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Product Owner vs Product Manager

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The Product Owner and the Product Manager, are they a single role? a single person?
Find out what people like Dean Leffingwell, Henrik Kniberg, Craig Larman, Bas Vodde, Roman Pichler and Marty Cagan have to say about this

Published in: Engineering
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  • Wonderful slide. I learnt a lot from this. Thank you very much.
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  • Excellent presentation on Product Owner vs Product Manager and how to (not) scale. Interesting read.
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  • Awesome approach to distinguish those two (not easy to define) roles. I've tackled differences based on an ecosystem, key skills and team to define those roles more in detail. If you like to read about it and check which one suits you better -> https://brainhub.eu/blog/difference-between-product-owner-project-manager/
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Product Owner vs Product Manager

  1. 1. po:pm Product Owner vs. Product Manager One person or two? One role or two? Sagi Smolarski - AgileSparks
  2. 2. I have a friend, Sarah, who, years ago, learned to fly a hot air balloon
  3. 3. on her first solo flight, Sarah got hopelessly lost ?!?
  4. 4. ...down below, she saw a campfire and a man next to it, so she lowered the balloon...
  5. 5. hey man! where am I? when she was within ear’s reach, she shouted:
  6. 6. you are in a hot air balloon, about 40 feet off the ground! startled, the man answered...
  7. 7. Are you an engineer? Surprised, my friend asked...
  8. 8. how did you know? to which the man answered...
  9. 9. What you told me is 100% correct... my friend replied...
  10. 10. ... yet it doesn’t help me at all my friend replied...
  11. 11. Are you a product manager? so the guy asked...
  12. 12. how the hell did you know? and Sarah, which happens to be a product manager at ACME.com answered...
  13. 13. You don’t know how you got here, you have no clue where you are, you don’t know how you are going to proceed from here... to which the man replied...
  14. 14. ...and somehow you found a way to blame me ! to which the man replied...
  15. 15. what they didn’t know, is that they both work for ACME.com, a pillar of our country’s high tech industry...
  16. 16. Meet ACME.com Marketing Business Analysts? icons by dapino http://www.iconarchive.com/show/people-icons-by-dapino.html Project Management Office Product Management R&D Quality Assurance They are running a tight ship, with well defined groups, clear responsibilities, really well organized silos
  17. 17. All the silos are responsible together for delivering a product Marketing Business Analysts? icons by dapino http://www.iconarchive.com/show/people-icons-by-dapino.html Project Management Office Product Management R&D Quality Assurance “We” are responsible for delivering a valuable product
  18. 18. Feedback at the speed of the turtle User which makes for a pretty unhappy customer, who gets his requests late... and often... wrong
  19. 19. The Bungay Friction Model To him, this picture is not a joke... it’s reality
  20. 20. Chaos Report 1994 31% Critical Failure 53% 16% SuccessChallenged Software Projects Success Rate Planned Cost: $10M $27MActual Cost: Standish Group Chaos Report 1994 ...and apparently he is not alone... On average:
  21. 21. Looking at Successful Projects However, some projects do succeed. What are they doing which makes the biggest difference? 16% Success
  22. 22. His Direct Involvement Throughout The Project User Reason #1 For Project Success? Direct, continuous user involvement consistently rates as the #1 difference between projects that succeed... and those that fail
  23. 23. Minimize the distance from user to maker The Product Team PO User ● Avoid miscommunications ● Shorten the feedback loop ● Seize opportunities ● Collaboration instead of negotiation So, when ACME.com tried to improve, they looked at agile & lean, and unsurprisingly, those methods promote proximity of the makers to the users. There are clear benefits here...
