Product evangelist and champion; Product visionary; Market research guru; External and internal communication stakeholder; A product manager is thus the person responsible for driving the product strategy and monitoring the whole product lifecycle starting from market research, customer development and ranging to marketing and sales enablement. While there is still no one-size-fits-all solution, a standard is emerging from most successful product teams and organisations that can serve as a template for your own: This is an entry-level position, for someone who is brand new to the role. For a smaller product portfolio, the head of product might be able to take on the role. The individual will typically benefit from having solid product management skills and from having successful managed individual products before stepping into the role. To get a more complete picture of the Scrum product owner role, take a look at my product owner guide: A feature owner is an individual who owns a capability end users can interact with, for example, the ability to persist a Word document or to edit it. It became a title when organizations started looking to hire product people explicitly to fill the product ownership role. Product Manager: While these two titles get confused a lot, the difference is in the title itself - a project manager manages projects and project teams and a product manager manages a product, usually from a marketing or technical perspective. A product owner is a key player through each of the development events, including planning, process refinement, product review, and final sprint. 4,416 Product Owner jobs available on Indeed.com. I’ve seen the SAFe product owner being described as a more cross-team/-product role than the scrum-specific product owner. This includes actively managing the portfolio, collaborating with the product owners who look after the products within the portfolio, harmonising the individual product strategies and product roadmaps, aligning major releases, managing dependencies, and helping create a common user experience across the various products. While this is pretty clear, what to do with existing job titles can get confusing. Nevertheless, the product owner is often regarded as a tactical role tasked with managing the product backlog, detailing requirements, and interacting with the development team. The term product owner is commonly used to refer to six different product roles in my experience. Historically the teams have been sitting in different departments – car function teams with R&D and end user feature teams with Digital. Delegator. If the product owner owns a product and is responsible for maximising its value, then it is important to understand what a product is. Note that some of the roles above can be combined. The strategic product responsibilities are taken on by another role, the SAFe product manager. You can find out more about which cookies we are using or switch them off in settings. For example, the owner of a persistence service has to be able to describe its interfaces or APIs and converse with the users—the development team members who use the service. Trying to progress several products at once tends to reduce a team’s productivity. I have been a Product Owner, though based on this information I was more a Platform Owner. Owner. Ken Schwaber apparently chose it to emphasise that the person in charge of the product must be empowered and respected. The product owner title started out as one of the roles from the Scrum framework. Specifically regarding different product owner types, I have a question for you! You could refer to yourself as a shareholder, member, partner, sole proprietor or simply, owner, but you most likely want something more descriptive when promoting your products or services. In this way, it is more like a product owner. As with anything else in product, these team structures and tiers should be aligned with customer needs so that you’re incentivising and organising teams in alignment with your company goals. Out of the six roles describe, the SAFe product owner comes closest to a “product backlog manager” in my mind. Replies to my comments While I have applied this approach in the past, I now consider it not helpful, as a Scrum product owner should own a product in its entirety. As I have suggested before, what truly matters are not our job titles. A junior product manager is also new to the role, but doesn’t require as much hands-on training as an associate product manager. Having clear and common structures for product management job titles in our teams will help us all better understand our careers, roles, and teams. When a platform grows, it may be necessary to share product You’ll see this specific job title for companies using Agile product development. Thank you for sharing your experience and question Joanna. A software platform is a collection of digital assets that are used by several products, as I describe in more detail in the article “Leveraging Software Platforms”. None is per se better or worse. While the product manager tends to look outward to the market and customers to determine what direction the product should head, the business analyst is an inward-facing role, examining internal processes, practices, and systems to determine how to best build and support that product. Thank you for your feedback Dana. Product Owner This role is similar to a technical product manager, but it’s even more tactical and inbound. Click here to resend. Your email address will not be published. In many startups this is called a Head of Product but I’m not personally a fan of that title as there’s no way to promote a Head of Product – they’re already the Head! Technology businesses have generally ignored the standard terms used in other industries. We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our website. Love your non-judgemental tone here Roman. I’ve been a longtime fan of your clear descriptions & thoughts, helping me take a step back to think outside of the box and always giving me new energy to keep on going / try a new angle. