There is wide-scale adoption of technology amongst software development teams, but understanding the difference between the Product Owner and the Product Manager role is a topic of enormous discussion. To explain it, first, let’s look at Product Owner and Product manager as roles and not as titles in the product organization structure.
The Product Managers’ and Product Owners’ responsibilities vary by title. They are often considered as historical artifacts of a company’s heritage. As a result, many Product Owners perform Product Management responsibilities, and many Product Managers carry out Product Ownership responsibilities. In fact, they both can perform both roles simultaneously and independently.
Role of Product Owner as Described in Scrum and the Scrum Guide
If we particularly talk about the Scrum framework, the Product Owner is a defined role and has certain responsibilities and authority. The Product Owner is responsible for the product’s success by getting the most out of the output of the development team.
Also, they are the sole person accountable for ordering the product backlog comprising:
- Clearly stating the product backlog stuff
- Making arrangements for items in the product backlog to best achieve business operations and goals
- Optimizing the work value that the development team executes
- Make sure that the product backlog is evident, transparent, and clear to all
- Illustrates what team will work on next
To be a Product Owner, one must accomplish all listed roles and responsibilities. Though there are much more than the Product Owner may perform, they must complete the aforementioned responsibilities.
On the contrary, a Product Manager may carry out any subset of tasks within the discipline of Product Management. These include:
- Being an expert on the market and customer
- Business Case Development
- Feature, Schedule, and Cost Tradeoffs
- Product Strategy
- Roadmap Development and Positioning
- Value Delivery Through The Ecosystem
- Whole Product Definition
However, there’s no single task that defines the role of Product Managers or is assured to be shared between Product Managers. Thus, unlike a Product Owner that needs to perform ALL the responsibilities in a small defined list of roles of a Product Owner, a Product Manager may perform ANY of the responsibilities in a well-defined list and still be well thought-out as a Product Manager.
While comparing the responsibilities, Product Owners are more secretly concentrated, working in greater detail with the product team than traditionally done in Product Management, particularly around developing stories and acceptance criteria.
Similarly, Product Managers tend to be more outwardly focused on the business case, complete competitive analysis, portfolio management, win/loss analysis, and life and forecasting.
Roles often go beyond in different areas, such as visioning and roadmaps, persona development, needs, features description, positioning, and defect management.
Both the Product Owners and Product Managers are accountable for the business success of the product. Still, the Product Owner’s main “levers” of influence are features and the order in which they are developed. On the other hand, a Product Manager has the additional “business” levers, often considered parts of the complete product, such as pricing, bundling, service levels, training, and channel offerings.
Success Measure: A Final and Subtler Point
The job of a Product Owner is to optimize the value that the development team creates and ensure that the product features meet the customers’ needs. Product Managers are accountable for the business case and make sure that it is understood. Product Managers are more likely to be contacted for funding out of the two. The Product Managers converse like – if you give the funding amount, they will provide you with the business result.”
The Product Owner most probably works on an approved project. They have a different conversation with management. i.e., “if you are spending money, they will ensure maximum profits.”
It is essential to understand the full spectrum of responsibilities of Product Managers and Product Owners. Also, they must know that their job roles and responsibilities are significant contributors to product success. Both of them must have the skill and experience to perform their responsibilities on time and in a perfect manner.
If you want to learn more about the Product Manager and the Product Owner functions and how they should interact together, Palarino Partners can help you guide you on the same. We completely understand the power of both the job positions and guide candidates based on their potential. We help them search for a new opportunity where they could perfectly fit well. For more information on our services, visit our website!