What exactly is a Product Owner? Are there any differences between the owner and manager? Isn’t a Product Owner a type of Agile Project Manager? These are some of the frequently asked questions that students want to know.
Before we delve into the differences between a Product Owner and a Project Project Manager, let’s start with the conclusion: The Product Owner is not a Project Manager who works in an Agile environment.
Although there is some overlap between the roles of Product Owner and Project Manager, being a Product Owner is very different from being a Project Manager. This blog will delve deeper into the topic of Project manager vs product owner.
Table of Contents
What is a Project Owner?
The primary responsibility of the Product Owner role is to “maximise the value of the Product.” In the Framework, the Product Owner is one person (not a committee) who is responsible for maximising value. The Product Owner maximises value by making continuous decisions about what to build and what not to build in the Product. To do so, the Product Owner is also in charge of the product vision, as well as managing the Product Backlog and stakeholders.
Roles and responsibilities of the Project Owner
Some examples are-
- Being accountable for the product’s success or failure
- Providing unified direction to the product
- To provide resources and authorise funding for the product
- To offer visible and consistent support for the product
- Maximising the Product’s Value for Customers, Users, and the Organisation This means that a Product Owner is the actual owner of the product. The Product Owner is the person in charge of ensuring that the product provides the most value possible. This includes, for example, being accountable for the Return on Investment, Budget, Total Cost of Ownership, and defining, maintaining, and sharing the Product vision.
- The Product Owner is also in charge of the Product Backlog. This includes activities like clearly expressing Product Backlog Items, ordering Product Backlog Items to best achieve goals and missions, and ensuring the Product Backlog is visible, transparent, and clear to all.
- Stakeholder management is the responsibility of the Product Owner in order to align everyone around the product vision and (business) goals and objectives to achieve. This includes inviting the appropriate (key) stakeholders to the Sprint Review, discussing the current status of the Product Backlog, next targets and objectives, likely delivery dates, and progress made, as well as tracking the total work remaining for the Product (at least every Sprint Review), creating forecasts, and making this information transparent to the stakeholders.
What is a Project Manager?
Now that we’ve gone over the Product Owner role, let’s get into the “vs Project Manager” section of this blog. So, what exactly is a Project Manager? What are his or her responsibilities? When we examine some well-known Project Management methodologies, such as PM-Bok or PRINCE2, we discover the following:
The Project Manager is the only person who has a day-to-day focus on the project and manages it on a daily basis. As a result, this position will never be shared. The Project Manager manages the project on behalf of the Project Board within specified constraints and communicates with the Project Board and Project Assurance throughout the project. The Project Manager is usually appointed by the customer (as recommended by PRINCE2). Except for the Directing a Project and Managing Product Delivery processes, they are in charge of all PRINCE2 processes.
A Project Manager is also responsible for Project Support and Team Management if there are no team managers in the organisation, in addition to the definition above. This means that on a daily basis, a Project Manager will manage (the work and performance of) individual team members.
Roles and responsibilities of the Project Manager
Being a Project Manager is a very broad role/job. The Project Manager role entails a wide range of tasks and responsibilities. Among them are the following:
- Creating and managing the business case
- Managing changes and change requests (in terms of scope, time, and budget)
- Managing the project’s organisational structure
- Developing and managing project plans such as the Project Initiation Document, Project Plan, Gantt Charts, and others
- Monitoring and evaluating the progress of a project or team
- Quality control
- Identifying, tracking, and managing project risks.
- Providing administrative support for the project
- Advice and direction on project management tools and configuration management
- Administering the management procedures
Common roles of Project Manager and Project Owner
The Product Owner certification allows you to delve deep into Scrum. Great Product Owners possess a wide range of relevant skills and characteristics. Great Project Managers should also have a number of characteristics and skills. As a result, a more general list of characteristics and skills for both roles is as follows:
Product Owners and Project Managers must be able to effectively communicate with all stakeholders within the organisation. They must be able to effectively communicate with customers, management, team members, users, suppliers, and others.
Leadership is an important skill for both roles as well, however, the type of leadership is different. A Product Owner has a unique leadership style- be it inspirational or motivational.
Using the product vision, strategy, and storytelling to inspire the teams and stakeholders. Normally, they would inspire and lead people for better results in business. It is important for the manager of the project to have leadership qualities. They can convince people on how to fetch better leads, know the processes and analytical techniques. They would lead and inspire people for better results and output.
Product Owners and Project Managers should both be well-organised. They should be capable of organising their own work, balancing work and personal life, and seeing the big picture of where we are. Furthermore, they should both be able to see where we are now, where we want to go, and what our backlog of goals and work is in order to get there.
As you may have noticed, the roles of Product Owner and Project Manager are quite different. Of course, there is some overlap in their (more generic) characteristics and skills. A Product Owner, on the other hand, is accountable, whereas a Project Manager is only responsible for execution.