The product owner’s Mission – is to maximize the value of the product and the work
- Defines and communicates product requirements and priorities.
- Determines release date and content
- Responsible for achieving goals and budget
- Manages stakeholder expectations
- Accepts deliverables
The product owner can be called the “avatar”. He represents the customer in the team and is the representative of the team to the customer. He is the liaison. He knows the business value of every change in the product and communicates it to the team. His main task is to build up the value of the product and avoid spending the smallest amount of money on things that don’t create business value.
Team members, due to their perfectionism (especially inherent to developers), enthusiasm for the tasks, love of research and experiments, love to spend time (and thus one’s money) on “bells and whistles” that sometimes don’t add any value to the product. Every man-hour spent on insignificant things steals the resource that could have been spent on the functionality you need.
People with the skills of a business analyst, or product manager, with experience in customer relations, requirements management, etc. are well suited for the role of the product owner. In teams where the project manager previously led the negotiations with the customer, he or she may well play this role. The customer representative can also play this role. But I have encountered such a customer representative only in situations where the custom development was subcontracted. In other cases, the customer usually knows only the need, not the solution. And he usually does not want to lead the development and participate in other team activities.
Product owner vs product manager
A product manager combines the competencies of a marketer, analyst, and economist. The product owner works more closely with the product development team.
Why is the product manager often confused with the product owner?
In contrasting the roles of product owner vs. product manager, you can find more commonalities than differences. Both have the responsibility of creating and upgrading a product that has value to customers. Both product managers and product owners work closely with developers to make the consumer “pain” solution better and more user-friendly.
Residents of Silicon Valley, who know the new product development process better than anyone, write this about this direction:
“The story is not about how to manage managers and engineers. Managed products mean deeply understanding the problem aims to solve and then chasing the goal of managing every nuance of that problem. There is always a place for compromises on what the team can accomplish at the moment and what customers need. Their perception of the product manages what to do first and what to do next.”
From the quote, you can see that both the strategic direction of product development and attention to detailed perfection are important. This is the reason why the difference between the product manager and product owner is not so noticeable from the outside. Both professions are considered identical and are very often perceived as different names for the same function in a company.
The product manager aims at the strategic perspective and is responsible for the entire life cycle of the product. Product owner, on the contrary, has a narrower focus on their work. What is more important for him is the ongoing work with the development team and troubleshooting the list of bugs.
The PM focuses his/her actions on the market and the target audience of the customers. This is how he or she defines the sequence in which the next product update is going to take place. The product owner is more guided by the product development roadmap and, interacting with the developers, is responsible for its implementation to obtain the proper result to the expectations of users.