Product Manager vs Product Owner? What’s the difference?

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If you’re planning to enter the field of product management and have been doing thorough research, you may have come across the term “product owner.” Are these two terms the same or different? If this question has crossed your mind or if it has piqued your interest, then today’s podcast is for you. I’m Sachin Sharma, with over 10 years of experience in product management, and I’ve mentored over 1,000 aspiring product managers. In this podcast, we’ll explore the differences between a product manager and a product owner, along with related concepts.

Distinguishing Product Manager and Product Owner:
Product owners and product managers are often used interchangeably, and they do share some overlapping responsibilities, such as their shared goal of building and improving products. However, upon closer examination, these two roles have distinct differences.

Product Manager Role:
A product manager oversees a product within an organization throughout its entire lifecycle. As a product manager, you’re responsible for creating a vision for the product and ensuring that it fulfills its goals until it’s retired. For more insights into what product managers do, you can tune into my podcast. While product owners can be seen as part of the product management role, they primarily ensure that daily tasks align with the product strategy devised by the product manager. However, it’s worth noting that in some cases, particularly in younger organizations or due to resource constraints, product owners may take on some of the responsibilities traditionally held by product managers. Nevertheless, each role is designed to focus on distinct responsibilities, and both are considered full-time positions.

Product Owner in the Context of Scrum:
A key distinction is that the product owner role is specific to the Scrum framework. Scrum defines a set of tools and roles that work together to help teams manage their work. In contrast, product managers can be found in various company settings and work environments.

Responsibilities Comparison:
When comparing their responsibilities, product managers tend to have a more strategic focus with a long-term perspective. They often emphasize the “why” behind what they are building and concentrate on understanding why a particular product or feature is needed to achieve a goal.

Product owners, on the other hand, are more detail-oriented and tend to have a short-term or “how” focus. They are primarily concerned with the practical implementation of tasks to achieve the product vision.

Closing Remarks:
These are some of the general differences that can be observed between product managers and product owners. If you come across new job postings, a helpful approach is to check sites like Indeed or LinkedIn for the specific job titles, which can provide you with a clearer understanding.

That’s it for today’s podcast. Stay tuned for more informative content to help you enhance your product management skills. If you’d like to become a part of my community, join my free training at Take action, and I look forward to serving you more within my community. For those already part of the community, I highly recommend considering an upgrade to the Diamond membership, which will accelerate your product management journey and connect you with fellow achievers and action takers. 

Thank you, and see you in the next podcast. Goodbye!

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