This model is very similar to Model 2 except that the person filling the product owner role is a business analyst in the IT organization. In this model, the product responsibilities are split between the product manager and business analyst.
This model often occurs in internal product situations where IT is working on a specific product for one or more business units, but the business unit does not have, or does not value, having someone on their staff involved on a day to day basis with the delivery team.
This model also happens when there are multiple business units impacted by work on a product and there are in fact multiple “product managers” who in this case are better described as business leaders or stakeholders. The person filling the product owner role in this case has a very difficult job because they have to make sure that decisions happen, and this often means trying to get a group of people with potentially competing needs and interests to agree. Or at least agree not to disagree too much.
I have not seen this model show up in product organizations, but am curious to hear if any cases exist out there.
Product Manager is responsible for:
- Setting Roadmap
- Global Prioritization
Product Owner (Business Analyst) is responsible for:
- Local Prioritization
- Story Writing
- Story Clarification
Most of the projects I worked on in financial services and insurance fit this model. IT (or a separate project management office or portfolio management office) owned responsibility for getting a project going and coordinating all of the activities. There was usually a business unit that requests the project initially and a manager or director from that business unit would fill the role of business leader (the internal product version of product manager), but they did not have time in their schedule to be with the delivery team on a regular basis. There may be situations where the business unit offers up subject matter experts, but they are not in a position to make decisions, nor are they freed up enough to spend all of their time with the team.
Another common occurrence is when there is a project that impacts several business units, but none of the business units want to own the product. A project to add a specific service to a data warehouse is a prime example. Several business units gain benefit from the product, but no one wants to own it. This is ends up putting Product Ownership responsibilities on the Business Analyst in IT and they often get very close to owning the Business Leader responsibilities as well, except they don’t. The biggest risk that happened with this project is that it was extremely difficult to get decisions made because everyone was approaching the initiative with their own interests. This project also experienced the typical impact of projects of this sort – scope exploded.
When to Use It
- Business does not have product management expertise
- May be a good approach to have a remote BA to support a remote team.
- BA role tends to be more generic and often a BA is called upon to serve multiple business areas.
Pros of the Model
The business leader can be outward looking to the customer/market, while the business analyst is available to the delivery team to resolve issues.
Cons of the Model
- The business leader must still OWN product ownership.
- The business analyst must be in service to both the business leader and the development team.
- With the business analyst residing in product development it is very easy for there to be a disconnect with the business.
- Since there is a business analyst available, the business may think that they no longer have an accountability to the delivery team.