Ever since the boom of software technologies, there has been a constant back and forth between the roles and responsibilities of a product owner and product manager. Due to some slight overlaps here and there, both the parts are often confused as one and the same.
We, however, are here to resolve the confusion. To put it simply, no, product manager and product owner are two different roles with distinct responsibilities.
In this article, we will help you identify the difference between both. We hope that by the end of this post, you will have a firm understanding of what each role demands and how they are different from one another.
Product Manager Vs Product Owner – How Are They Different?
Product managers deal with the business side of things. Their sole focus is on the product roadmap and identifying whether the goals are being accomplished or not. On the other hand, a product owner is an individual much more involved in the development and management of the product.
Product managers are more focused on business objectives, goals of the product, and the overall market. They come up with strategies to optimize the product for the users, creating and exploiting opportunities for the growth of the business.
Product owners, in contrast, are involved in the development of the product. A product owner considers various aspects of the product and the background knowledge to create the product with utmost efficiency and ensures that the end product is delivered on time.
It can be said that a product owner is a subdivision of a product manager’s role. Product managers look at the big picture and focus on accomplishing long-term goals. Contrarily, the product owner focuses on immediate goals and short-term goals.
We will shed insight on the difference between their responsibilities. Read on…
Product Manager Vs Product Owner – Responsibilities
We already clarified that each role demands different things. Consequently, the responsibilities are also different. But before we move on to differentiate the responsibilities, we would like to add that the difference between the two depends on several factors.
There is a lot of transparency in some aspects that make it harder to distinguish between black and white. These factors, hence, play a role in determining what role a product owner and product manager play in the business.
These factors include:
- Size of the establishment
- Structure of the organization
- Company’s vision and mission
- How established the company and the product is
- The management framework of the company
All these factors define the responsibilities of each role. Based on these factors, there may be one or multiple duties of each role. In fact, the product owner and the product manager can be the same person. As we said earlier, establishing clear boundaries between both roles is difficult.
In the following sections, however, we will try to highlight the differences between both the roles in terms of what it demands from them. Let’s get on with it right away!
Responsibilities Of A Product Manager:
As we mentioned earlier, the product manager deals with the business side of things. They optimize the quality of the product and work on improvements. Their role is a strategic one, focusing on the development of a roadmap for the product.
Product managers are a part of the organizational structure and are involved in the product’s development. They have a cross-sectional role where they collaborate with the product owner, project manager, stakeholders, and team members.
To create a product that stands out in the market and incurs profits for the organization, the product manager analyzes the market and the needs of the end-users. With the data they gather and their own expertise, they create a roadmap for a product that meets the demands of the users and has a standing of its own in the market.
The responsibilities of a product manager can be summarized in the following pointers:
- Conduct market research to identify the needs of the users and the competition in the market
- Strategize the long-term vision of the product
- Bring the team on board and introduce the product roadmap
- Identify all the features that have to be built and incorporated into the product
- Work in collaboration with the team, product owner, and the stakeholders to make sure everyone is on the same page and one with the product roadmap
- Build features that delight the users
- Developing a successful marketing strategy for the product, in collaboration with the sales and marketing team
- Improving product sales
- Management of the finances of the product
- Developing a long-term vision for the product
- Satisfying the demands of the customer
- Communication with the R&D team to identify the best tools and techniques for the development of the product
- Working with the vendors for the best possible rates
Usually, product owners are knowledgeable in product development and can hold lengthy discussions with every team involved in the process.
The role demands that the individual be involved in the product lifecycle all the way through. Starting from the earlier stages of the process, they develop a long-term vision for the product until the end, when the product is delivered to the end consumer.
Responsibilities Of A Product Owner:
Product owners are a part of the Scrum team. Contrary to what one might assume from the term, Product owners are not the actual owners of the product. They are responsible for being on time with the delivery of the product.
Product owners are often called the ‘voice of the customer’ since they represent stakeholders’ desires to the Agile delivery team. They work closely with the product manager, stakeholders, and the team to ensure the end product aligns with the long-term vision and has the right functionality.
Creating and managing product backlogs is an essential part of their responsibilities. This entails that they are responsible for prioritizing the list of features, bug fixes, and much more.
Following are some key responsibilities of a product owner:
- They bridge the gap between the stakeholders and the team by acting as a representative of the team and communicating their needs and demands to the stakeholders
- Prioritize requirements on the product backlog and provide all the details to the development team regarding the product itself
- Facilitate communication with the product manager and the stakeholders
- Concert users’ issues into user stories to create actionable items and prioritize and arrange them in the product backlog
- Meets with the Scrum Team and the stakeholders to make sure that the product roadmap is being followed
- Determine daily tasks for the development team
- Convert the product manager’s vision for the product into reality
- Optimize the product development process
Product owners tend to focus on the delivery of the end product, all the while making sure that it aligns with the product vision and fulfills the requirements communicated by the product manager.
Product Manager Vs Product Owner – Salary Difference:
Product managers are slightly highly paid when compared with product owners. According to statistics by Glassdoor, the average salary of a product manager in the USA is around $107,682, with an additional income of $11,098 per year.
According to Glassdoor, product owners have an average salary of $101,000 a year. Their additional pay amounts to $13,623 per year, which is higher than product managers.
Both roles are highly paid, but product managers are perceived as the better ones, which creates a discrepancy in the income.
Product Manager Vs Product Owner – Scope:
The product manager role has a higher scope than the product owner when it comes to scope. They are not only in contact with the stakeholders but also communicate with the product owner, the product’s end-users, and the product development team.
Since theirs is a cross-functional role, they have to be more skilled and knowledgeable in every aspect of the business. They define what success is for the product, so their scope is undoubtedly more extensive than the product owners.
Talking about the product owners, the scope of their role is relatively narrow since they focus on day-to-day activities. They work with the development team to optimize the product backlog and ensure timely delivery of quality products.
Product Manager Vs Product Owner – Artefacts:
Product managers are responsible for creating the product roadmap that highlights the vision for the product and all the other details related to it. On the other hand, product owners are responsible for the product backlog, sprint backlog, user stories, etc.
Is It Necessary to Have Both Roles?
The answer to this question depends on you and your organization. If you think that having both roles will add value to your company and will be beneficial in the long run, then you should definitely fill both positions.
However, if you do not need one of the two or your company does not need both, hiring both will be more detrimental than advantageous. It will be a burden on your organization financially and will add no value to the business.
In conclusion, if the product manager is responsible for the product development’s what, why, and when, the product owner determines the how. Both roles fill different responsibilities, but it cannot be denied that they are indeed the two sides of the coin.
Good communication between the two can ultimately lead to better results, delivery of quality products on time, customer satisfaction, and higher profits.
We hope that you have a clearer understanding of the difference between a product manager and a product owner by now.