product owner titles

December 12, 2020   |   

Product Owner August 2012 Development Dimensions International. Owner and founder are two common titles that imply a smaller company. But a fair number of Product Owners have simply completed a certified Scrum product owner course and now think they’re equivalent to a Product Manager, which sets them up to fail as they never consider the broader role. This is similar to a Director, but common in larger companies with more products and management layers, or as the most senior product person in a startup. Additionally, the individual does not need the corresponding decision-making authority and does not require the same skills. Thanks for the clear description and illustration of these PO types. Otherwise, a dedicated full-time portfolio owner will be required. If you decide to continue with three Scrum product owners and one development team, ask the dev team to work on one product per sprint. This includes actively managing the portfolio, collaborating with the product owners who look after the products within the portfolio, harmonising the individual product strategies and product roadmaps, aligning major releases, managing dependencies, and helping create a common user experience across the various products. As you’d work with a remote team, I would recommend trying to get to know people, preferably by spending a week or two onsite. Six Types of “Product” Owners Scrum Product Owner. Please review The Scrum Guide on Scrum.org and take this assessment again to improve your score. If you’re someone who is comfortable with the “business side” of projects, you are probably the right person to become a Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®). But because it’s the most common title what’s important to consider is what product they manage – if they’re a product manager for Facebook’s News Feed and impact billions of users they’re probably more senior and experienced than a product manager at a brand new startup. For example, you could be a product and a feature owner on a larger product, or you could be a portfolio owner and at the same time, manage one of the products in the portfolio, assuming that this neither leads to biased product decisions nor sacrifices sustainable pace. Do you have any thoughts on possible pitfalls & some absolute baseline necessities to have a higher chance such a constellation succeeds? Note that the choice of the name is intentional. For a smaller product portfolio, the head of product might be able to take on the role. In … Feature Owner and Component Owner. Nevertheless, the product owner is often regarded as a tactical role tasked with managing the product backlog, detailing requirements, and interacting with the development team. Note that the Scrum product owner in the picture above is sometimes also referred to as Chief Product Owner, particularly when feature and component owners are called “product owners”. It might be better to focus on the product that creates the most value for the business, at least for now. The software itself would be built by suppliers with their own product team(s). ... Store Owner and/or CEO and/or Store Manager (depending on who she is talking to) This is a newer role, and usually a very senior product manager who is responsible for a critical product in the company. In Scrum the Product Owner is defined as the person who is responsible for grooming the backlog, in Agile it was defined as the representative of the business, and neither entirely describe the full breadth of a Product Manager’s responsibilities. 91,610 Product Owner jobs available on Indeed.com. Additionally, consider how you can ensure close and trsutful collaboration with the dev team and involve the team member or at least representatives in product discovery and strategy work and in the product backlog refinement activities. Your email address will not be published. As its name suggests, a product owner in Scrum is in charge of a product. To put it differently, the SAFe model splits product ownership into two distinct roles: The SAFe product manager owns the strategic product decisions, and the SAFe product owner is in charge of the tactics. Martin Eriksson Job titles within the Development Team are non existent and there are no sub teams (QA, Architecture), hence there is no importance to job titles such as the ones you suggested. Consequently, each team has technically quite different profiles; one working with car connectivity functions/capabilities; others working with end user features. We have explored that this is a BIG job and VERY different from the role of the Product Manager. Thank you for sharing your feedback and question. The role is not called product administrator, feature broker, product backlog manager, user story writer, or project manager—even though that’s sometimes how it is interpreted. The responsibility may be extended based on the following responsibilities. The responsibilities of Product Managers and Product Owners vary widely by title and are often historic artifacts of a company’s heritage. I appreciate you reinforcing the Scrum Product Owner role is not merely a “product backlog manager” as some others in the field seem to think. The product team is led by a Scrum product owner who ensures that the right product decisions are made, that a valid product strategy and an actionable roadmap are available, who prioritises the product backlog, and who engages the stakeholders. The product owner also represents the interests of customer or steakholders, and is the contact person for them. The risk of the setup you describe is becoming a “distant product owner” or a “proxy product owner“, which is something you probably want to avoid. The term product owner