Product Management and the Product Owner role

  1. A quick intro to managing software projects
  2. Issue management and estimation
  3. The Design Sprint
  4. The Build Sprint
  5. Product Management and the Product Owner role

Inconvenient truths about product development

  • Most product ideas won’t work
  • Those that might work will take several iterations to get right

Central to the product development process is the role of product manager.

The product manager

“The CEO of the product”

The key to their role is holding the vision of the Product and ensuring that the product team is able to make progress towards that vision.

Their task is to spot ideas that won’t work early in the process, reduce the risk of failure, and make sure the organisation is learning at every stage of development.

A quick note about naming

There is a difference between the roles of product manager and product owner.

Product manager

Being Product Manager involves leading on managing the development of a digital product. This role is typically used to describe someone who is familiar with modern methods of project management, particularly in the area of software development.

Product owner

The Product Owner is the single source of information for a product development team about the product they are trying to build. This term comes from the Scrum method that is widely used in software development and that we use at Founders and Coders.

A Product Owner is the point of contact with the development team. The development team are lead by their Scrum Facilitator.

The Product Owner supplies all content and copy for the product, supports in setting the priorities of the product, and supports prioritisation of the product backlog.

All good product managers should be good at playing the role of product owner. It is one of their 6 key competencies.

The six key competencies of product managers

1. Clarity of Vision

Set business objectives and measure outcomes

2. Product development

Being a responsive, empathetic and well-organised Product Owner

3. Data analysis

Having attention to detail when collecting and interpreting data

4. User knowledge

Having empathy and experience working with a user group

5. Organisational knowledge

Understanding of (and authority to act on) the needs, practices and objectives of the organisation

6. Domain expertise

Knowledge of the sector they are working within

Further reading