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Product Manager or Product Owner

It is a fallacy that the roles are Product Manager vs. Product Owner. Both can, and do, co-exist in an organization. This presentation explains the role of software product manager and agile product owner. Useful for people not familiar with these terms.

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Product Manager or Product Owner

  1. 1. 1© Product Manager or Product Owner Different Roles for Different Folks August 2019
  2. 2. 2© Contents Part I – Role and Responsibilities Part II – Activities and Stakeholders Part III – Organization
  3. 3. 3© Part I – Roles and Responsibilities
  4. 4. 4© 4 “The Product Manager is the CEO of the Product”
  5. 5. 5© Product Price Place Promotion A good product manager looks at all 4 dimensions of the ‘product marketing mix’ Entry level PMs may focus on one aspect of the product, senior product managers will undertake multiple initiatives across the dimensions. PMs gain insight about their customers and markets through research. Whether it is primary research, technology research, competitor analysis or some similar initiative will depend on the budget, time and business objectives for the research. Research & analysis skills are vital for a Product Manager In the SaaS world, customer retention is equally important as customer acquisition, so services and support become important aspects of the winning company’s value proposition • What is the product that we are creating, selling and delivering? • What pricing model is optimal for achieving the company objectives? • What channels are we using for sales (direct, white label, self service)? • What promotions are we planning to increase usage and sales (freemium, trial offers, buy 1 get 1)? • and so on….
  6. 6. 6© Seniority With increasing seniority, PMs are expected to work independently to deliver product and business outcomes. Grow high enough and you will have a PM team or teams reporting to you Junior or Associate PM Product Manager Senior Product Manager Principal Product Manager Manager, Product Management Director, Product Management VP, Product Management SVP, Product Management Chief Product Officer Business Analysts, Researchers, Product Analysts etc. Individual Contributors People Managers  Unlike a Sales Director, most Product Directors will have some direct reports  Recruitment and retention become key activities in a stable and/or growing organization Senior Principal, Associate Director etc.
  7. 7. 7© Your responsibilities as a Product Manager will depend to a great extent on the organization structure Product Portfolio A Product 1 PM 1 Product 2 PM 2 Product 3 PM 3 Product 4 PM 4  In this structure, each PM looks at the 4 P’s for their own product  Most such PMs are senior experienced professionals  They create the business requirements, identify most profitable opportunities and can even create sales plans  For SaaS and online products, the word “product” is substituted by a “feature group”. Price, Place and Promotion can be considered abstractions at the portfolio level  Another difference today is the scale of operations, where a single “web service” or “feature group” may have millions of users Product Portfolio B Feature Group 1 PM 1 Feature Group 2 PM 2 Partnerships PM 3 Services/ Integrations PM 4  Product managers in this structure focus on a particular aspect of the product, such as “payments”, “reports”, “integrations” etc.  A director may manage the 4 Ps at the portfolio level  PMs in such roles will be relatively junior specialists  As they are specialists, they can also become product evangelists  Feature PMs will have much more interactions with engineering teams than PMs managing product P&L Larger organizations may implement a hybrid structure, with specialists and senior generalists, and that could also change over time
  8. 8. 8© 8 “In Agile methodology, the Product Owner represents the customer to the development team”
  9. 9. 9© A product owner is completely focused on the Product • What is built? • Who is it build for? • How will it be used? And so on…. ProductThe PO looks at features, use cases, user interfaces, architecture (occasionally), integrations, APIs, security and all such dimensions of a product in use or in development…. For larger products or applications, this work can be distributed among multiple product owners and development teams. The PO always works in collaboration with Agile teams, include development teams/squad and the scrum master Product Owners gain insights through customer and competitor research. They identify the use cases, define and refine features to support the use cases and then convert that into the product backlog. They will also observe product demos and usage to identify ways to improve the product. Product Owner is a common term in the Agile world, also occasionally used by business teams implementing Agile at Scale.
  10. 10. 10© Many enterprise IT applications are created using agile methodology, and have product owners in the development team  Agile is not a methodology or framework, and is implemented based on organizational needs. So scope of PO role is flexible.  Product owners own the backlog, which is typically the PSI (potentially shippable increment). It is a very specific role for product development.  Product owners work with development teams, hence outsourcing to a vendor may not be the optimal engagement model Points to remember about the role Spotify has identified many best practices for grouping agile teams into ‘squads’ and ‘tribes’ as a hierarchy The target of the Product Owner is to ship the product. Hence his main deliverable is a product backlog that is well understood, adds business value and allows addition of incremental features to the product under development. Agile best practices do not recommend more than 3-9 development team members per Product Owner
