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Product Owner Vs Project Manager

Who is a Product Owner? Who is a Project Manager? If you are on the threshold of a career in project management, you may have wondered about the Product Owner Vs Project Manager dilemma. Should you be a Product Owner, or should you be a Project Manager?  This blog attempts to answer some of these questions and help you in your decision of pursuing a career as a Product Owner or a Project Manager.Product Owner: Who is that? “The product owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work of the development team. How this is done may vary widely across organizations, scrum teams, and individuals.”—Scrum Guide Product Owner is one of the roles defined by the Scrum Guide as being essential to the Scrum Team. The Product Owner represents the product. We cannot call a product owner a customer or stakeholder, but rather a role that contributes to making the product for the customer along with the developers and the scrum master. Then how are they different from the other roles in a Scrum Team? Because the Product Owner ensures that the customers’ requirements, needs and demands are acknowledged, and the product is built in accordance with their expectations. The Product Owner is responsible for helping the developers understand what to build. The POs will define the vision and objectives of the product and make sure that the developers use agile development techniques to build the product. The PO knows the priority by which features have to be delivered to the client and hence they are in charge of the product backlog. Ordering and prioritizing the product backlog is their main responsibility and doing this helps them maximize value and keep the stakeholders satisfied.  The responsibilities of a product owner include: Stakeholder Management Maximizing value Managing communication between development team and stakeholders Defining the product vision to the development team Resolving conflicts and managing situations or escalations that may arise with stakeholders or development team members Prioritizing items on the backlog Being involved in development process Helping the development team on Scrum values, principles and processes  Helping stakeholders understand the value of Scrum Project Managers “are organized, passionate and goal-oriented who understand what projects have in common, and their strategic role in how organizations succeed, learn and change” --PMI® Probably the most important role in a traditional non-agile project, the Project Manager oversees every aspect of the project from its inception to its completion. Project Managers plan, organize, manage and direct projects while ensuring that they are completed on time and within budget. They are also in charge of the resources—human and technical, that are involved in the project.  The responsibilities of a Project Manager include: Planning, organizing, completing a project Financial reporting Developing project charter Managing risks Managing resources Change Management Scheduling Cost Estimation and Budget Development: Quality control Project Documentation Tracking performance indicators Vendor management Managing reports and other important documents Product Owner Vs Project Manager:Product OwnerProject ManagerChange AgentThe PO is a major change agent in the organization defining the business and shaping the future of how the business would look by working on new products and projects. The PO identifies business needs and ways to solve business challenges while ensuring creation of value. A PM leads the change from the front while managing and delivering projects. Certain projects often require a shift in the culture of the team and sometimes even of the organization. The PM by being the leader of the team ensures that this change is accepted, and work progresses without any hindrances.   Valued Team memberThe PO is an indispensable part of the team. They represent the business side of the product and are a key link between the stakeholders and the developers. They help to identify and improve areas that need to be improved upon and refine the existing development process to eliminate waste and ensure maximum value creation. A PO is a must in an Agile organization.Having a PM in the team greatly increases the chances of success of the project. The PM leads from the front and is the one person on whom team members lean on for support. The PM guides the team members and ensures that the product is delivered on time and within budget.Provide project visionThe PO defines the product vision to the team members. Defining the product vision does not mean just communicating what the customer wants. POs are expected to think out of the box and suggest enhancements and features for the product that will enhance the value of the product even more than what the customer imagined.The PM identifies the objectives of the project and defines the vision and direction of the project. As the central point of contact PMs will interact with all those involved in the project including stakeholders, project team members, management and investors to explain the goals and objectives of the project.Lead and guide team membersThe PO helps developers develop the product by applying Scrum and Agile principles and practices. This is important in Agile projects, as developers must be vigilant about being Agile at all times.The PM guides, mentors and motivates the team members. The PM is often viewed as the go-to-person for the team members if they have any issues that need to be resolved.PrioritizationPrioritizing the user stories on the product backlog is among the most important responsibilities of a PO. They need to have a good understanding of the product domain and understand the vision and mission of the product to be created in order to do this. Prioritizing the right product or feature to be built and released helps satisfy the stakeholders and raises the reputation of the organization.A PM working on multiple projects must be able to prioritize the projects based on the business value they provide. Prioritization is also key in order to ensure proper time management and allocation of resources. There are a whole lot of tasks that a PM oversees, and correct prioritization will help them manage tasks smoothly and deliver a high degree of efficiency. The PM also works with the team to define the priority and order of tasks that need to complete in order to ensure delivery at the right time.Manage scopeChanging customer requirements may bring in scope creep into the projects. A PO should not lose sight of the overall objectives and goals of the project and learn to manage scope.The PM continuously monitors the scope of the project through the development lifecycle to ensure that there is no scope creep, which in turn will ensure that the budget and time are not exceeded.Manage budget and timeSince Scrum is iterative and incremental with fixed sprint lengths, the PO must ensure that the team is empowered enough to release working features at the end of each sprint. This will ensure that commitments are met on time. The PO also collaborates with business stakeholders to ensure that the project is delivered on time and within costs.PMs are key to managing project schedule and costs. The PM manages the scope to ensure that the project does not exceed the limits set at the beginning. The PM must also have budget management strategies ready and keep a note of changing requirements, changing markets, and keep reviewing budgets to ensure that there is no overrun.Work with multiple teamsA PO works with multiple stakeholders, developers and Scrum Master. PO is the primary liaison between these parties and has to ensure smooth collaboration and communication between them.  The PM is the central point of contact in the project and has to co-ordinate with multiple stakeholders and team members.Create Project roadmapIn Agile projects, the PO creates the roadmap to identify the high-level objectives of the project and set approximate timelines for deliverables and releases. This helps the PO and the teams to identify tasks and set appropriate sprint lengths for these. The PO also evaluates progress by being involved at every stage of the development process.Creating a project roadmap is an important responsibility of the PM as this helps them allocate tasks to team members, define release dates and identify any possible risks that may impede progress of the project. This also helps them revise any schedules or costs that may possibly creep.Closing of the projectAgile believes in continuous improvement and the PO too ensures that the product is continuously improved and enhanced. The PO and the Scrum team members review and retrospect the work that they have done and identify areas of improvement.Once the project has been developed as per the needs and expectations of the customer, the PM will review the project stages and also document these stages in collaboration with the stakeholders. These learnings are well documented and may be applied to future projects.Wrapping Up The Product Owner and the Project Manager handle tough projects with changing requirements, tough stakeholders, remote resources and tough deadlines. Both these roles work towards creating motivated teams who can deliver and ensure project progress. Becoming a PO or PM depends on the skill set you have and where your interest lies. But there is no denying that both these roles have tremendous opportunities in the existing market. 
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Product Owner Vs Project Manager

