The difference between a product owner and a product manager will clear up the responsibilities and roles within a product development team. Ultimately, it will facilitate better collaboration and better decision-making regarding product development. The article will further elaborate on the key differences between product owners vs. product managers regarding their focus and involvement in the success of a product.

Differences between Product Owner and Product Manager

In product development, the product owner and product manager have important but different roles in bringing a product from idea to market success. Although their titles seem alike, their responsibilities, skills, and salaries can be quite different. Here’s a clear look at the difference between a product owner and a product manager.

1. Definition

The product owner acts as an important link between the development team and stakeholders. Therefore, their main tasks are to prioritize assignments, manage the product backlog, and ensure that the team focuses on delivering features that match customer requirements. In short, this role essentially revolves around aligning development efforts with the changing needs and preferences of the end-users.

On the other hand, a product manager focuses on shaping the broader strategy and vision of the product and aligns it with business goals and market demands. The difference between the product manager and the product owner is that the product manager takes charge of the entire product lifecycle. So, they handle the product cycle from its initial idea to its introduction and evolution. Moreover, they collaborate with different departments to guarantee the product’s success in the market.

2. Responsibilities

Product owners are responsible for managing the tasks and priorities of the development team to ensure the delivery within short cycles. Also, they translate the product vision into an actionable backlog to focus on customers in discussions with the development team. Essentially, they play an essential role in directing the team towards delivering valuable outcomes. All this is done while keeping the customer’s perspectives regarding the product development journey.

Alternatively, product managers are responsible for the comprehensive strategy, market analysis, and long-term vision of the product. Also, they conduct market research, define the product roadmap, and collaborate with different teams to align with business goals. Furthermore, they prioritize product features to increase its value in the market.

3. Skills

If you strive to be a product owner, it requires strong communication skills, specifically in agile development organizations. Apart from that, they should have prioritization abilities and a deep understanding of customer needs. Moreover, technical acumen and the ability to work closely with development teams are also essential. Eventually, these skills make a good product owner and a successful product.

The difference between a product owner and a product manager is that the product manager is more expert in strategic thinking. Also, market analysis skills and the capability to manage a product’s entire lifecycle play an essential part in the product manager’s role. Like the product owner, the product manager also has to communicate across various departments. Thus, strong communication, along with technical and business knowledge, is necessary.

4. Salary

The typical salary for product owners depends upon their expertise, experience, and the industry they work in. However, salary ranges can differ depending on factors such as geographical location, the size of the company, and the level of responsibility within the organization. That’s how the product owner vs. product manager salary is impacted by these variables. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a product owner in the USA is around $107,285.

Product managers normally receive higher salaries compared to product owners because of the wider range of responsibilities and strategic management they offer for the product. Additionally, factors like more experience, the specific industry they operate in, and the company’s size also impact their compensation. The average salary for a senior product manager stands at approximately $145,684.

Do We Need Both Roles?

Although there occurs a difference between product owner and product manager, there is a need for both roles. The presence of both product managers and product owners in a product development team proves advantageous for several reasons.

  • Responsibility Allocation: Product managers primarily focus on strategy, market analysis, and the overall product vision. In contrast, product owners concentrate on daily tasks, managing the backlog, and ensuring repeated value delivery. This difference creates the need for both roles.
  • Short and Long-term Goals: Product owners prioritize short-term objectives to ensure continuous value delivery within agile frameworks. Meanwhile, product managers take a more long-term approach by developing the product strategy with market needs and company objectives.
  • Effective Team Collaboration: Product managers collaborate with various departments like marketing, sales, and customer support to align the product with market demands. On the other hand, product owners closely engage with the development team to ensure efficient implementation.
  • Specialized Expertise: Another reason for the need is that product managers bring strategic market insights, while product owners have a deep knowledge of product development processes. So, the presence of both roles ensures broader expertise and perspectives within the team.

How Do the Product Owner and Product Manager Work Together?

Product managers and product owners share the common objective of enhancing and refining products to address customer needs. That’s why they must work together for more efficient workflows and quick outcomes. You can make it work by implementing the following strategies.

1. Schedule Regular Strategy Meetings

Regular meetings facilitate combined cross-functional workflows and ensure team engagement. Also, these meetings help to align efforts with organizational goals. As a result, there are discussions on challenges, conflict resolution, and action plans for best solutions. This collaborative approach avoids product owner vs. product manager scenarios.

2. Implement a Knowledge-Sharing System

The product manager shapes the product vision and converts customer feedback into features. On the other hand, the product owner communicates these initiatives to the development team. So, effective knowledge-sharing is vital for these managers to exchange strategies and streamline product workflows.

3. Create Shared Goals and Vision

Although the product manager generates a product vision, the product owner can also apply his expertise for the autonomy of the process. Likewise, successful user stories or feature development from the backlog of both individuals helps product development teams. Ultimately, it leads to an increase in the product’s progress.

4. Clearly Define Influence and Seniority

It is also essential to establish the product manager’s role and leadership within the product management process. In contrast, the product owner leads development efforts and has no hand in marketing efforts. Moreover, they should be regarded as peers, and both should report to a senior executive, which will create a collaborative relationship. All these role definitions will help avoid product owner vs. product manager situations.

5. Develop a Robust Framework for Customer Insights

Last but not least, utilizing customer insights for product development is vital for both the product manager and the owner. Moreover, this step can be improved by implementing a tool to share and interpret data, which ensures its analysis and usability.

Luckily, Feedeo provides the platform to make AI-powered interactive videos to collect customer data. In addition, this video tool helps you create marketing videos with AI to attract potential leads. As a result, it helps to drive customers and helps them make informed purchasing decisions.

feedeo for product owner and product manager

Final Words

In a nutshell, the difference between product owner and product manager does exist, so there is a need for both roles in an organization. Furthermore, it’s also essential to generate shared understanding between the product manager and product owner through multiple aspects. Feedeo stands out as an ideal solution for product managers and owners to work collaboratively. Its AI-powered functionalities simplify product showcasing and streamline the process of gathering customer feedback.

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