“Mind your own business.” This slogan belongs to popular wisdom, but it also applies to the current world of business. The companies that want to be successful need to focus on what they do best and what is representative of the core and purpose of the organization. At the same time, digital transformation forces companies to add platforms, software products, and applications of all sorts if they want to remain competitive and attractive to consumers or internal collaborators. How can companies find a point of balance between these two critical needs?
At Making Sense, we define it as a key player: the product analyst (PA). We are talking about a professional who not only knows how to make software products but is additionally able to partner with the client to understand the purpose of the business, to work with developers and other team members every day to meet the needs of users and guarantee that the product objectives meet the requirements of both universes.
The third sphere
Additionally, to connect with the client and the development team, PAs also communicate with a third sphere that is not always considered in software projects: the market. Clients focus on the vision for their business and the product itself, and the UX researchers and designers concentrate on the view of end users. Without the PA, market visibility might be diluted.
It is true that, very often, the team needs to gain a deeper understanding of the market; that is why this complement is essential. Additionally, going back to the mind-your-own-business slogan, clients often have neither the time or the resources to adjust the product objectives, so they stay abreast of the market’s pace, particularly at this time when everything changes overnight.
In this context, PAs bring to the project trends, market evolution, competitor initiatives, spaces or segments that can be gained, and the opportunities to generate disruption or mitigate the risk that another company does it.
Most importantly, PAs must obtain the information and know what to do with it so that the data are actionable and are turned into decisions and proposals to generate an impact for the products and the business.
Translator and glue
In short, PAs work as a translator, an orchestra conductor, and diplomat.
PAs can speak the technological language: they keep up to date with the technological tools being used, and they know about databases, interfaces, services, API, and UX. They also understand the technology of the business, its objectives, and the latest developments in the market. In this way, they pick up the different visions of the multi-disciplinary team working on the project and turn them into one.
PAs standardize these different languages and orchestrate them to define a roadmap and to guarantee that the product has a true, positive impact on the business strategy, that it generates a better experience for its users, meets the objective of the ecosystem where the business operates and pushes the data-driven culture within the organization where it will be used.
They also take care that the view of each universe permeates the other so that they are all aligned behind the largest purpose.
Support and monitoring
PAs become the glue that keeps the whole team together: they support and monitor each initiative to make sure that results are obtained as and when they are needed, that business rules are respected, and that the technical team understands why and for what each task is performed and how it adds value to the end product.
This way, they put in the dedication necessary for each activity, according to how relevant it is for the project: they do their best in each case, according to the business purpose.
For all the above reasons, Product Analysts play a fundamental role in the success of projects. Every company creating a critical software product will enjoy the enormous benefit of relying on somebody who plays this role. There is only one more step: every single organization ought to know this.