Product Managers vs. Program Managers

The title Product Manager can differ from company to company, and often overlaps with other roles. In this mini-series, Product Manager vs. Other Roles, we will discuss how the role of a Product Manager compares to different roles. This time we will talk about Product Managers in comparison with Program Manager.

There can be a lot of gray area about the differences between a Product Manager and Program Manager depending on each individual company. Nevertheless, there are some key differences between both roles.

Product Manager

Product Managers focus more on what product to build and why. They own the product and are responsible for the success and failure of the product. Some of their responsibilities include:

  • Setting the strategy and vision of the product to align with business and user goals
  • Building a product roadmap
  • Works with engineers, designers, and stakeholders
  • Requirements evaluation
  • Stakeholder management

We have a blog post explaining what Product Management is in more detail.

Program Manager

Program Managers are more focused on how to achieve certain goals and objectives in an efficient and effective way. They are responsible for the how and when to release products. They depend on Product Management to make sure that the outcomes that are desired are realistic, and work with other Program Managers to direct the timeline discussion based on the features that have been requested and resources that are available. They work on planning things such as budgets, when certain departments should start working on their part of the production, etc.

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