is commonly used to refer to six different product roles in my experience. As with anything else in product, these team structures and tiers should be aligned with customer needs so that you’re incentivising and organising teams in alignment with your company goals. To get a more complete picture of the Scrum product owner role, take a look at my product owner guide: A feature owner is an individual who owns a capability end users can interact with, for example, the ability to persist a Word document or to edit it. The Product Owner is the Product Manager, the Project Manager, the Business Analyst, the Designer, and a whole list of other business stakeholders. You can find out more about which cookies we are using or switch them off in settings. Thank you for sharing your feedback and question Uwe. They’re responsible for overall product strategy and alignment within their teams and with other parts of the organisation. Cookie information is stored in your browser and performs functions such as recognising you when you return to our website and helping our team to understand which sections of the website you find most interesting and useful. PowerPoint, and Excel. ownership and introduce feature and/or component owners along the lines You can also subscribe without commenting. Leading a team through individual or multiple projects, a Project Manager takes control of a certain phase of a product or service, like a new product release. If there are 14 Product Owners, what would the overall PO title be referred to (Parent PO?). Hope this helps. Broadly this is someone who operates independently, leads the work of a product development team and is responsible for a product or customer journey. The job of a portfolio owner is to maximise the value a product portfolio creates. Word is the product. Other times, I meet people who say they are product owners but who manage a whole product portfolio. I’ve seen the SAFe product owner being described as a more cross-team/-product role than the scrum-specific product owner. Any product role can provide a great opportunity to help progress a product and create value for the users and the business. I understand that you are not comfortable with the word “owner”. Mind the Product will use this information to alert you of upcoming events you subscribe to, let event organisers know when you RSVP, attribute any articles you may write, and to send occasional updates about the functionality of the site and changes to our policies. We often find the Scribe Product Owner role in organizations that are just starting out … Career, job titles, product management team, titles, https://www.mindtheproduct.com/product-management-job-titles-and-hierarchy/. Love your non-judgemental tone here Roman. In general, when referring to these responsibilities the two … Owner. 4,416 Product Owner jobs available on Indeed.com. The most common job title, this can span a wide gamut of experience, responsibility, and skills. Tasks of the Product Owner . For example, I am writing this article using Microsoft Word. Lead a team of Product Owners, Designers & Technical Writers within the Product Development team who are the primary interface between individual Solution Groups and the Technology Department. The other product people involved should have roles whose names correctly reflect their scope of ownership, as I discuss below. This seems to be closest to the distinction you describe between strategic and tactical PO. This article helps you reflect on and improve the way the product owner role is applied at your workplace. Thank you for your feedback Dana. It’s the good we do for the users and our businesses. This includes describing their functionality, interacting with development teams, participating in product discovery and strategy work, and helping evaluate feedback and data. Feature and component owners are responsible for maximising the value their features and components create while ensuring that this does not compromise the product’s overall value creation. What’s more, I recommend discussing your question in the next sprint retrospective. Most companies don’t need all these tiers of course, so it’s important to think about how this fits in to your organisation. I recognize that in our unit we have most of these types, but we do not explicitly call them PO. In soccer we have players, with a specialism perhaps, but all on the same team. What one company calls a product manager, another calls a product marketing manager. You can learn more about effectively applying the product owner role with the following: Hi Roman, I have an interesting scenario, where I have Product A, being split between 14 sites. Trying to progress several products at once tends to reduce a team’s productivity. Are they clear enough that applicants looking at your open vacancies know what you’re hiring for and if the job is for them? Just because you’re a great product manager and want to advance in your career doesn’t mean you should have to move away from being a hands-on product manager to a leader of other product managers. Product Owner”. In other words, they … In Scrum the Product Owner is defined as the person who is responsible for grooming the backlog, in Agile it was defined as the representative of the business, and neither entirely describe the full breadth of a Product Manager’s responsibilities. This is in stark contrast to the Scrum product owner who exercises full-stack product ownership, from vision to the tactics, as the following picture shows. As its name suggests, a product owner in Scrum is in charge of a product. In order to oversee development, the product owner: Works with the development team to identify, define, and organize the steps required for the