables the same people to handle challenges managing diverse teams.

By honing these different skills, BAs and PdMs can create opportunities for themselves to progress into leadership roles in an organization. With mastery of these different skills there will even be chances to establish yourself in an executive role and play a part in setting the path of your company!


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