Product Owners and Product Managers: How They Work Together

Posted by Maziar Adl
Maziar Adl
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Product managers and product owners each have distinct roles within their companies. Yet, they share a common goal of creating products that both solve problems for their customers and delight them. While their roles differ, their ability to work together is essential to ensure that the product teams meet their goals.


What Does a Product Owner Do?

Illustration: Team Work A product owner focuses on meeting the short-term goals of the company. Their role is largely tactical. They are charged with ensuring that their development teams have a clear understanding of what needs to be built and that the correct process is followed so the product can be built on time. 


Align Development Tasks to Meet the Company Goals

To do this, the product owner must understand the higher-level initiatives and objectives and ensure they are prioritized in the production process. Product owners communicate the various aspects of the product in development, acting as a bridge between the product manager and the development teams. 


Creates the Workflow

The product manager defines the product concept and passes it to the product owner, who identifies which features should be designed and in what order to make the concept possible. 

Product owners will then create a workflow from which development teams can work. They are also responsible for ensuring that the sequencing of tasks is correct so that managing dependencies is as efficient as possible. 


Connect With the Customer

Tasked with the responsibility of optimizing the product, the product owner must connect with the customer during the development process. This allows them to gain insight into product features with an emphasis on what the customer thinks, whether a feature meets their needs, or whether improvements can be made to increase the performance of the product.


Provide Feedback to Product Managers on The Roadmap

The product owner is responsible for ensuring that the product goals are met and must update the product roadmap. It is important to provide this information to the rest of the organization, so they can align their own activities to meet the larger goals. 


What Does a Product Manager Do?

Illustration: product team leaderThe product manager plays a strategic role in the organization and is a bridge between the company executives and the internal teams; as such, they must understand the high-level company goals and develop the ideal products to realize them


Create Alignment Within the Organization 

A product manager will foster alignment within the organization by using systems, such as visual roadmaps that relay the company goals and are easy to understand by all teams. They will also prioritize communication to keep everyone involved in a product up-to-date with information easily accessed. 


Define the Product To Be Built

Identifying successful products requires a product manager to possess a diversity of knowledge, including product design, customer psychology, economics, and marketing. They will turn to market research to identify a potential market and will identify customer pain points through surveys, focus groups, and direct observation. They must also validate their assumptions to ensure their product goals fit what the customer needs and wants. 


Oversee Product Development Teams

A key role of product management is to oversee product owners and development teams. A product manager must provide sufficient directions to internal stakeholders so that they can organize their activities to meet the goals.


Create and Manage Roadmaps For the Products

Product managers are also responsible for managing the product roadmaps for designated products in the portfolio, depending on the company's size and how many management roles there are. Product management tools are ideal for creating a single source of truth and help to guide the process by keeping your product teams focused on the big-picture goals. 


Communicate with Development Teams

For the production process to run smoothly, a product manager must build strong relationships with product owners and their development teams. This is achieved by scheduling regular check-ins, promoting two-way communication, and encouraging cross-collaboration. 


Collaborate with Product Teams

Product success comes from either building a product that is several times better than an existing solution or creating a completely novel item. While the product manager is responsible for deciding which product to build, they must collaborate with product teams from the early product ideation phase. Internal product teams hold a wealth of knowledge and are a source of innovation that can help to inform the process. 


Decision Making

Product managers are tasked with making important decisions on what products to make, what features to include, and which new ideas to pursue. Making these decisions cannot happen on a whim or based on feelings but requires information, evidence gathering, and data to back it all up. Product managers can communicate and plan their product lines against the entire portfolio by using robust product roadmapping tools. The right software can make managing product ideas and decisions much easier. 


How Product Managers and Product Owners Work Together


Attending Cross Functional Meetings

Illustration: Teamwork to solve puzzle While the product roadmap is essential to guiding the production process, regular meetings are necessary to build strong relationships between product teams. Cross-functional meetings with product managers, product owners, and their product teams allow everyone to develop a cohesive strategy with which to execute the product plans. 

Product managers and product owners work efficiently together by scheduling regular check-ins. This allows the product manager to pass on new information and receive progress reports from the product owner. Meetings also provide an opportunity for the product owner to provide feedback on any customer input that affects the type of features to be built. 


Using a Single Source of Truth For Information Management

By using a single source of truth for all internal communications, including product roadmaps and product backlog items, product owners and product managers can offer transparency and clarity to their teams. 


Improving Cross-Functional Collaborations 

The product manager works with the product owner to ensure that all product teams are following the product roadmap. This is important to ensure that the most important features are being prioritized. 

Collaboration is important to ensure that product activities meet the product strategy and company vision.


Product Owners Are Responsible For the Production Process
Gocious E book product planning and need for agile manufacturing

Making the case to build a specific product falls on the shoulders of the product manager. Once the idea is approved and the product is defined, product management teams rely heavily on their product owners to initiate tasks and set the wheels of production in motion. Product owners need to be highly skilled and organized to take charge of the process and must exhibit talent and initiative to continuously improve the product. 


Here at Gocious our mission is to provide product managers with software that helps them create great products. Book a live demo to see the benefits of our software.

Topics: Product Development

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