Product Manager Vs Product Owner:
What is the difference between a product manager and a product owner?
The product owner role has plenty of interest and controversy. Some believe it to be the traditional product manager. This post attempts to demystify these important roles.
Even though these terms are often used interchangeably, and admittedly there is some overlap/similarities on the responsibilities, however, the roles of product manager and product owner are indeed different. Most of the smaller/younger organizations in the software, bring in one for both Product owner and Product Manager responsibilities to quickly establish the product. However, as the growth progresses, there would be a huge need to separate these roles. Today we’ll look at the role of a product owner vs. that of a product manager and explore the various responsibilities and skills.
The responsibility comparison between product managers and product owners:
We can see here that there are few similarities between these functions. For example, both roles guide the product through the development process and work with several of the same teams across the organization.
At times, a Product Owner might take on some of the more strategic roles of a Product Manager, and vice versa. But in a prototypical agile organization, the team will have both product owners and product managers, each responsible for some variation of the functions listed above.
Key Skills needed for Product Manager and Product Owner:
Most of the skills overlap between these two roles, while it is the difference with whom the roles interact or focuses on.
- Effective Communication skills
- Excellent Listening skills
- Basic Technical skills – Domain knowledge
- Analytical skills – Data Analysis, Business analysis
- Critical Thinking and Creativity skills
- Market Research skills
- Problem Solving and Decision Making skills
- Leadership/Ownership/Initiative skills
- Management skills – Product/Project/Time etc
- Emotional Intelligence skills
- Collaboration skills
- Product vision and Product strategy skills
- Flexibility, Adaptability and Story Telling skills
- User Experience best practices
The debate over where a product manager’s role ends and a product owner’s begins—or whether or not these two functions are just two different aspects or of the same position—will probably go on forever.
However, what is essential is that the product organization should have a team structure that works for the process and that the Product Managers and the Product Owners in the team know exactly what the responsibilities and goals are for their roles.
Bhargavi Ganivada (Director of Product Development)