The product manager vs. product owner debate is a never-ending one. Who is responsible for product development? Can one exist without the other? What are the fundamental differences between the two job roles? Whose role is more important in product management? Find answers to all your questions about product owners and product managers.
There are several things that determine what a product owner or a product manager does for a company. Some major factors include:
- How popular is a product?
- How big is the business?
- The company’s structure
- The use of Agile and Scrum practices
- The organization’s philosophy
The significance of optimization and delivery proves that both the product owner and the product manager should have the same target. While the end goal remains constant, their roles in product management vary. So, product owner vs product manager – who is more in demand these days?
Who is a Product Manager?
The person assigned with the task of leading products to success is a product manager. He is the head of cross-functional teams that improve the product’s features. A product manager’s role doesn’t have to be exactly the same in all companies. So, some product managers also need to analyze market trends, forecast losses and profits and communicate with stakeholders. They work together with the project owner and multiple teams to launch a product successfully.
These are the major tasks a product manager performs:
- Researching how customers enjoy and utilize a product and receiving feedback from customers on what additional features they expect
- Come up with a strategy keeping in mind the long-term vision of the product
- Provide a roadmap to the products team to keep them on the same page
- Suggest what new features can be included in existing products
- Initiate the process of adding features that customers want
- Coordinate and advocate for the product team, stakeholders, and partners to keep everyone informed
Who is a Product Owner?
A product owner is not the person who owns a particular product. Neither does he take ownership of any finished product. A product manager is someone who is accountable for maximizing the product’s value resulting from the collective work of the product development team. In simple words, he is the voice of the customers and is responsible for product backlogs. He also ensures that the team attains a specific product outcome by making changes to existing features and fixing bugs.
These are the responsibilities of a product owner:
- Listens to users and turns their complaints and problems into user stories so that the products team can prioritize these stories and address the backlogs
- Tells the development team where to focus first and which tasks to prioritize
- Attends all team meetings to be sure that the product development team is able to follow the roadmap provided by the product manager
- Serves as the connecting link between the development team and its target customers
- Offers constructive feedback on the product roadmap designed by the product manager.
Do Companies Require Both Roles?
Businesses take various factors into consideration to figure out whether they require both a product manager and a product owner. For any company, business value tops the list of priorities. Assessing the requirements of the product development teams and product creation processes to achieve specific goals is the second priority. For small organizations, product management or ownership often becomes a blended role – one that incorporates both as well as product marketing.
So, who is more important: the product owner or the product manager? It all depends on the nature of the products and the needs of the company as well as the customers. Both the product manager and the product owner can be great assets to an organization. So, if you fancy a career in product management, research online to learn about the best product management courses to decide what’s best for you.
Also Read: Basics of Business Process Automation