The responsibilities of a Product Manager vs. Product Owner

What are the responsibilities of a Product Manager (PM) and a Product Owner (PO)? Although there is a responsibility overlap in these two roles, there are distinct differences in the expected deliverables. Organizations that adopt Agile and SAFe® 5 methodology benefit from having both PM’s and PO’s on their team. This article will highlight the similarities and differences between the roles and how they work together to deliver value to an Agile Enterprise.

Product Manager (PM)

A Product Manager is the teams visionary, rooted in strategic planning, focused on driving development through a roadmap with clearly defined key measurable objectives (OKR). This role is in charge of ensuring all features are prioritized correctly with clearly defined benefits to stakeholders. PM’s are responsible for the following assets:

  • Managing expectations of business owners and stakeholders
  • Defining a clear vision through understanding enabler features
  • Establishing an Agile release roadmap
  • Providing in-depth product expertise

Product Owner (PO)

A Product Owner is the client’s spokesperson, responsible for prioritizing the Program Backlog and making sure that it is accessible and understandable for the development team. This role is in charge of preparing and tracking the Program Increment (PI) Planning by breaking down high-level goals into focused, measurable targets. When your organization establishes an effective PO it allows the team to address program priorities focused on consumer needs while maintaining technical integrity. PO’s are responsible for:

  • Acting as the primary customer liaison
  • Prioritizing and overseeing the teams Program Backlog
  • Ensuring that user stories are in line with PI objectives
  • Working with system architecture to understand enabler stories

While these two roles have overlapping similarities, employing both can create an efficient work-flow focused on providing continual value to the consumer. Working hand-in-hand on a set OKR’s allows the PM to create long-term project growth and expectations while the PO maintains development focus on consumer needs.

Are you looking to get your SAFe® 5 Product Owner/ Product Manager Certification? We can help with that, sign up for our upcoming private session on March 20th!

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