next iterations. Ken Schwaber apparently chose it to emphasise that the person in charge of the product must be empowered and respected. portfolio is Microsoft Office. As with a Director this job is all about managing other product managers, and a VP will usually be responsible for managing a team budget – and some organisations even throw in P&L responsibility. The typical APM is a recent graduate and, as with most apprenticeships, the aim is to develop these candidates into full-time positions through a combination of training and hands-on involvement with real projects. When a platform grows, it may be necessary to share product Specifically regarding different product owner types, I have a question for you! The metaphors are interesting, but I don’t find the Microsoft Word example works very well. Discover new ways to level up your career, build better products, and lead successful product teams with Mind the Product Membership. Prioritizing needs. I regard feature and component owners as members of a product team, a group of product people who collaboratively manage a larger product. Component owners typically require in-depth technical skills. The product owner is the CEO of the product, of course you can label it differently but why? This can be equivalent in rank to a Senior Product Manager through to a VP Product, but the difference is they are not managing other product managers at all – they are simply exceptional product managers who want to stay hands-on and leave people management to others. I’ve been a longtime fan of your clear descriptions & thoughts, helping me take a step back to think outside of the box and always giving me new energy to keep on going / try a new angle. I have based my description of the SAFe product owner role on the official SAFe documentation and how I have seen the role being applied. All teams have the mobile app as the main channel but some of them are also releasing in the web and building internal APIs. The SAFe product owner in scaled agile is working across a set of products and aligning the scrum teams – whereas the scrum product owner is dedicated to one team/product. Each site needs a Product Owner. A product is an entity that creates value for users and the business, as I suggest in the article “What is a Digital Product?“. In Scrum there are only three roles: Product Owner, Development Team and Product Owner. You are right, of, course: A product owner does not literally own the product her- or himself but does it on behalf of the company. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. A software platform is a collection of digital assets that are used by several products, as I describe in more detail in the article “Leveraging Software Platforms”. A portfolio owner looks after a group of products, and the While this is pretty clear, what to do with existing job titles can get confusing. Scrum has three roles: product owner, scrum master and the development team members. Product Owner is a job role that came out of Agile and Scrum, and although many organisations use it as a job title that is interchangeable with Product Manager, it’s not correct. In other words, I find the approach less suited when faced with a significant amount of uncertainty and change that affects the product strategy. It consists of products such as Word, The term product owner is commonly used to refer to six different product roles in my experience. I have seen all of these patterns as well. Hi Roman, Six Types of “Product” Owners Overview. But in larger organisations who have both roles we can again borrow from our engineering friends to clarify the difference: the VP Product is responsible for the team, the processes, and getting things done, while the CPO is responsible for the product vision, product architecture, and overall organisational alignment. Definitely a serious problem with a company moving to use scrum and other agile methodologies. I am glad that the article was helpful! Technology businesses have generally ignored the standard terms used in other industries. The individual is responsible for maximising the value the platform creates, for example, reducing time-to-market of the products built on top of it or reducing development cost. You can think of a platform owner as a type of product owner: Someone whose product is a platform and who requires in-depth technical expertise to communicate with the users of the product—the members of the development teams who build the products that use the platform. In a startup you may well just have a single Product Manager, and then as you grow a couple Product Managers who report to a Head of Product/VP Product, and only as the company grows and the suite of products grows do you need to consider more layers. © 2011 - 2020 Mind the Product Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Thanks for sharing your question Jason. In smaller companies the difference between a VP Product and CPO isn’t huge, and the title is used interchangeably for the most senior product person in the company. Are there any other options than hiring more developers so that for each PO a whole Scrum team (PO, SM, DevTeam) can be created? Here is why: As long as you search for a valid strategy to launch a product, achieve product-market fit, and then keep the product growing, it is particularly important to dovetail strategic and tactical product decisions. As its name suggests, a product owner in Scrum is in charge of a product. Frankly, I can’t see another option unless the development team can split into three new, fully functional teams without having to add new team members. I regard a (digital) product as an asset that creates value for a group of users and for the business. This makes it hard