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Product Manager vs Product Owner

Product Ownership or Product Management? Product Product Manager vs Product Owner are two very different jobs that require different skillsets. This video will explain the differences between these two roles and how they differ in terms of responsibilities and expectations.

Product Owner definition

Product owner is a role from the SCRUM framework

A product owner is responsible for defining the features and functionality of a product. They work with stakeholders to ensure that the product meets business goals and objectives.

Product owners are in charge of writing user stories and managing the product backlog. The product owner serves as the customer’s primary point of contact for product needs. They will prioritize customer requests in this product backlog. The product owner is fully in charge of identifying and prioritizing the intended audience’s needs. This entails keeping in touch with the product’s development team to discuss upcoming changes. If the development team has any questions about essential user requirements, the product owner must answer. 

The product owner’s responsibility is to ensure that the products developed by the agile scrum team are of the highest possible quality.

Assuring that the user stories meet the requirements of the customers. A product owner is required for companies that want to implement an agile-based product development methodology. They must work closely with customers, business leaders, developers, and project managers.

Read more about Product Owners

Product Manager definition

Product owners typically focus on the end user experience while product managers focus on the technical aspects of the product. Product owners are usually involved in the entire lifecycle of a project, whereas product managers tend to focus on one phase at a time.

Read more about product managers

The Difference Between Them

Product owners are responsible for ensuring that the products meet customer needs and expectations. They work closely with customers to understand what features are needed and how those features should function. Product managers are responsible for making sure that the product meets the business goals set by the company. They also ensure that the product is technically sound and ready for release.

Different mindsets

The role of the product manager is to find what users want, prioritize what to build next, and organize the team around a product roadmap. Creating and organizing a product backlog that maximizes the end-user experience is the product owner’s responsibility.

Many factors influence how these roles work properly from one business to business. A few examples are product maturity, organization size, departmental structures, Scrum and agile adoption, and company philosophy.

It’s hard to differentiate between the roles because they all share the same goal. Product owner and product manager roles overlap, but the product management process assigns distinct responsibilities.

In conclusion a Product Manager is a strategic employee who oversees the product vision and market. In contrast, a Product Owner is more systematic and will translate strategy into actionable tasks. Product Owners are common in Agile teams due to the term’s origins in Scrum. A product owner is effective within a Scrum process, whereas a project manager can exist outside of Scrum.

Sebastian Krumhausen
Sebastian Krumhausen
Sebastian is a product management coach experienced in agile product and new business development. Since 2010, Sebastian has helped companies define their digital strategies and deliver data-informed experiences by crystallising their value proposition, business model and executed their go-to-market strategy. He has previously founded two eCommerce-startups and worked with clients such as IKEA, LEGO, BEC, Coor and Ørsted.