If you’re in charge of product development, you’ve likely heard the terms Product Manager and Product Owner. While these roles are related, they have distinct responsibilities and skillsets. We at ProCoders know this for sure because we’ve helped complete 150+ IT teams with experts in many fields.\n\n\nSo, in this article, we’ll explore the key differences between a Product Owner and a Product Manager, and how to share these roles to maximize the benefits for your organization. After all, both are vital for a project’s success. \n\n\nHow come? Let’s find out!\n\n\n\n\n\nKey takeaways:\n\n\n\nThe difference between Product Owner and Product Manager is very important because it allows for wiser resource distribution, informed decisions, and more effective project development.\n\n\nWhile Project Owner focuses more on customer needs and product quality, Project Manager works on the strategy and development roadmap. You can find more about the relationship and differences between the two in the table ProCoders has prepared.\n\n\nOne person can hold both positions, but the efficiency of such a solution depends on the scale of the company and its projects.\n\n\nProduct Owner’s KPIs include sprint velocity and release frequency, among others, while Product Manager’s ones include revenue and customer satisfaction.\n\n\nProCoders and our clients have been gaining benefits from these separate positions for quite a while, improving the projects’ quality and speeding up time to market.\n\n\n\nWhy Is It Important to Differentiate Between a Product Owner and a Product Manager?\n\n\nIt’s important for organizations to understand the difference between a Product Manager and a Product Owner. First of all, they have distinct responsibilities and need certain skills that are critical for the success of the product and the organization. \n\n\nWe at ProCoders have seen a fair share of projects, so we write based on our expertise in working on many cases where such distinction was crucial. By differentiating the roles, each person can focus on their specific areas, leading to more efficient product development.\n\n\nA clear benefit of understanding the Product Owner versus Product Manager question is task clarity which results in less overlap in responsibilities.\n\n\nThe Product Owner focuses on defining and prioritizing the product backlog, while the Product Manager oversees the overall product strategy, ensuring that it aligns with the business goals. This separation can lead to a higher quality product that better meets the needs of the customer.\n\n\nAnother advantage of understanding the skills of the Product Manager vs Owner is more effective resource utilization. Distributing the budget is easier when you know for sure if you need one person or 2+ for taking up the roles.\n\n\nFinally, knowing who and when to hire can improve decision-making. Each person can bring their unique opinions to the table, with the Product Owner providing insights into the customer needs, and the Product Manager offering tips into the business strategy. This allows the organization to make informed decisions.\n\n\nSo, what exactly are the responsibilities of Product Manager vs Product Owner? Let’s look further into the topic.\n\n\n\nResponsibilities of the Product Owner vs Product Manager\n\n\nThe Product Owner vs Product Manager have different responsibilities, which could look similar. How about we divide them? ProCoders’ specialists have created a brief yet informative table so that you can see the similarities between the two specializations, as well as their differences.\n\n\n\n\n\n\nResponsibilities\nProduct Owner\nProduct Manager\n\n\n\n\nDefine the product vision and roadmap\n✔️\n✔️\n\n\nPrioritize features and functionality\n✔️\n❌\n\n\nDefine user stories\n✔️\n❌\n\n\nWork closely with the development team\n✔️\n✔️\n\n\nEnsure quality\n✔️\n❌\n\n\nMonitor and analyze product metrics\n✔️\n❌\n\n\nDefine the overall product strategy\n❌\n✔️\n\n\nConduct market research\n❌\n✔️\n\n\nManage the product roadmap\n❌\n✔️\n\n\nWork with cross-functional teams\n❌\n✔️\n\n\nCommunicate product vision and strategy\n❌\n✔️\n\n\nProduct Owner vs Product Manager responsibilities.\n\n\nWe can see some common tasks here, so the obvious question is are the two interchangeable? Let’s see.\n\n\n\nCan a Product Owner Be a Product Manager at the Same Time?\n\n\nIf you look at job descriptions online, companies are looking for one person that would do multiple jobs, not only Project Manager versus Product Owner but also a developer, QA specialist, etc., unfortunately. \n\n\nHowever, yes, it is possible for a person to be both a Product Owner and a Product Manager, but it depends on the organization’s structure and the complexity of the product.\n\n\nIn some companies, particularly startups or small businesses, the roles may be combined into one position. This can be effective if the product is relatively simple, and the person has the skills and experience to manage both sets of responsibilities successfully.