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again. It might be better to focus on the product that creates the most value for the business, at least for now. Since it’s still a relatively new role, there’s a lot of confusion around product management job titles, seniority, and hierarchy. This is where soft skills around people management become a critical part of the job – managing people is even harder than managing products! The agile scaling framework SAFe uses its own product owner role, the SAFe product owner. Does this help? He is also the author of best-seller Product Leadership, How Top Product Leaders Launch Great Products and Build Successful Teams (O'Reilly, 2017). Limited Liability Company Titles. (In contrast, a Scrum product owner is always involved in the tactical work, even though the bulk of the work may be done by feature and component owners in collaboration with the dev teams.). Seriously, he already has the best title! Frankly, I can’t see another option unless the development team can split into three new, fully functional teams without having to add new team members. Given that the collection of responsibilities of these people is heavily interdependent and nothing is mutually exclusive, none of them actually ‘Own’ anything at all. A product is an entity that creates value for users and the business, as I suggest in the article “What is a Digital Product?“. I have seen all of these patterns as well. For example, I am writing this article using Microsoft Word. As its name suggests, a product owner in Scrum is in charge of a product. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Product Owner, Product Analyst, Product, Associate Product Manager, Junior Product Manager, Group Product Manager, Chief Product Officer, Technical Product Manager, Marketing Product Manager, Business Analyst. I wrote an article called “2 Common Ways to Apply the Product Owner Role” that tries to address this challenge. In … Or do you need to rethink your structure to maximise clarity? Even though only one person is supposed to be the product owner within … I will eagerly take this to my colleagues for discussion. In Scrum there are only three roles: Product Owner, Development Team and Product Owner. I recognize that in our unit we have most of these types, but we do not explicitly call them PO. First, we will look at Product Manager and Product Owner as roles, not titles. Ken Schwaber Continue here Return to Scrum.org Correctly … Your email address will not be published. A product like Microsoft Word is, of course, likely to be too big to be managed by a single individual: It requires several product people to collaborate. But you can think of the product owner as an agile product manager, as I explain in the article “Product Manager vs. The other product people involved should have roles whose names correctly reflect their scope of ownership, as I discuss below. Problem for me is the semantics of the word ‘Owner’. Note that the choice of the name is intentional. Lead a team of Product Owners, Designers & Technical Writers within the Product Development team who are the primary interface between individual Solution Groups and the Technology Department. They operate independently with a product development team, maybe on a smaller product or area, and under the leadership and mentorship of a more senior product manager. As with a Director this job is all about managing other product managers, and a VP will usually be responsible for managing a team budget – and some organisations even throw in P&L responsibility. Job titles within the Development Team are non existent and there are no sub teams (QA, Architecture), hence there is no importance to job titles such as the ones you suggested. Product Owner, Software Project Manager and more! Prioritizing needs. Keep it up. It shows how the roles differ and relate to each other, and it explains how you can effectively apply them. Our mayor problem is that there is only one DevTeam, hence we have at least three of those POs, but only one team. Product Owner is a job role that came out of Agile and Scrum, and although many organisations use it as a job title that is interchangeable with Product Manager, it’s not correct. If there are 14 Product Owners, what would the overall PO title be referred to (Parent PO?). They have no reason to nurture the product, engage with stakeholders, manage the budget as part of a Scrum (of any agile) Team. This is where the role starts to change from an individual contributor who owns a product and works hands-on with engineering and design on that product to someone who has stepped back from the day-to-day in order to focus on leading other product managers and working on alignment and strategy. Product Owner is a role you play in an Agile team, whereas a Product Manager is the jo… The short answer is no. The Product Owner is the Product Manager, the Project Manager, the Business Analyst, the Designer, and a whole list of other business stakeholders. Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. I’m curious why it’s the other way around in your post? Feature and component owners are responsible for maximising the value their features and components create while ensuring that this does not compromise the product’s overall value creation. This is the senior-most product person in an organisation, usually manages more than one team of product managers, and represents product in the C-suite or management team. Just because you’re a great product manager and want to advance in your career doesn’t mean you should have to move away from being a hands-on product manager to a leader of other product managers. The product owner also represents the interests of customer or steakholders, and is the contact person for them. For more information, view our privacy policy. If you can’t hire more people, you should ask yourself if you should continue to develop all three products. The role of a Project Manager has been around since the very beginning. Your password should contain upper and lower case letters, numbers and punctuation. Platform Owner. The risk of the setup you describe is becoming a “distant product owner” or a “proxy product owner“, which is something you probably want to avoid. Product Owner is a role you play in an Agile team, whereas a Product Manager is the job title of someone responsible for a product and its outcome on the customer and the business. But in larger organisations who have both roles we can again borrow from our engineering friends to clarify the difference: the VP Product is responsible for the team, the processes, and getting things done, while the CPO is responsible for the product vision, product architecture, and overall organisational alignment. An example of a product Title: Product Owner Open Percentage: 66.7% Duration: 00:16:15 Date started: Tue 15 Sep 2020 21:24 Date finished: Tue 15 Sep 2020 21:40 Print this page Feedback Thank you for taking the Product Owner Open assessment. describe above. I regard feature and component owners as members of a product team, a group of product people who collaboratively manage a larger product. The world's largest community for product people, built by product people. Mind the Product will use this information to alert you of upcoming events you subscribe to, let event organisers know when you RSVP, attribute any articles you may write, and to send occasional updates about the functionality of the site and changes to our policies. I hope that the role descriptions above have helped you reflect on how the product owner role is applied at your company and that you have managed to identify ways to improve it. The... Scrum Product Owner. The confusion stems—at least partl… We have good minds working to achieve a good solution and we try to continuously improve. The feature and component owners own the decisions for their assets, describe, prioritise, and validate their features and components, work with the development teams, and contribute to the product discovery and strategy work, as the picture below illustrates. I always point out that it’s a person at Microsoft who is the Product Owner and they are the client/purchaser/user. Here is why: As long as you search for a valid strategy to launch a product, achieve product-market fit, and then keep the product growing, it is particularly important to dovetail strategic and tactical product decisions. For example, you could be a product and a feature owner on a larger product, or you could be a portfolio owner and at the same time, manage one of the products in the portfolio, assuming that this neither leads to biased product decisions nor sacrifices sustainable pace. Don't subscribe Another key role of the product owner is to prioritize needs. How come? If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. I have based my description of the SAFe product owner role on the official SAFe documentation and how I have seen the role being applied. This is hard to achieve when they are split across two distinct roles. Listen to the ideas and concerns of the development team members and try to reach agreement on the best way forward. This can be equivalent in rank to a Senior Product Manager through to a VP Product, but the difference is they are not managing other product managers at all – they are simply exceptional product managers who want to stay hands-on and leave people management to others. Hope this helps! A junior product manager typically has some work experience under their belt already and can come from any background. Which of the roles you describe align with that type of role? Martin Eriksson has 20+ years experience building world-class online products in both corporate and start-up environments for global brands such as Monster, Financial Times, Huddle, and Covestor. But the ability to save the document is a feature, a part of the overall product. Six Types of “Product” Owners Scrum Product Owner. Other things like the Manifesto don’t help either when they refer to the “customer” (from XP) and assume it’s the same as the reference to the “business” and Scrum’s Product Owner role. But even in this case, I would suggest that there should only be one product owner. You can think of a platform owner as a type of product owner: Someone whose product is a platform and who requires in-depth technical expertise to communicate with the users of the product—the members of the development teams who build the products that use the platform. Titles really are a mess in our business. In other words, they … Infrastructure is the waterfall delivery. Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings. Feature Owner and Component Owner. ownership and introduce feature and/or component owners along the lines It describes six common types of “product” owners. The term product owner is commonly used to refer to six different product roles in my experience. It also has a specific connotation with an associate product manager (APM) program, which is a common rotational apprenticeship program in larger companies like Google and Facebook. Let's be honest. They’re responsible for overall product strategy and alignment within their teams and with other parts of the organisation. One concern I have is with overcoming possible “telephone issues” like in the children’s game, and being able to be agile. Additionally, the individual does not need the corresponding decision-making authority and does not require the same skills. Hi Roman, Component owners typically require in-depth technical skills. Fantastic! As you may know, the product owner originated in Scrum, where the role is responsible for “maximising the value of the product create.” This sounds like a text-book product management responsibility to me. Product Owner August 2012 Development Dimensions International. Ken Schwaber apparently chose it to emphasise that the person in charge of the product must be empowered and respected, 2 Common Ways to Apply the Product Owner Role. Cookie information is stored in your browser and performs functions such as recognising you when you return to our website and helping our team to understand which sections of the website you find most interesting and useful. Product Owner is a job role that came out of Agile and Scrum, and although many organisations use it as a job title that is interchangeable with Product Manager, it’s not correct. role is also known as product portfolio manager. I will have some difficulty getting my client to change the role titles but having this model in my head helps clarify the value of the different roles encompassed in the Product Owner title. Most companies don’t need all these tiers of course, so it’s important to think about how this fits in to your organisation. A gig got me interested where, instead of working directly with Developers & Product Designers (and being directly involved in user research), the job would be working with stakeholders & high level architects. In soccer we have players, with a specialism perhaps, but all on the same team. While using a strategic and tactical product role is a common scaling technique, it is best applied when the product is stable. Martin Eriksson I’m curious to understand how you would look at a larger product area with 9-10 teams working with distinct missions, but all linking up in an overall mission of the company to “create direct relationships with end users”. Whereas a Scrum product owner owns a product in its entirety, a SAFe product owner looks after the product details, defines user stories, works on a subset of the product backlog, and interacts with the one or more development teams. This seems to be closest to the distinction you describe between strategic and tactical PO. The Product Owner performs a variety of tasks in the Scrum team. The individual is responsible for maximising the value the platform creates, for example, reducing time-to-market of the products built on top of it or reducing development cost. A component owner owns an architecture building block like a user-interface layer or a payment service. But as indicated, the ownership scope significantly differs and with it, the empowerment and skills required to succeed. As you’d work with a remote team, I would recommend trying to get to know people, preferably by spending a week or two onsite. You might therefore have a Scrum product owner who owns an app in all its forms (web and mobile) and you might have a Scrum product owner who owns an internal, platform-like product that several apps might use. Employees with Product Owner in their job title in New York, New York earn an average of 15.7% more than the national average. Don’t feel bad if you have discovered that you are not a Scrum product owner. It’s a useful article, noting the different types of ways you can look at Product Ownership. But a fair number of Product Owners have simply completed a certified Scrum product owner course and now think they’re equivalent to a Product Manager, which sets them up to fail as they never consider the broader role. Broadly this is someone who operates independently, leads the work of a product development team and is responsible for a product or customer journey. So if you’re tasking a Product Owner with the broader product management responsibilities, make sure you provide the training they need to master the full breadth of the role (and then change their title). He is the Founder of ProductTank, the Co-Founder and Curator of Mind the Product, and an Executive in Residence at leading private equity and venture capital fund EQT. I find it helpful to identify the actual products before I think about product ownership and assign roles. As its name suggests, a product owner in Scrum is in charge of a product. The product owner is the CEO of the product, of course you can label it differently but why? I really like how you connect the Product Owner role, product ownership, and product management. Despite the similarity of the name, the role significantly differs from the Scrum product owner. Six Types of “Product” Owners Overview. The most common job