The Difference Between a Product Owner, a Product Manager, a Business Analyst and a Project Manager

They should be treated as peers, so the product owner doesn’t report to a product manager, but together they report to a senior executive, like the Head of Product or the Chief Product Officer. POs also need to be committed to deadlines and have a sense of accountability and responsibility. Product owners bridge what the product manager strategizes and how the implementation pans out. If they don’t act swiftly, the process will fall behind and create bottlenecks. Glassdoor reports an average product manager salary of around $97,000 compared to an average product owner salary of $106,965. The average product manager salary in the United States is around $90,000, compared to the average product owner salary of $107,000 (based on data from Indeed).

product owner vs product manager

Hopefully, this explanation will help you figure out the answers to the above questions for your organization. Even more so than product managers, product owners benefit from having project management skills. Being structured and aware of risks, checking plans and tracking progress, making changes where needed, having organizational awareness, and delivering high-quality features are all crucial for the product owner. The product owner role focuses on development and implementation through short-term activities and helping the product development team(s) understand what needs to be done. Basically, the PO’s job is set up the team to create a reliable, scalable, secure, and maintainable solution. Product managers make sure that everyone has the resources needed to fulfill the product owner’s vision.

Product owner skills

Product managers, on the other hand, find and discover what products can be built. On the other hand, the product manager executes the development strategy while developing a product strategy. They handle any roadblocks in the development process, which often leads to dealing with trade-off decisions.

  • Ken Norton explored the product management career ladder and suggested that there should be dual career ladders for product people.
  • The key difference between these two roles is a product manager is more customer-focused and a product owner is more team-focused.
  • They communicate the planned features and needed functionality to the development team.
  • On the other hand, if the team is doing Scrum, but doesn’t have a product manager, then the product owner often ends up taking on some of the product manager’s responsibilities.
  • In a way, product owners are the extensions of product managers as they execute the strategies laid out by product managers.

The product manager was so intent on delivering against the product strategy that they forgot the product owner was leading a group with limited capacity. They’re the people who can do all of the above and set incredible product visions. It’s the rare breed that’s forward-thinking, highly influential, and can walk people through the rationale behind a decision and convince them—even without data.

Product Manager vs Product Owner – What Is the Difference?

In the end, it’s not a matter of product owner vs product manager – it’s more about when you need a product owner and when you need a product manager during the lifecycle of a product. Any product management role usually follows the Waterfall methodology – a sequenced method of events that involves an idea, analysis, design, development, test, and the final product. However, if we were to get down to the absolute basics, the difference comes from methodologies.

product owner vs product manager

The product owner has the most complete understanding of the solution and therefore is most qualified to assess feasibility and prioritizes stories to achieve the outputs. Once you determine the roles you need, empower your team by streamlining inefficient processes and using the right tools. For instance, establish a project stakeholder management strategy to help product managers engage and manage stakeholder expectations more effectively. The need for product strategy may seem obvious, but many product managers don’t apply strategic thinking to how their products and other parts of the organization work together. If you design a product that meets all the right industry specifications but doesn’t work well with your technical or operations systems, then it’s not going to increase revenue or bring the shareholders value.


The product owner needs to understand the needs of the customers and communicate these requirements to their team. It is also important that they can concentrate their focus on the development of the product. But I read as many as I can — even if I am not able to reply to each one.

As a member of the extended Product Management function, the PO is the team’s primary customer advocate and primary link to business and technology strategy. This enables the team to balance the needs of multiple stakeholders while continuously evolving the Solution. The Product Owner (PO) is the Agile team member primarily responsible for maximizing the value delivered by the team by ensuring that the team backlog is aligned with customer and stakeholder needs.

Responsibilities in the product team

Some product managers also cultivate customer empathy by scheduling empathy sessions — online conversations with customers to learn more about their challenges and the features they would like to see in the future. While the roles of Product Owners and Product Managers may differ, their collaboration is essential for achieving product success. The Product Owner provides valuable insights and feedback to the Product Manager, ensuring that the product vision and roadmap align with the development team’s capabilities and customer needs. As a long-tenured Atlassian, he has responsible for Confluence, trying to solve problems across all of Atlassian’s cloud products and establishing a new product incubator inside Atlassian. Sherif also played a key role in developing new products at Atlassian such as Stride, Team Calendars and Confluence Questions. Today, he leads product strategy for Atlassian’s newest product, Team Central.

To understand these dynamics a bit more, let’s take a look at the responsibilities of the two roles. In contrast, a product manager may be expected to be more collaborative in their decision making. The product owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product by creating and managing the delivery. The product owner doesn’t have to be a technical guru, but familiarity with architectures, coding languages, software delivery lifecycles, and delivery methodologies is a huge advantage.

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Kruthan Appanna is a Customer Success Analyst with 5 years of experience. Passionate about leveraging data-driven insights to drive customer satisfaction and retention. Skilled in building strong client relationships and providing strategic solutions. And if you’re ready to try out a customer feedback software, Usersnap offers a free trial.

product owner vs product manager

This is why, as Roman Pilcher mentions, it makes sense that for many companies one person fulfills the needs of both roles and uses the scrum product owner as an agile product manager. Sometimes this direction makes the most sense for a company, especially if it is a young or small company. At the most basic level, the product manager is responsible for deciding what projects should be worked on next.

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