Disciplined Agile

Product Management Roles and Responsibilities

The role of Product Manager is strategic in nature. They should be focused on the long-term vision for the product, on observing trends in the marketplace, on identify new potential outcomes or themes to be supported by the product, and on ensuring the product meets the needs of the value stream(s) the product is involved with. Effective Product Managers tend to be very customer focused, although recognize that this needs to be tempered by the constraints and capabilities of your organization.

As you can see in the following diagram, the role of Product Manager is different, yet overlapping, with that of a Product Owner (PO) . Where Product Managers are strategic Product Owners tend to be more tactical in practice. POs work closely with delivery teams to ensure they build the right functionality in a timely manner. POs will transform the high-level vision of the Product Manager into detailed requirements. To do this they work closely with a range of stakeholders for the product, including non-customer stakeholders such as finance, security, operations, support, audit, and others. 

Product Manager Role

Figure 1. Product Owners and Product Managers (Click to enlarge). 

Some people, particularly those focused on Scrum, will tell you that Product Owners should also be focused on strategic issues. This is certainly true in simple, non-scaled situations. It is good for POs to understand the long-term strategy for the product that they are focused on. However, there is far more to Product Management than just software development. Furthermore, the day-to-day work with the delivery team, in addition to the day-to-day work required for look-ahead modelling and planning (what Scrum refers to as backlog refinement) with stakeholders, can be more than a full-time job for Product Owners in and of itself.

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