Artemisa Yescas

Jan 26, 2021

2 min read

Product Manager vs. Product Owner. Is there a real difference?

Many people in tech use these terms interchangeably but I would definitely not use them this way. The best way to identify the differences between a Product Manager and a Product Owner is to identify their responsibilities and analyze what is their focus:

For the Scaled Agile approach (SAFe) specifically, we have a slight change:

We may see some responsibilities overlap between the two roles, such as:

You might say that PM and PO roles sometimes overlap. Well, yes, there IS a certain overlap between the product manager’s strategic activities and the product owner’s tactical activities. This indicates a need for collaboration and communication between the people who hold these roles. The tactical decisions should reflect the overall strategy and the overall strategy is generally affected by the circumstances that the development team faces.
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But whatever the approach used, basically the Product Manager is going to be customer-focused and the Product Owner would be team-focused.

And let’s remember that both the product manager and the product owner will always need to work towards a common goal — to build & improve products that create meaningful value for customers and all stakeholders within the company.

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