April, 2021
By Mariam Mikeladze

Product Owner VS. Project Manager

Product Owner VS. Project Manager

If you work in a company, there's a chance you've heard about the Product Owner’s and Project Manager’s roles. Maybe you've even tried to take up one of them in your team. Even though both of these positions are vital for effectively executing a project, people still confuse them. To be honest, we don't really have one specific definition for them. Actually, for different companies, they mean different things. However, here's a quick guide for understanding the primary responsibilities of the two and the main differences that distinguish them. 

Who is a Product Owner?

Let's start with the Product Owner. This is a person who owns the vision of the product and defines what the perfect customer experience should be. The Product Owner must have a profound understanding of consumer needs and do his best to help the team meet them. 

The Product Owner's key responsibility is to reach the maximum potential for the product. This is achieved by organizing a plan and constantly making choices about what to include or exclude from the project. In order to do this, a Product Owner manages the backlog and stakeholders. 

Responsibilities of a Product Owner

Now, let's get into some more specific tasks that need to be taken care of by the Product Owner:

  • Providing the resources and the funds for the product;
  • Monitoring the return on investment, budget, and the total cost of ownership;
  • Clearly expressing and ordering product backlog items;
  • Managing the stakeholders and inviting them to the sprint reviews;
  • Explaining the progress made to the stakeholders and drawing plans for the following targets. 

Who is a Project Manager?

As we've cleared up some of the misunderstandings related to the Product Owner's position, let us move to the exciting role of the Project Manager. How is it different?

The Project Manager handles more of the day-to-day tasks. This means that this person takes full responsibility for the whole team and makes sure they will complete all assignments, big or small, within the limits of their deadline. These responsibilities also include the product support and the management of each team member's performance every day.

Responsibilities of a Project Manager

Some more specific project manager responsibilities include:

  • Creating and managing the business case;
  • Managing project plans;
  • Tracking and measuring team progress;
  • Identifying and monitoring risks associated with the project;
  • Delivering administrative services;

Even though we've established some of the main differences, it is still valid that both of these roles require many of the same characteristic qualities. For example, excellent communication, leadership, and organization skills. Apart from this, they both are concerned with creating the ideal customer experience and maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of the final product. 



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