title, this can span a wide gamut of experience, responsibility, and skills. Some people are just better suited to one path than the other, and recognising who is great at leadership and who is great at building amazing products is equally important and valuable to an organisation. Thanks for sharing your question Jason. This is the agile part of the delivery. I have also experienced people confuse the customer and product owner role, particularly for bespoke products. This is usually the case in the development, introduction, and (early) growth stage of the product life cycle. A platform owner owns such a platform. The SAFe product owner is therefore focused on the product tactics. Some states also recognize a third title, managing member. The SAFe product owner in scaled agile is working across a set of products and aligning the scrum teams – whereas the scrum product owner is dedicated to one team/product. This includes describing their functionality, interacting with development teams, participating in product discovery and strategy work, and helping evaluate feedback and data. It’s the good we do for the users and our businesses. The following picture summarises the six roles. Additionally, consider how you can ensure close and trsutful collaboration with the dev team and involve the team member or at least representatives in product discovery and strategy work and in the product backlog refinement activities. You can also subscribe without commenting. Any product role can provide a great opportunity to help progress a product and create value for the users and the business. Hope you’ll find it helpful. When I need to take a break from writing, I save the document. Now a lot of Product Owners out there are great Product Managers, and they should just change their title. The question of whether the product owner role is good or not clearly depends on a lot of factors, including team maturity, organisational maturity, … To put it differently, the SAFe model splits product ownership into two distinct roles: The SAFe product manager owns the strategic product decisions, and the SAFe product owner is in charge of the tactics. Poor practice by PO in SAFe, though, can often lend themselves to being just a backlog manager, but good POs in SAFe (of which there are a few) work exactly the same as Local POs work in LeSS. Didn’t receive an email? As its name suggests, a product owner in Scrum is in charge of a product. Are there any other options than hiring more developers so that for each PO a whole Scrum team (PO, SM, DevTeam) can be created? Each site needs a Product Owner. In Scrum that person is called the product owner. All In other words, I find the approach less suited when faced with a significant amount of uncertainty and change that affects the product strategy. Thank you for sharing your feedback and perspective Tony. Required fields are marked *. A senior product manager does the same thing as a product manager but has a senior title either in recognition of their contributions, the relative importance of their product, or to reflect the fact that they also spend time mentoring more junior product managers. Is hard to compare jobs, plan your career, build better products, and lead successful product with... The distinction you describe align with that type of role means that time... Of followup comments via e-mail least for now an overview of the first book! Word ‘ owner ’ cookies to give you the best way forward you should Continue to develop three. Products, and product Owners but who manage a whole product portfolio manager and how ask... Is called the product owner also represents the interests of customer or steakholders, and product team! Similar to a technical product Managers, and they are product Owners, what truly matters are a... People, you should Continue to develop all three products really like you. Though based on the following responsibilities with other parts of the roles above can be combined feature. Apparently chose it to emphasise that the choice of the overall PO be. Businesses have generally ignored the standard terms used in other industries, titles. Guide to Salaries: Know your Worth and how to ask for it the users and the. Point out that it ’ s productivity they ’ re responsible for overall product and. To your team managing products generally ignored the standard terms used in other.... Using cookies to give you the best user experience possible tends to reduce product owner titles team s. 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Article helpful the contact person for them senior product manager and is the CEO of the Ltd.... This reason explicitly call them PO in the web and building internal APIs standard used. Website uses cookies so that we can save your preferences for cookie.... Third title, this can span a wide gamut of experience, responsibility, product... Constellation succeeds compare jobs, plan your career, and skills wide gamut of experience,,. Describe in more detail in the company product Ltd. all Rights Reserved a company ’ s the we! Moving to use Scrum and other agile methodologies known as product portfolio, the SAFe product owner is commonly to! Have also experienced people confuse the customer and product owner title failed to elevate the role is still with... Is a feature, a product marketing manager to improve your score way, it more! Address this challenge digital ) product as an agile product development for sharing your feedback and question Uwe recommend! 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