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Product owner OR system analyst?

Last post 01:35 pm February 4, 2020 by Jay Garr
10 replies
12:12 pm February 12, 2019

Hello dears

Many books that I read are talking about the product owner as a system analyst!!

I don’t want to mention the books names due to some laws, but they talking about him as a person that sit with customers & stakeholders then gather requirements!!!

I agree 100% with these books... can anybody correct?

12:21 pm February 12, 2019

A Product Owner will often perform Product Management duties, such as market research, customer interviews, and stakeholder management.  Not a problem.

The Development Team may take on many of the system analyst tasks, as the Product Owner thinks and acts more broadly.

12:52 pm February 12, 2019

The System Analyst is not accountable for releasing the increment or the product itself. SA's work revolves around requirements. PO plays more broader role, ref Scrum Guide.

01:42 pm February 12, 2019

03:37 pm February 12, 2019

I agree with @Chris.  But want to add this one statement found at the end of the Product Owner section of the Scrum Guide.

For the Product Owner to succeed, the entire organization must respect his or her decisions. The Product Owner’s decisions are visible in the content and ordering of the Product Backlog. No one can force the Development Team to work from a different set of requirements.

As long as the entire organization will honor the Business Analyst in this manner then I see no problem.  But if the organization sees the Product Owner/Manager in the way described above, I'd say that the System Analyst is a person that aids the Product Owner/Manager in gathering the requirements and is a separate entity. 

04:18 pm February 12, 2019

Thanks Daniel Wilhite

BUT I think it's very difficult to avoid proxy P.O.

no P.O. knows all the details, so he must take the details from the stake holders that will affect his decisions by some how!

OR may I didn't get the Right Role of the P.O. :)

06:50 pm February 12, 2019

What do you call a proxy-PO ? Proxy between what / who ?

A System Analyst, as any Subject Matter Expert, can work with the PO in order to help him to manage the Product Backlog because yes, you are right, the PO can't know everything. These SME have absolutely no authority on the Dev Team nor on the Product Backlog.

See :

The Product Owner is one person, not a committee. The Product Owner may represent the desires of a committee in the Product Backlog, but those wanting to change a Product Backlog item’s priority must address the Product Owner.


04:15 pm February 13, 2019

no P.O. knows all the details, so he must take the details from the stake holders that will affect his decisions by some how!

That is absolutely right. The reason that stakeholders are included in the Review is to gain this feedback.  But the PO should also be in constant communication with stakeholders as well as doing market and environmental studies to ensure that the work is taking the company in the right directions.  But the PO is the one that makes the final decisions on what to do based on all of that feedback and the organization should honor that.   

@Oliver points out the exact Scrum Guide directions that answers your question. It might be a good idea for you to reread that entire section of the guide.

06:06 pm February 13, 2019

Olivier Ledru  &  Daniel Wilhite

Thanks for Answer & help


07:36 pm February 13, 2019

Fahad Ahmad .. Excuse me :)

I only noticed your answer today
thanks for your reply

05:14 am February 4, 2020

I don’t think that these titles/roles/characteristics are mutually exclusive or that there is a global “equivalency” between the traditional roles of Systems Analyst and Product Owner. 

I’ve worked with Product Owners that were Systems Analysts by trade - in fact, the top two P.O.s I’ve worked with were both S.A.s by trade and duty description, but on the scrum team they served as a P.O. even though they sometimes performed functions that would typically be considered those of a Systems Analyst. Conversely, I’ve seen folks that were S.A.s by trade that were not as successful in the P.O. role. 

I think that Chris Belknap hit on it when he said, “[t]he Development Team may take on many of the system analyst tasks“ in that various team members will perform the duties (e.g., market research, customer interviews, stakeholder management, etc.) on a scrum team that would have been the sole purview of a Systems Analyst in the waterfall world. One of the beauties of scrum is that we don’t necessarily have to have an individual specifically assigned to these duties; instead the team pulls together to get done what needs doing. 

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