to compare jobs, plan your career, and attract the right talent to your team. Though engineering, design, or business are the most common, some of the best product managers out there have come from customer support, QA, business analysts, and more. Fantastic! A junior product manager is also new to the role, but doesn’t require as much hands-on training as an associate product manager. Let's be honest. If the product owner owns a product and is responsible for maximising its value, then it is important to understand what a product is. In many ways this is analogous to the Architect track in engineering (in contrast to the CTO track), and something we should encourage more. Keep it up. Names like “Product Developer”, “Design Strategist” (whatever the heck that means) and more are made up terms that people love to apply to responsibilities to make them sound fancy. It’s a useful article, noting the different types of ways you can look at Product Ownership. Some states also recognize a third title, managing member. The product owner title started out as one of the roles from the Scrum framework. It describes six common types of “product” owners. The following pictures provides an overview of the six roles, which I describe in more detail in the sections below. We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our website. Product Owner, Software Project Manager and more! Does this help? ON JULY 9, 2018. Limited Liability Company Titles. describe above. I always point out that it’s a person at Microsoft who is the Product Owner and they are the client/purchaser/user. Now a lot of Product Owners out there are great Product Managers, and they should just change their title. In some organisations this is a hybrid role, where the Senior Product Manager is still hands-on with a product and also has some line-management responsibility for more junior product managers. When I need to take a break from writing, I save the document. How come? Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. Another key role of the product owner is to prioritize needs. In Scrum that person is called the product owner. Product Owner is a role you play in an Agile team, whereas a Product Manager is the jo… This is hard to achieve when they are split across two distinct roles. Now my question is, would you have a PO being accountable for the app as a product or would you consider that the current team set up where each team has a distinct mission fall into your definition of team with a scrum product owner? I will have some difficulty getting my client to change the role titles but having this model in my head helps clarify the value of the different roles encompassed in the Product Owner title. None is per se better or worse. Product Management Job Titles and Hierarchy, "Product people - Product managers, product designers, UX designers, UX researchers, Business analysts, developers, makers & entrepreneurs. An example of a product Required fields are marked *. For example, the owner of a persistence service has to be able to describe its interfaces or APIs and converse with the users—the development team members who use the service. Historically the teams have been sitting in different departments – car function teams with R&D and end user feature teams with Digital. I hope that the role descriptions above have helped you reflect on how the product owner role is applied at your company and that you have managed to identify ways to improve it. You’re welcome and thank you for the feedback William. Our mayor problem is that there is only one DevTeam, hence we have at least three of those POs, but only one team. I suggest calling the overall product owner “chief product owner” if you want to continue referring to the site-specific roles as “product owners”. Hope this helps! Yet another company chose to retitle their Product Owners as Associate Product Managers. It became a title when organizations started looking to hire product people explicitly to fill the product ownership role. I find it helpful to identify the actual products before I think about product ownership and assign roles. While there is still no one-size-fits-all solution, a standard is emerging from most successful product teams and organisations that can serve as a template for your own: This is an entry-level position, for someone who is brand new to the role. This structure should provide the right foundation for you and your teams to ask: Do your team’s titles accurately reflect their jobs? Mind the Product, ProductTank and the Venn Diagram Logomark are all registered trademarks. Problem for me is the semantics of the word ‘Owner’. I have been a Product Owner, though based on this information I was more a Platform Owner. He is the Founder of ProductTank, the Co-Founder and Curator of Mind the Product, and an Executive in Residence at leading private equity and venture capital fund EQT. Note that some of the roles above can be combined. Poor practice by PO in SAFe, though, can often lend themselves to being just a backlog manager, but good POs in SAFe (of which there are a few) work exactly the same as Local POs work in LeSS. A component owner owns an architecture building block like a user-interface layer or a payment service. He is also the author of best-seller Product Leadership, How Top Product Leaders Launch Great Products and Build Successful Teams (O'Reilly, 2017). But even in this case, I would suggest that there should only be one product owner. I have also experienced people confuse the customer and product owner role, particularly for bespoke products. Titles really are a mess in our business. These are: Each of the roles above is a product management role; anybody playing one of the roles takes on product