Product Owner VS Product Manager: What Your Business Needs to Know?

Product Manager and Product Owner are two different personas in a company, and both are essential for a product's success. But both roles are different and come with different responsibilities. So, in this blog, you'll learn the major difference between these two roles.
Product Owner VS Product Manager

Product Led Growth (PLG) and the roles of a Product Owner (PO) and a Product Manager (PM) are crucial in modern product development. Clear roles and responsibilities are essential for product success, but confusion between PO and PM often leads to inefficiencies and miscommunication.

The result?

It can hinder product development and impact the organization's growth.

But most of us have major questions related to these two roles.

Such as, If a company has both personas, who is responsible for what? Can teams succeed with both? And a lot more questions

So, in this blog, we'll answer all such questions.

Let's get started.

Who Is A Product Owner?

The term product owner can be confusing, as it is not a person who owns the finished product; instead, it refers to an individual within the organization whose role involves representing users and overseeing development.

It is a term that emerged from the Scrum framework, which builds and supports complex products. A Scrum framework, made by a scrum team (and adopted by the company), defines a product owner as “responsible for maximizing the value of the product resulting from work done by other teams.”

The product owner is the conduit between customers and developers. Moreover, it’s their job to translate what the customer wants into executable specifications for development.

What Are The Roles Of A Product Owner?

The product owner is responsible for managing the product backlog. It entails creating, prioritizing, and assigning actionable tasks to agile teams so that they can accomplish specific outcomes on schedule.

The work required to refine a backlog (i.e., make it more manageable) often far exceeds the initial requirements for software development or system analysis.

Especially true when working with large-scale projects that require multiple iterations before the final product emerges from its design phase.

In addition to this, the other essential responsibilities of a Product Owner (PO) include:

1. Creating User Stories

The PO works closely with the customer to understand their needs and requirements and then converts them into a format that can be understood by software developers, designers, and QA engineers. It is done by creating user stories that are short, specific, and easy to test – but also have enough detail so that they don’t have to be rewritten during development.

The PO must also keep track of these user stories and ensure they don’t get lost or forgotten during development.

2. Managing Backlog

The Product Owner is responsible for maintaining and managing the product backlog, which contains all user stories that have yet to be implemented. It includes prioritizing them based on their business value and assigning them to developers and designers who will work on them.

The PO also needs to track which features have been completed so they can be released when needed (or at least communicate this information with stakeholders).

3. Overseeing The Development Stages

POs must oversee each feature's development and ensure it’s implemented correctly. It includes ensuring that UX changes are being made according to specifications and communicating with stakeholders continuously to keep them informed about new features coming down the pipeline.

4. Establishing A Connection Between Stakeholders And The Team

The PO is responsible for connecting stakeholders and the development team. As such, they are responsible for communicating all significant decisions and strategies to stakeholders to gain their buy-in. They must also provide clear instructions on what is expected of the developers.

5. Evaluating The Progress After Every Iteration

POs have to evaluate the progress after every iteration. It includes assessing whether or not the team is on track to deliver what has been promised and determining whether any potential issues need to be addressed immediately.

Who Is A Product Manager?

The product manager (PM) is the one who strategically drives the development, market launch, and continual support of a company's products. A product manager's role focuses on long-term strategy,

  • Where does the company want to be in five years?
  • What are its core values?
  • How will you get there?

As well as identifying new opportunities that could add value for customers or open up new markets into which your business could expand.

The role of a project manager can vary slightly from company to company. Still, it generally includes analyzing market trends and conducting a business analysis by forecasting and gauging profit and loss. The PM also manages relations with external stakeholders.

What Are The Roles Of A Product Manager?

The role of a Product Manager involves gathering data about the market, competitors, and potential customers to create a unique product while meeting consumer demand. The role will encompass strategic and tactical work, and you will lead teams from all parts of the company, including engineering, marketing, customer service, and sales.

Product managers define the why, when, and what of the specific product a business will build--and they work with project managers and other team members throughout every phase of development.

In addition to these, here are some key responsibilities of a Product Manager,

1. Developing Competitive Analysis

A product manager works closely with marketing to monitor and develop a comprehensive competitive analysis. It can include researching what other companies are doing with their products or services, monitoring social media for customer analysis (especially if there’s an issue), and looking at industry publications for trends that could affect your product.

2. Supporting Product Sales

A product manager works with sales to ensure the sales team has all the information they need to sell your product. It includes answering questions from sales and marketing teams about pricing, competitive analysis, customer feedback, and other factors that could impact whether a sale is made.

3. Budgeting

A product manager is responsible for setting a product's budget, including project and marketing expenses. It can include working with sales and marketing teams to determine what they need from you to sell your products effectively.

4. Keeping Product Teams On Track

Setting a product's strategic vision is a critical role for a PM. It means creating a roadmap that outlines where you want to take it. It includes identifying what features must be added when completed and how much money will be spent on each.

It can include communicating directly with developers and working closely with designers and other stakeholders to ensure everyone is on the same page about what features must be added.

5. Tracking Metrics And Analytics

A product manager needs to be able to track the success of their product, including how many users are using it and what they’re doing when they do. It can include identifying what data you want to track, implementing a system that collects it, and then analyzing it to identify trends or issues with the product.

It can also include creating reports and presentations highlighting critical insights from your analysis so that everyone on the team knows how their work contributes to sales or user engagement.

Wrap: Product Owner vs Product Manager

So, will the product owner or the product manager be in charge? That depends on what sort of ship you're trying to navigate. The right people with the relevant skills make for a capable captain and crew.

While having a product owner and product manager are significant assets, the ultimate decision on what to include or exclude in your products must be made according to company needs, customer needs, and priorities. Defining product roles is essential—but you will always need to adjust them as circumstances dictate.

While they fulfill different roles, PMs and POs must work together to produce the desired product outcome and achieve business goals while satisfying customers. After all, the goal is to create a useful, usable, and desirable product.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. When Do I Need a Product Owner?

The Product Owner role is essential if you have a team of developers creating a new product. The Product Owner would be responsible for understanding users' needs and ensuring that their needs are met by the features being developed. In addition, they work closely with your development team to ensure that each component is implemented correctly, on time, and within budget.

2. When Do I Need a Product Manager?

Product managers are integral to product development and invaluable to any organization.

When deciding if you need a product manager, it's important to consider your product's complexity, team size, and available resources. If you have an extensive product roadmap, multiple stakeholders, and a growing team, a product manager can help you stay organized and on track.

3. Can I Manage My Team Without a PO and a PM as a Founder?

If you have a small team and meet all your criteria for management, it’s possible to manage without an additional Product Manager or Project Manager.

However, this can be extremely difficult and will take up your time. As a founder with limited time, you should focus on building out your product rather than managing its development. You should only consider this option if you are experienced in product management.

About the author
Arnob Mukherjee

Arnob Mukherjee

Building Olvy

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to Olvy's Blog.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.