Product Manager or Product Owner

For people looking to move into product management, the product owner role is often a stepping stone. In fact, many advisors do consider the product owner role as a subset of the product manager's role. That is a misguided view of the roles, especially given how the software industry is transforming. To be clear, both are different roles which require different skills and have different objectives, stakeholders and success metrics.

To summarize, the Product Owner works in an agile team, with a specific set of tasks and objectives.
The Product Manager is a business role, that has a wide range of responsibilities and objectives, depending on the 
  • Organization (centralized vs. product driven pricing, planning and budgeting)
  • Industry (B2B, B2C, e-commerce, networking etc.)
  • Software development processes (agile, waterfall, hybrid)
  • Seniority in the organization
  • and whether there are also product owners or an architect team in the organization
 Both roles have some overlap as well, however that is often because the company is undergoing a transformation and the roles have shared responsibilities.

Below is a slide that shows the possible growth path in this role.

I have uploaded a brief presentation on SlideShare that talks about the product manager and product owner roles. This will be useful for people looking to explore either role as a career opportunity. 

As the scope of the presentation is very large, it has been split into two parts. The first part is currently available on Slideshare. Feel free to view that and direct any questions at me.

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