Susan May
Blog
31st Aug, 2021
Product Owner Vs Project Manager

Who is a Product Owner? Who is a Project Manager? If you are on the threshold of a career in project management, you may have wondered about the Product Owner Vs Project Manager dilemma. Should you be a Product Owner, or should you be a Project Manager?  

This blog attempts to answer some of these questions and help you in your decision of pursuing a career as a Product Owner or a Project Manager.

Product Owner: Who is that? 

The product owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work of the development team. How this is done may vary widely across organizations, scrum teams, and individuals.”—Scrum Guide 

Product Owner is one of the roles defined by the Scrum Guide as being essential to the Scrum Team. The Product Owner represents the product. We cannot call a product owner a customer or stakeholder, but rather a role that contributes to making the product for the customer along with the developers and the scrum master. Then how are they different from the other roles in a Scrum Team? Because the Product Owner ensures that the customers’ requirements, needs and demands are acknowledged, and the product is built in accordance with their expectations. 

The Product Owner is responsible for helping the developers understand what to build. The POs will define the vision and objectives of the product and make sure that the developers use agile development techniques to build the product. The PO knows the priority by which features have to be delivered to the client and hence they are in charge of the product backlog. 

Ordering and prioritizing the product backlog is their main responsibility and doing this helps them maximize value and keep the stakeholders satisfied.  

The responsibilities of a product owner include: 

  • Stakeholder Management 
  • Maximizing value 
  • Managing communication between development team and stakeholders 
  • Defining the product vision to the development team 
  • Resolving conflicts and managing situations or escalations that may arise with stakeholders or development team members 
  • Prioritizing items on the backlog 
  • Being involved in development process 
  • Helping the development team on Scrum values, principles and processes  
  • Helping stakeholders understand the value of Scrum 

Project Managers “are organized, passionate and goal-oriented who understand what projects have in common, and their strategic role in how organizations succeed, learn and change” --PMI® 

Probably the most important role in a traditional non-agile project, the Project Manager oversees every aspect of the project from its inception to its completion. Project Managers plan, organize, manage and direct projects while ensuring that they are completed on time and within budget. They are also in charge of the resources—human and technical, that are involved in the project.  