  24. 24. PO Role Definition ❏ Deliver the right product ❏ Articulates and champions the vision ❏ Creates & prioritizes the product backlog ❏ Collaborates with the delivery team, users and other stakeholders on translating the vision to work plans ❏ Manages expectations ❏ Accepts work Scrum, in particular, defines a new role which brings the product manager closer to the user, and to the team that creates the software
  25. 25. Challenges with Single PO ➔ Capacity ◆ Can you work with customers and be available to the team all the time? ◆ Can you focus on the tactical and still stay on top of the strategic? ➔ Skill set ◆ Can you have business expertise, marketing expertise, engineering expertise and domain expertise? ◆ Do people even want to do all the above? ... but Sarah soon found out that this role creates a new set of challenges, and the extra closeness to the team is demanding
  26. 26. Marketing Pricing Market research Competitive analysis Customer relations Focus & Attention Long Term Strategy Short Term Tactical Product Backlog Sprint & Release planning Acceptance Criteria Vision Product Positioning Roadmap Customer Focus Engineering Focus Personas UX User stories Customer Development Outbound Environments Assets Technology Coding conventions Testing strategy Architecture Technology stack Product Development Inbound User feedback Design partners Focus groups ...indeed, owning a product is a big job, with many concerns... Customer Support
  27. 27. Marketing Pricing Market research Competitive analysis Customer relations The Natural Solution? Long Term Strategy Short Term Tactical Product Backlog Sprint & Release planning Acceptance Criteria Vision Product Positioning Roadmap Customer Focus Engineering Focus Personas UX User stories Customer Development Environments Assets Technology Coding conventions Testing strategy Product Development Architecture Technology stack PO PM ...so they decided to split the role into two... ...they asked Ron, a Team Lead, to assume the role of PO, while Sarah took on outbound & long term responsibilities...
  28. 28. H.L. Mencken “for every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple... and wrong”
  29. 29. PM & PO The Product Team PO User The Product Team PO User PM Separations hurt...
  30. 30. PM & PO The Product Team PO User PM She understands the customer well
  31. 31. PM & PO The Product Team PO User PM She understands the customer well He doesn’t understands the customer well ➽
  32. 32. PM & PO The Product Team PO User PM They do their “agile” thing
  33. 33. PM & PO The Product Team PO User PM Who owns the product?
  34. 34. PM .. .. .. .. vs .. .. .. .. PO The Product Team PO User PM Lean thinking and Agile principles are customer-focused for business success. They are not “development processes” Agile “the business” R&D
  35. 35. Making it Work The Solo PO
  36. 36. <=> Less… is more Smaller scope ➽ Smaller groups ➽ More manageable workload ➽ More focus Too often, scaling up promotes inefficiency and mediocrity Break your company into small start-ups
  37. 37. User Segments Short Term Tactical Long Term Strategy Customer Focus Engineering Focus PO Customer Development Product Development Short Term Tactical Long Term Strategy Customer Focus Engineering Focus PO Short Term Tactical Long Term Strategy Customer Focus Engineering Focus PO Enterprise clients Retail clients B2B This is one option
  38. 38. Product Areas / Services Short Term Tactical Long Term Strategy Customer Focus Engineering Focus PO Customer Development Product Development Short Term Tactical Long Term Strategy Customer Focus Engineering Focus PO Short Term Tactical Long Term Strategy Customer Focus Engineering Focus PO Users Growth Shopping Cart Playlists This is another option
  39. 39. The PO Team Short Term Tactical Long Term Strategy Customer Focus Engineering Focus Customer Development Product Development Short Term Tactical Long Term Strategy Customer Focus Engineering Focus Short Term Tactical Long Term Strategy Customer Focus Engineering Focus PO PO PO CPO The Chief Product Owner You may need to have a Chief Product Owner, but individual POs still fully own their area
  40. 40. Leverage Outside Expertise Product Owner Marketing Specialist But… I’m not a marketing expert! But I am… and I will help you market your product “It take a village to raise a child” African proverb
  41. 41. Other Roles Are Fine … when they don’t come between the product and its users Product Owner Product Marketing User Market I am responsible for creating a great product I am responsible for telling the market about it & bringing in new users
  42. 42. Marketing Project Management UX Expert Team Lead / ScrumMaster Product Owner Domain expert Tracking Risk Management ALM Product Discovery Team Estimates Architect Long-term product architecture Release Train Product launch Pricing Telling the world about the product Positioning Quality xx-ilities Interaction Design Usability Testing Visual Design Long-term Velocity Domain knowledge Domain trends
  43. 43. Long Term Strategy Short Term Tactical Customer Focus Engineering Focus Marketing Project Management UX Expert Team Lead / ScrumMaster Product Owner Domain expert Tracking Risk Management ALM Product Discovery Team Estimates Architect Long-term product architecture Release Train Product launch Pricing Telling the world about the product Positioning Quality xx-ilities Interaction Design Usability Testing Visual Design Long-term Velocity Domain trends Domain trends
  44. 44. Trade the dream of success... for the reality of feedback The Big Picture is Smaller than You think Success Success what it really looks like what people think it looks like Don’t invest too much in long term planning and analysis
  45. 45. Experiment Use experiments & data to drive product direction A significant portion of the work should be experiments, where we check assumptions against reality
  46. 46. Not only For Startups Build Measure Learn Insights Product Data How fast can you spin that wheel?
