In this episode, Rich Mironov will help us to better understand the role of Product Manager, how it differs from Product Owner, and what we can do to make sure we build a solution that drives success for our organization.

After listening to this episode, you'll understand:

  • What product management is
  • How a Product Manager differs from Product Owner
  • How you can support product management activities

Show Notes

A Product Manager is the person who has one foot in the market side and one foot in the engineering side.  They make sure we not only build things right, but build the right things that drive success for the company.

The measure of success for a product manager isn’t that we ship stuff on time, it’s delivering things that drive customer joy, market advancement, and value in the minds of our customers.


Product Owner vs Product Manager

PO as defined by Scrum – inward facing portion of product management.  Direction is given at a higher level.  In essence, Product Owners implement choices, decisions, and strategies that someone else has made by breaking them down at the team level for execution.

Good Product Owners are focused on goals and value and get out from behind their desks to better understand customers and markets.  They’re not just taking direction.

The challenge is that many products can’t be delivered by just one team.  This assumes that the teams are properly structured with the right skills to deliver their portion.  It also assumes that the solutions developed by multiple teams will somehow come together for a cohesive, valuable solution.

Another challenge is that these individual teams often focus on output versus outcomes.  Instead of focusing on delivering stories, teams need to focus on delivering positive business outcomes and value.


Measuring Business Value

Often, business value is expressed either as a vague guess of future revenue, cost savings, or hours saved.  There’s a huge margin of error in these value estimations.

Additionally, the expression of value in terms of time saved is meaningless unless we understand what can be done with that saved time.  If that free time does not translate into a reduction in staff or reduced hiring needs, perhaps the people can now focus on income producing work.  Otherwise, there is no real value in the time savings.

Bringing along a User Experience (UX) designer and engineer to speak with the customer also helps to bring out different perspectives and often results in better outcomes.


How Can We Help?

Often, Product Managers give us a solution to implement.  Instead, we’d like to get a problem to solve with the full context so that we can find an appropriate solution.

As project professionals, we can help by walking them a step back to discover the underlying business problem and help them find the appropriate solution out of multiple options.

“We’ll get better results if as a team we wrestle with the why and what before the how.”

Creating a collaborative environment with diversity of thought centered on finding the best solution will yield greater results than a single Product Manager telling engineers what solution to build.


Listen to the full episode to hear all of Rich’s tips and advice for building the right solution.



Your Homework

Get out from behind your desk and talk to your customers.  Get firsthand information on what their pain points are and identify what would be valuable to them.


Links mentioned in this episode:


Rich Mironov

Rich Mironov

CEO, Mironov Consulting

Rich Mironov is an author, speaker, and innovator.  Rich coaches product executives, product management teams and agile development organizations.  He also parachutes into software companies as interim VP of Products to fix company-level product, market, engineering, and revenue issues.  Rich is also the author of The Art of Product Management.


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