The responsibilities of a Project Manager include: 

  • Planning, organizing, completing a project 
  • Financial reporting 
  • Developing project charter 
  • Managing risks 
  • Managing resources 
  • Change Management 
  • Scheduling 
  • Cost Estimation and Budget Development: 
  • Quality control 
  • Project Documentation 
  • Tracking performance indicators 
  • Vendor management 
  • Managing reports and other important documents 

Product Owner Vs Project Manager:


Product Owner
Project Manager
Change Agent
The PO is a major change agent in the organization defining the business and shaping the future of how the business would look by working on new products and projects. The PO identifies business needs and ways to solve business challenges while ensuring creation of value. 
PM leads the change from the front while managing and delivering projects. Certain projects often require a shift in the culture of the team and sometimes even of the organization. The PM by being the leader of the team ensures that this change is accepted, and work progresses without any hindrances.   
Valued Team member
The PO is an indispensable part of the team. They represent the business side of the product and are a key link between the stakeholders and the developers. They help to identify and improve areas that need to be improved upon and refine the existing development process to eliminate waste and ensure maximum value creation. A PO is a must in an Agile organization.Having a PM in the team greatly increases the chances of success of the project. The PM leads from the front and is the one person on whom team members lean on for support. The PM guides the team members and ensures that the product is delivered on time and within budget.
Provide project vision
The PO defines the product vision to the team members. Defining the product vision does not mean just communicating what the customer wants. POs are expected to think out of the box and suggest enhancements and features for the product that will enhance the value of the product even more than what the customer imagined.
The PM identifies the objectives of the project and defines the vision and direction of the project. As the central point of contact PMs will interact with all those involved in the project including stakeholders, project team members, management and investors to explain the goals and objectives of the project.
Lead and guide team members
The PO helps developers develop the product by applying Scrum and Agile principles and practices. This is important in Agile projects, as developers must be vigilant about being Agile at all times.
The PM guides, mentors and motivates the team members. The PM is often viewed as the go-to-person for the team members if they have any issues that need to be resolved.
Prioritization
Prioritizing the user stories on the product backlog is among the most important responsibilities of a PO. They need to have a good understanding of the product domain and understand the vision and mission of the product to be created in order to do this. Prioritizing the right product or feature to be built and released helps satisfy the stakeholders and raises the reputation of the organization.
A PM working on multiple projects must be able to prioritize the projects based on the business value they provide. Prioritization is also key in order to ensure proper time management and allocation of resources. There are a whole lot of tasks that a PM oversees, and correct prioritization will help them manage tasks smoothly and deliver a high degree of efficiency. The PM also works with the team to define the priority and order of tasks that need to complete in order to ensure delivery at the right time.
Manage scope
Changing customer requirements may bring in scope creep into the projects. A PO should not lose sight of the overall objectives and goals of the project and learn to manage scope.
The PM continuously monitors the scope of the project through the development lifecycle to ensure that there is no scope creep, which in turn will ensure that the budget and time are not exceeded.
Manage budget and time
Since Scrum is iterative and incremental with fixed sprint lengths, the PO must ensure that the team is empowered enough to release working features at the end of each sprint. This will ensure that commitments are met on time. The PO also collaborates with business stakeholders to ensure that the project is delivered on time and within costs.
PMs are key to managing project schedule and costs. The PM manages the scope to ensure that the project does not exceed the limits set at the beginning. The PM must also have budget management strategies ready and keep a note of changing requirements, changing markets, and keep reviewing budgets to ensure that there is no overrun.
Work with multiple teams
A PO works with multiple stakeholders, developers and Scrum Master. PO is the primary liaison between these parties and has to ensure smooth collaboration and communication between them.  
The PM is the central point of contact in the project and has to co-ordinate with multiple stakeholders and team members.
Create Project roadmap
In Agile projects, the PO creates the roadmap to identify the high-level objectives of the project and set approximate timelines for deliverables and releases. This helps the PO and the teams to identify tasks and set appropriate sprint lengths for these. The PO also evaluates progress by being involved at every stage of the development process.
Creating a project roadmap is an important responsibility of the PM as this helps them allocate tasks to team members, define release dates and identify any possible risks that may impede progress of the project. This also helps them revise any schedules or costs that may possibly creep.
Closing of the project
Agile believes in continuous improvement and the PO too ensures that the product is continuously improved and enhanced. The PO and the Scrum team members review and retrospect the work that they have done and identify areas of improvement.
Once the project has been developed as per the needs and expectations of the customer, the PM will review the project stages and also document these stages in collaboration with the stakeholders. These learnings are well documented and may be applied to future projects.

Wrapping Up 

The Product Owner and the Project Manager handle tough projects with changing requirements, tough stakeholders, remote resources and tough deadlines. Both these roles work towards creating motivated teams who can deliver and ensure project progress. Becoming a PO or PM depends on the skill set you have and where your interest lies. But there is no denying that both these roles have tremendous opportunities in the existing market. 

Susan

Susan May

Writer, Developer, Explorer

Susan is a gamer, internet scholar and an entrepreneur, specialising in Big Data, Hadoop, Web Development and many other technologies. She is the author of several articles published on Zeolearn and KnowledgeHut blogs. She has gained a lot of experience by working as a freelancer and is now working as a trainer. As a developer, she has spoken at various international tech conferences around the globe about Big Data.


Website : https://www.zeolearn.com

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