  47. 47. Build the Team’s Knowledge of Users Spoon feeding teams with detailed user stories is boring and inefficient Develop the team’s capabilities to define work items The team should interact with the user
  48. 48. Scaling Up But... We Need More SCALE e.g. we have a very large project, for a small # of large clients, so having many POs working directly with them will impose extra burden on the client
  49. 49. Scaling Up First rule of project SCALING
  50. 50. Scaling Up First rule of project SCALING DON’T
  51. 51. Large Projects ... Fail ... Almost Always Standish Group Chaos Report 2013 A word of warning. Scaling up a project is harmful
  52. 52. But if you must Scale there are recipes Scaling Agile @ Spotify Here are just some of the most popular examples
  53. 53. Scaling Up Agile All Agile Scaling Models are Wrong... ...but Some are Helpful There’s no right answer, but some interesting pointers
  54. 54. Scaling with SAFe http://scaledagileframework.com/
  55. 55. Not my favourite solution, but sometimes it may make sense Scaling with SAFe
  56. 56. Marketing Pricing Market research Competitive analysis Customer relations The SAFE (?) Solution Long Term Strategy Short Term Tactical Product Backlog Sprint & Release planning Acceptance Criteria Vision Product Positioning Roadmap Customer Focus Engineering Focus Personas UX User stories Customer Development Environments Assets Technology Coding conventions Testing strategy Product Development Architecture Technology stack PO PM
  57. 57. Scaling with Large Scale Scrum
  58. 58. Product Owner Team One Product Owner Prioritizes all work Product Area Owners Define work Less separation, that’s better Scaling with Large Scale Scrum
  59. 59. Scaling @ Spotify
  60. 60. Product Ower per Squad Sometimes, a Chief Product Owner to help with synchronization Sounds pretty good :) Scaling @ Spotify
  61. 61. What do Agile Product Management Experts Say? Marty Cagan is a Product Management expert. He has managed product at ebay, Netscape HP and other big name companies. He’s now part of the Silicon Valley Product Group
  62. 62. He wrote the top selling (*) book on product management. The book devotes a big section to the role of the Product Manager (*) Based on Amazon kindle sales position What do Agile Product Management Experts Say?
  63. 63. “...for product software teams...the product manager is the product owner, and he represents the customer, He will need to be extremely involved with the product development team...” hmmm…. What do Agile Product Management Experts Say?
  64. 64. “... some also like to have different people covering the product manager and the product owner role, but this is usually a symptom of a deeper problem ... nobody truly owns the product” What do Agile Product Management Experts Say? there’s more...
  65. 65. “... this model is based on a flawed view of software that holds that you can define high-level requirements independent of detailed requirements ” What do Agile Product Management Experts Say? flawed indeed...
  66. 66. “... in companies with this model, product managers become little more than spec-generation service. It is a frustrating job, tends to stifle innovation, and rarely produces successful products ” What do Agile Product Management Experts Say? can’t get much clearer...
  67. 67. Summary ❏ PO which fully owns the product ➽ Less barriers to being Lean & Agile... and successful ❏ Keep that model as long as you can ❏ Scale horizontally ❏ Less long-term planning, more experiments ❏ Get the delivery team closer to the users ❏ Other roles can help ❏ Create a product discovery team
  68. 68. ❏ When you have no choice, pick a scaling model which keeps the team as close to the user as possible Summary
  69. 69. Sarah is now chief Product Owner at ACME.com She got her hot air balloon pilot license. Ron is a ScrumMaster on the same project. Together, they delivered a kick- ass product. They now get along fine. SummaryEpilogue
  70. 70. po=pm the end Sagi Smolarski sagi@agilesparks.com

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