  11. 11. 11© Product Owners do not code, but are familiar with tools, processes and technologies used by development teams Source: By Dr Ian Mitchell - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, • Jira/Confluence • SoapUI • Git Tools • Scrum, Sprints • Release Planning • Rollback, CI/CD Processes • HTML, CSS • Docker, Kubernetes • XML, SQL Technologies
  12. 12. 12© Part II – Activities & Stakeholders
  13. 13. 13© 13 “Launching a product is only the beginning of the journey”
  14. 14. 14© Product Manager Services Sales Pre-sales Architects Engineerin g Cloud Team Education & Training Product Marketing Marketing Support Business Developme nt Strategy Finance Human Resources Over time, PMs will deal with most departments or teams within the organization for product related activities The Ferris wheel on the right identifies some of these stakeholders Stakeholde Typical Activities Finance Pricing, Discounts, Warranty Costs Services Tools, Features, Training Sales Sales support, Presentations Pre-sales RFP Clarifications, Pre-sales support Cloud Features, Deployment scenarios, NFR Support Training, Documentation, Clarifications Program or project managers will track important initiatives till closure Larger firms will have portfolio management at a strategic level to govern such initiatives NFR: Non-functional requirements
  15. 15. 15© 15 “For the Product Owner to succeed, the entire organization must respect his or her decisions” The Scrum Guide
  16. 16. 16© Product Owner Development Team Scrum Master Architects Business Owner Client Product User Product Owners have daily tasks related to refining the backlog and shipping the product Unless the entire organization is Agile, PO activities will be restricted to the product Stakeholder Typical Activities Product User Interviews, Research, Feedback, Concept Validation Client Interviews, Research, Priorities Business Owner Metrics and Charts to show progress and “value” Architects Tracking NFR and standards compliance Scrum Master Timely support, completion of tasks Development Team Refinement, Clarifications, UX Prototypes PO is the only person who defines the backlog PO in larger firms will have to compete with other teams for resources, budgets and meetings
  17. 17. 17© Part III – Organization Structure
  18. 18. 18© 18 “Many organizations use Product Managers, Business Analysts, Product Owners and Program Managers interchangeably, without success” “Scrum recognizes no titles for Development Team members”
  19. 19. 19© Functional Product Organization (Specialists) CTO/CPO Mobile App Feature Group 1 Feature Group 2 Analytics APIs Web Products UX Integrations Security Director of Engineering Technical Leads Program Managers Project Managers Architects Product managers focus on a set of features or domain Analytics and other platform features get a dedicated PM There is no separate product P&L, and investment planning and budgeting is centralized Engineers can rotate out of product teams at fixed intervals
  20. 20. 20© Product Line Driven Product Management Organization (Generalists) Head of Business Product 1 PM Analyst Product 2 Director APM Product 3 Senior PM Analyst Head of Engineering Program Management Architects Marketing Business Development Finance Each product is defined as a profit centre Product, pricing, packaging and promotion become equally important PMs and Directors work with sales and marketing to engage clients The complete product life cycle from Concept to End of Life is managed by the PM team
  21. 21. 21© Ideal Scenario - Product Development with Scrum Teams Focused on shipping faster, rather than on long term detailed product planning & delivery Product Owner engages users, experts and the business owner He creates the backlog estimated by the development team UX, POs and Architects are other important internal stakeholders Client buyers, decision makers and users are important external experts Business owner has the final say in accepting the product There are many different versions of this model, adapted at the product, business or company level. Agile at Scale explains how it can be adopted by the entire firm. The Agile Manifesto explains the vision behind this.
  22. 22. 22© Product Development Organization with Scrum Teams and Analysts This structure is often seen in offshore centers and with vendors Product Owner is typically located offshore, unless development team is located at vendor site Business Analysts create functional specifications for the product manager Development team is driven by engineering priorities, not the backlog There is an additional interface between product owner and client It is possible to have a different owner or stakeholder for every backlog item (UX, Architect, PM, CPO) This model supports the offshore engineering centre in their objectives and allows the development of complex products in a hybrid agile + waterfall model. Unless resource management is planned carefully, the engineering structure can supersede the agile structure.
  23. 23. 23© Large or Distributed IT Application Development Teams that use Agile An ideal structure has been defined as a Scaled Agile Framework You will find many agile consultants and coaches who can setup a complete agile structure based on your organizational needs and priorities. SAFe© provides one such framework.
  24. 24. 24© Final Thoughts Product Owners and Product Managers have different roles Role and responsibilities depend on the organization structure and stakeholders There is no ideal organization or definition for these roles
  25. 25. 25© @dhirenjaniDhiren Jani Questions or Comments? dhirenjani Next presentation will cover product activities per role, at different stages of the product lifecycle