They are vastly different roles.
A project manager is primarily concerned with the delivery of products within a predetermined time frame. A product owner is primarily concerned that the right product is built, and that the right problems are being solved in order of priority.
In short, a project manager manages projects within specified time frames whereas a product owner is focused on creating and developing products through a process of continuous improvement.
A project manager has a great degree of responsibility.
Often, they have sole responsibility for ensuring that a product or project is delivered within the predetermined time frames and costs.
In an environment where there is a great deal of complexity, it can set one person up for failure time and again.
A product owner works within a team environment, trusting the developers and Scrum Master to focus on how best to solve the problem or how best to create the right product.
The people with the expertise, in this case, the developers, are the people who estimate how long something should take and work together to ensure that the best version of that product, service or feature is created.
The Product Owner acts as a CEO of the product.
They are engaged with customers and stakeholders to ensure that the right thing is being built, in the best way, and they are engaged internally with the team to provide feedback and guidance on what is being built.
The product owner holds the product vision and invests a great deal of time ensuring that the right problems are being solved for customers. Their mission is to create and develop products, services and features that truly delight customers.
In essence, a product owner is a great source of achieving competitive advantage because they are so focused on making sure that the best possible product or service is being created.
Their ownership of the product space encourages continuous improvement and innovation in the product, which in turn leads to increased competitive advantage within the marketplace.
A project manager has a focus on a specific project and in delivering that project within the agreed times, costs, etc. which doesn’t set them up well for continuous improvement of any kind.
Once the project is delivered, it is onto the next project and so forth.
Sure, they may learn through the process and become better project managers over time, but the rigid framework within which they operate doesn’t lend itself toward continuous improvement or innovation over time.
If you would like to become a Product Owner, visit our Certified Scrum Product Owner course page as well as the Advanced Scrum Product Owner course page for an idea of progression within the field.
Frequently Asked Product Ownership Questions
- What is the difference between a Product Owner and a Project Manager?
- How is a product owner different to a product manager?
- Is a product owner a member of the development team?
- Do you need project management experience to be a Product Owner?
- How does a Product Owner integrate into a Scrum Team?
- Do project managers traditionally make great product owners?
- Is the product owner role a great fit for people in creative industries?
- Is there different levels of seniority for product owners?
- What are career opportunities for a Product Owner?
- What do Product Owners do?
- Do you need to be a developer to be a product owner for a software company?
- Can you create a Product Ownership role in a company that doesn’t do Scrum?
- What are some great traits of a product owner?
- How will I know if a product owner role is a great fit for me?
- Do product owners attend daily scrums?
- Do product owners interact and engage with project stakeholders?
- How does a product owner integrate into a marketing team?
- Do entrepreneurs make great product owners?
Frequently Asked Product Owner Training Questions
- What is a Certified Scrum Product Owner?
- Will I be able to lead product development after doing a CSPO course?
- What will you learn on a CSPO course?
- How well recognised and respected is the CSPO course?
- What do you need to know to sign up for the CSPO course?
- How well does a CSPO course prepare you to be a product owner?
- Do I get textbooks and course materials as part of my CSPO course?
- What would be a good certification path for a Product Owner?
- Are there different CSPO certifications and how do they differ?
- How long is the CSPO course and how is it configured?
- Is the CSPO course theoretical or practical?
- Do companies invest in CSPO courses or is it primarily individuals?
- How do I progress as a Product Owner?
- Would you recommend the CSPO course for entrepreneurs?