\n\n\nHowever, in larger organizations with more complex projects, the Product Manager vs. Product Owner is clear – there’s a need for two separate people.\n\n\nTo understand if you need an additional position, we offer to look into the KPIs and value the two occupations bring to the table.\n\n\n\nProduct Owner vs Product Manager: What is the Difference in KPI and Value to Project? \n\n\nEither the Product Manager or Product Owner have some KPIs and values. We at ProCoders have prepared a breakdown of their key differences.\n\n\n\n\n\nThe Product Owner’s KPIs are typically focused on the tactical execution of the product development process. They may include metrics such as:\n\n\n\nSprint Velocity in Scrum (Agile): the amount of work completed by the development teams in each sprint.\n\n\nRelease Frequency: how often the product is released to customers.\n\n\nUser Story Completion: how many user stories are completed in each sprint.\n\n\nTime-to-Market: how quickly the product is launched to market.\n\n\n\n\n\n\nThe Product Manager’s KPIs are typically focused on the strategic direction of the product and the overall business goals. They may include metrics such as:\n\n\n\nRevenue: the amount of money generated by the product.\n\n\nMarket Share: as compared to competitors.\n\n\nCustomer Satisfaction: how satisfied the clients are with the product.\n\n\nReturn on Investment: the ROI generated by the product as opposed to the software development cost.\n\n\n\nValue to Project\n\n\nThe Product Owner’s value to the project lies in their ability to execute the development process effectively. They are responsible for ensuring that the result meets customer needs, is free of defects, and is launched to market on time. \n\n\nThe Product Manager’s value to the project, on the other hand, lies in their skills to build an overall product strategy and align it with the business goals. They are responsible for understanding the industry trends, identifying customer needs, and developing a go-to-market strategy that maximizes revenue and market share. The Product Manager provides value by ensuring that the product is positioned for success in its niche.\n\n\nBoth can use a document management system and other software to aid development. So, here we come to the final question. Should you hire both PO and PM to bring all these values? \n\n\n\n\n\nBenefits of Hiring a Product Owner and a Product Manager: The ProСoders Experience\n\n\nProСoders is a software development outsourcing company that understands the importance of having dedicated specialists with clear responsibilities on their projects. We’ve worked on hundreds of mobile and web apps and have seen all those companies from the inside. So, our experience doesn’t end on ProCoders – it goes beyond. \n\n\nHere are some benefits that we’ve seen in cases where the project had both experts:\n\n\n\nClear Roles and Responsibilities.By hiring both a Product Owner and a Product Manager, ProСoders and our clients were able to ensure clear tasks for each position. This has led to more optimized product development, as each person could focus on their specific area of expertise.\n\n\nImproved Product Quality.With a dedicated Product Owner, our clients were (and still are) able to prioritize the features and functionality that are most important to the customer. This leads to a higher quality product.\n\n\nIncreased Customer Satisfaction.By learning customer needs and working closely with the development team, ProCoders is able to deliver apps with increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.\n\n\nFaster Time-to-Market.With a dedicated Product Manager, ProCoders’ clients are able to define the overall product strategy and match it with the business goals. This leads to process optimization and, as a result, a faster time-to-market, from “How to make inventory management software?” to “Are we ready to launch?”\n\n\n\n\nBetter Decision Making.With both a Product Owner and a Product Manager, our customers are able to make better decisions concerning the project’s features and usability.\n\n\n\n\nEfficient Resource Utilization. With clear roles, we’re able to allocate resources more efficiently, leading to improved productivity and a better product development process.\n\n\n\n\nConclusion\n\n\nProСoders specializes in offshore development team management and help with getting additional staff. We’ve seen both small businesses with one person doing both jobs successfully and large enterprises with a separate Product Owner and several Product Managers. So, your choice depends on the particular needs of your project. No matter what, the benefits we described above are true. And if this is something you need, we can help you hire a new team member!