What Are The Differences Between Project Manager And Scrum Product Owner?
Initially, I started my own YouTube channel just to improve my creativity as a Scrum Master as it is important for the Scrum Master to be creative. I didn't realize that a lot of people found values in my vlogs. So thank you once again and let's start today's video. So in today's video, I would like to discuss the differences between a project manager and a Product Owner. This topic was requested by Dejan Majkic in my previous video about project manager versus Scrum Master. So if you're also interested to know about the differences between a project manager and a Product Owner, don't go anywhere to stay on this video. So every time I get this kind of question in my Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO) classes I would flash up a two parts exercise because the term project manager and product owner consist of two words. So in the first part of the exercise, I asked participants to compare project versus product and in the second part of the exercise, I asked participants to compare the manager versus an owner.
In the first part of the exercise, I asked participants to write down on as many sticky notes as possible all of the attributes of great projects and also all of the attributes of great products. This exercise was inspired by another Professional Scrum Trainer (PST) named Kate Terlecki. Until today, the participants in my classes said that in general the attributes of great projects are delivered on time, on the scope and budget. Great projects also have great teamwork and synergy. And lastly, great project managers who expertly manage the project. On the other hand, great products are user friendly, have responsive speed, addictive, and also solve customer problems. They said this is the fundamental attribute for great products. Beyond the fundamental attributes, great products not only solve customer problems but also make customers more awesome. Great products can even transform a customer's life. And even greater than that, great products can be a legacy that is passed down to the next generation. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI) the definition of a project is temporary in that it has a defined beginning and end in time, and therefore defined scope and resources. So from this definition from Project Management Institute (PMI) and from the list that participants in my classes have generated, we can learn that the end of a project lifecycle is defined upfront while on the other hand, the end of a product life cycle is pretty much unknown. Because a product life cycle ends when nobody in the market wants to use the product any longer. Nobody can predict when that will happen.
Therefore, we can say in general that a project life cycle is relatively shorter than a product life cycle. Based on the definition from Project Management Institute, we can also learn that the focus of a project is inwards towards the organization, on the other hand, the focus of a product is outward towards the customer. Lastly, we can see that the definition of a successful project is about delivering according to the defined time, scope, and resources. While a successful product is the ones that bring value to customers, bring profits to the company, and also sustaining in the market. And the two are not necessarily related. What that means is a successful project may not necessarily deliver a successful product. In the second part of the exercise, I asked all participants to have a group discussion and compare the differences between an owner and a manager in the context of a company. So until today, the participants in my classes said that the company owner has higher authority than the manager. Secondly, the owner initiates the company strategy while the manager manages to work towards the strategy. And lastly, they said that the manager reports to the company owner. In some companies, there is a misconception that a product owner is below the project manager in a structure or the hierarchy of the company and the Product Owner needs to report to the project manager.
Now, this does not make any sense at all. As the product lifecycle is relatively longer than a project lifecycle and an owner has a higher authority than a manager, the reporting line should be the other way around. Even though this is outside of the Scrum context, Scrum does not recognize the role of the project manager. So let's summarise everything that we have learned in this video. Semantically the project manager manages the project while the product owner owns the product. This is a huge difference that we have to understand. Therefore the Product Owner scope of work and responsibilities is broader than a project manager's scope of work. And also the Product Owner has a higher authority than the project manager. Project managers need to know project management according to what is defined in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK), while a Product Owner needs to have entrepreneurial skills, marketing skills, data analytics, user experience, and other skills needed to make the product successful in the market. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI) the project manager is successful in doing their job when the project they managed is on time, has on-budget results, learning, and integration for the organization. While a Product Owner is successful in doing their job when the product they own generates customer value, generates profit for the business, and the product is sustaining in the market.