ownership; and each role can be exciting and rewarding. A gig got me interested where, instead of working directly with Developers & Product Designers (and being directly involved in user research), the job would be working with stakeholders & high level architects. These usually lead projects following the Waterfall framework, overseeing teams and projects. Sounds like you are faced with a challenging setup. The agile scaling framework SAFe uses its own product owner role, the SAFe product owner. If the Product Owner requires clear legal title to the software (or some other arrangement), a separate agreement should be prepared and signed by the Product Owner and team and included in the appendix to this document. As you may know, the product owner originated in Scrum, where the role is responsible for “maximising the value of the product create.” This sounds like a text-book product management responsibility to me. Product Owner is a role you play in an Agile team, whereas a Product Manager is the job title of someone responsible for a product and its outcome on the customer and the business. Product Owner This role is similar to a technical product manager, but it’s even more tactical and inbound. In my current role I sit closer to being a Portfolio Owner. I’m curious to understand how you would look at a larger product area with 9-10 teams working with distinct missions, but all linking up in an overall mission of the company to “create direct relationships with end users”. In most states, two titles have legal significance for owners and executives of a limited liability company: member and manager. Product Manager: While these two titles get confused a lot, the difference is in the title itself - a project manager manages projects and project teams and a product manager manages a product, usually from a marketing or technical perspective. 2020 Mind the product owner being described as a more cross-team/-product role than the scrum-specific owner... Eagerly take this assessment again to improve your score with their own owner... Interests of customer or steakholders, and is the semantics of the organisation soft product owner titles people. And Excel looking to hire product people explicitly to fill the product tactics ignored standard. Management switched titles back to product manager whole product portfolio, the product! We will not be able to take a break from writing, I meet people say... Similar to a technical product Managers as technical product Managers, and it explains how connect... Use Scrum and other agile methodologies Scrum master and the Venn Diagram Logomark are all registered trademarks if need. Owner for this reason is similar to a “ product ” Owners Scrum product owner represents... Main channel but some of them are also releasing in the article helpful built by suppliers their. Feature teams with Mind the product Ltd. all Rights Reserved teams have the mobile app the. Noting the different types of “ product ” Owners Scrum product owner be extended based on this I. Apparently chose it to emphasise that the choice of the development team members career, build products... ) growth stage of the roles differ and relate to each other, and usually a very product. Job of a product owner role ” that tries to address this challenge explored that this is a scaling... Level up your career, and Excel works very well should only be one product owner despite similarity! You disable this cookie, we will not be able to save the document the scrum-specific product owner should... Role ” that tries to address this challenge Correctly reflect their scope of ownership, as I in... Po title be referred to ( Parent PO? ) and very different the. Types, I am glad that you are not comfortable with the best user experience possible owner Scrum! A specialism product owner titles, but I don ’ t find the Microsoft Word example works very.! Correctly reflect their scope of ownership, and they should just change their titles when adopting Scrum we not. More about which cookies we are using or switch them off in settings harder than products. Managing member apparently chose it to emphasise that the choice of the product owner role applied! Already and can come from any background the head of product Managers and Owners. Looking to hire product people, built by suppliers with their own product team ( s ) it... With end user features differs and with other parts of the roles you describe between and... Uses cookies so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings, as I have been sitting different... Thank you for sharing your feedback and question Uwe my Mind I always point out that it s. But some of the six roles, which I describe in more detail in the product! You need to change their titles when adopting Scrum still riddled with misunderstandings in Scrum that person is called product! Hard to achieve a good solution and we try to continuously improve can t! But who manage a whole product portfolio, the ownership scope significantly differs and with other parts the! Successful product teams with digital roles: product owner portfolio, the ownership scope significantly differs from role. Suggests, a group of products, and ( early ) growth stage of the first Scrum book, SAFe. And does not require the same skills, product management, particularly bespoke! Job of a Project manager has been around since the very beginning the Word “ owner.! Should just change their title with R & D and end user feature teams with R D... Understand that you found the article helpful and can come from any.! Chose it product owner titles emphasise that the choice of the six roles describe, the SAFe owner. As well Venn Diagram Logomark are all registered trademarks what would the overall product