Product Managers vs. Product Owners

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 Product Owner.

Though the titles are sometimes used interchangeably and the work may overlap, Product Managers and Product Owners differ. Not all companies have both roles. Smaller companies often have one person taking on the role of both the Product Manager and Product Owner. Product Owners are usually found in agile companies that use Scrum.

Product Manager

Product Managers are strategically focused. Their main goal is to make the product successful with both the customer and in the market. 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.

Product Owner

Product Owners are tactically focused. They turn the Product Manager’s strategy into tasks and work with other teams in the company to make sure the tasks are being completed. 

Some of their responsibilities include:

  • Be the customer proxy
  • Representing the interests of the stakeholders
  • Keeping the product backlog prioritized
  • Work with the Scrum team
  • Articulating user stories

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