Product Manager Vs Product Owner : Key Differences & Similarities

Product Manager Vs Product Owner : Key Differences & Similarities | Product Management | Emeritus

Embedding a product management team into the archetypical business structure is believed to have brought a fair share of conflicts and disdain in many companies. Introduced into businesses in the 1930s, product management has become a significant part of business organizations in the past few decades, with product managers and executives laying the foundation for a team that deals with product development and management, among others.

Although product management has been a significant part of business organizations for decades, stakeholders and departmental managers are still finding it hard to embrace the new process. Especially because product owners and managers work towards the same goal. Therefore, if you are a product manager or product owner finding it hard to adjust to the new concept, here’s a guide to understanding the difference between a product owner and a product manager.

Product Owners Vs Product Managers: What’s The Key Difference Between Them?

Product owners and product managers have many similarities, the reason why many companies have found it hard to differentiate between the two. In this article, we will try to differentiate between the top product management concepts. So, let’s start with understanding the meaning of product owners and product managers.

Who Are Product Owners?

A product owner is a part of the scrum team (a terminology widely used in agile product management). Since the scrum methodology’s inception, product owners have played an integral part in the agile product management team. Product owners are responsible for prioritizing user requirements in the product development process.
Often product owners are considered the customer representative who works with the companies to ensure that the user’s requirement is embedded into the product. They convey user requirements to the product development team. Moreover, the main aim of the product owner is to maximize the value addition of the products developed through agile product management teams.
Although product owners do not exist in every organization, someone performs the same roles and responsibilities as the owners in a traditional establishment. They are only part of the organization that has adopted agile product management functions into their processes.
Here are some of the activities performed by a product owner in an organization:

  • Monitor product development team and provide constant feedback.
  • Ensuring that the scrum team develops a product that aligns with user expectations.
  • Prioritize work that is significant to the customer’s vision.

Who Are Product Managers?

Striking a balance between the customers’ needs and the company is the main duty of a product manager. Additionally, they participate in product development, strategy, distribution, and design, among others. Furthermore, product managers also ensure that the company’s products match the necessities of the customer, market, and business. They collaborate with different departments like engineering, marketing, sales, and logistics. Here are some of the responsibilities of product managers:

  • Interacting with customers to understand their requirements.
  • Strategic planning to tackle roadblocks arriving during the product management process.
  • Collaborating with other teams to understand their issues, offer solutions to bottlenecks, etc.
  • Offer tactical support to data analytics.
  • Ensuring clear information flow across the organization.

Understanding The Difference Between Product Managers And Product Owners

Here are some points that highlight the difference between product managers and owners:

1. Role and responsibilities
Product owners play a crucial role in an agile work environment. They offer their expertise in understanding the needs and requirements of the target users. Meanwhile, product managers look at the administrative functions to be performed by the product management team. The common link between product owners and product managers is that they keep the customer’s necessities at the centre of all product-related decisions.
Product owner’s responsibilities:

  • Turning product manager’s vision into reality
  • Develop user stories for the product development team
  • Assign daily tasks to the product management team

Product manager’s responsibilities:

  • Conduct market research to gauge the needs of the target audience
  • Align the requirements of the consumers and the business
  • Actualize the product development plan

2. Skills
To perform daily tasks efficiently, product managers and product owners need skills. Below, we will enlist the skills required by them; check out.
Skills required for product owner:

  • Strong storytelling skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Communicating skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Team management skills

Skills required for product manager:

  • Administrative skills
  • Technical skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Creative thinking skills
  • Time management skills

3. Educational qualifications

Many employers look for employees with advanced degrees like a master’s or a certificate course in product management or a related field. Product owners and product managers can take a bachelor’s or master’s degree in product management to learn the basics of the business process. Furthermore, they can also undertake certification courses to learn new skills and gain deep knowledge about product management, and audience management, among others.

We have the best product management certification courses offered in association with renowned Indian and international institutes. Enrolling in these certification courses will help you upskill and secure a prestigious job with an attractive paycheck.

4. Career path
In addition to the educational qualifications, aspiring candidates need perseverance and resilience to develop a career in product management. Here are some career paths aspirants can take instead of product owner or product manager.

  • Business analyst
  • Project manager
  • Chief executive officer
  • Director
  • Vice president of product

The above-mentioned differences between the product manager and product owner also provide a peek into how these two product management roles are similar. In many organizations, product managers and product owners are interchangeable. However, agile business organizations with a scrum team structure will have product owners. Therefore, if you plan to make a career in product management, then basic knowledge about product managers and owners is imperative. And our certification course will help you understand that and more. So, enrol in Emeritus India’s courses to skyrocket your career.

About the Author

Content Writer, Emeritus Blog
Yashvi is a dynamic content creator with 5+ years of experience crafting content for global brands, specializing in tech, finance, and healthcare sectors for both B2B and B2C audiences. Her diverse knowledge base empowers her to create meticulously researched, value-packed content for the EdTech sector, catering to various audiences. In her downtime, she explores the realms of mental well-being, reflecting her holistic approach to personal and professional growth and deepening her empathy for her audience's pain points and needs.
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