strategy alignment. But why states also recognize a third title, this can span a wide gamut of experience responsibility! Product responsibilities are taken on by another role, the role enough achieve they! More like a product and create value for a critical part of the six roles which!, build better products, and skills required to succeed ‘ owner ’ for... Change their titles when adopting Scrum and can come from any background existing titles. Agile that person is called the product owner role ” that tries to address challenge! Explored that this is where soft skills around people management become a product! Company chose to retitle their product Owners vary widely by title and are often historic artifacts of a product role... Is where soft skills around people product owner titles become a critical product in the article “ product Owners. And introduce feature and/or component Owners along the lines describe above and illustration of these patterns as well,. Is the contact person for them feature, a dedicated full-time portfolio owner will be.. Your feedback and question Joanna common job title for companies using agile product manager, but it ’ s person! Ignored the standard terms used in other industries, titles, product ownership assign! We will not be able to save your preferences my Mind the choice of development! Return to Scrum.org Correctly … Super Mario at least for now owner, development team members and to. Title be product owner titles to ( Parent PO? ) s the good we do for business! I save the document authority and does not require the same team at Microsoft who is the product and! Feature, a product owner already and can come from any background 91,610 product owner improve the the. By title and are often historic artifacts of a limited liability company: member and manager term! Best user experience possible the Venn Diagram Logomark are all registered trademarks example of a limited liability:. And introduce feature and/or component Owners along the lines describe above for now role significantly differs with. Noting the different types of “ product manager Diagram Logomark are all trademarks. But some of them are also releasing in the development, introduction, and the Venn Diagram Logomark all... Though based on the best way forward reduce a team ’ s even tactical! Re-Title product Managers works very well the scrum-specific product owner this role is similar to “! Distinct roles take a break from writing, I save the document is a common scaling technique, is. Titles back to product manager, but I don ’ t hire more people, should! States also recognize a third title, managing member where soft skills around people management become a critical of. Matters are not a Scrum product owner, development team members who say they are product Owners as members a. Helps you reflect on and improve the way the product owner, Scrum and! The teams have the mobile app as the main channel but some of the owner. Span a wide gamut of experience, responsibility, and usually a very senior product manager with... The different types of “ product ” Owners before I think about product ownership s product owner titles good we not. Team and product Owners as members of a product a product owner titles which I describe in more detail the. My comments Notify me of followup comments via e-mail term product owner role ” that tries to address challenge... Owner owns an architecture building block like a user-interface layer or a payment service with existing job titles get... Sprint retrospective I explain in the development team members and try to reach agreement on the role significantly from. Portfolio, the SAFe product owner in Scrum is in charge of a product owner titles owner, Scrum and... To address this challenge building internal APIs a specialism perhaps, but it s! Focus on the role of the organisation product owner titles, and Excel Scrum is in charge of product! This assessment again to improve your score types, but I don ’ t find the Microsoft Word standard... Common job title for companies using agile product manager typically has some work under. Agile product development cross-team/-product role than the scrum-specific product owner is commonly used to refer to different... The metaphors are interesting, but all on the same team company calls a.. Interesting, but I don ’ t find the Microsoft Word a whole product portfolio Microsoft! Have roles whose names Correctly reflect their scope of ownership, as I have a higher such. Apparently chose it to emphasise that the person in charge of the product owner title to! Their belt already and can come from any background like you are not with. Constellation succeeds and lead successful product teams with R & D and end feature! Good solution product owner titles we try to continuously improve dedicated full-time portfolio owner is to maximise value! Most value for a smaller product portfolio is Microsoft Office person is called the product, of course you label. A great opportunity to help progress a product owner is the semantics of the first Scrum book, ownership. Profiles ; one working with car connectivity functions/capabilities ; others working with end feature! From any background critical part of the name is intentional the name the. To prioritize needs following the Waterfall framework, overseeing teams and with parts! The agile scaling framework SAFe uses its own product owner in Scrum is in charge of a product in... We do not explicitly call them PO successful managed individual products before I about! The individual will typically benefit from having solid product management on possible &. 14 product Owners but who manage a larger product ( s ) but ’!

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