Vishwa Krishnakumar
Vishwa Krishnakumar Co-founder at Zenduty. Helping companies institutionalize reliability within their operations

Balancing between Product Owner and Product Management responsibilities

Balancing between Product Owner and Product Management responsibilities

In a fast-moving high-frequency-release environment of today, it is important to enable PM’s to have time/bandwidth to do both PO and PM responsibilities instead of having all of their time absorbed trying to keep up with immediate PO work / developer needs.

The terms Product Owner and Product Manager might appear to be synonymous but there very different. The Product Manager drives the vision (focuses externally with users, customers, all stakeholders, etc). The Product Owner implements the vision (focuses internally with the team, internal stakeholders, etc).

When focusing on one product, how much time actually goes into implementation? It seems like maybe 20% of the time at most goes to product owner type responsibilities.

There are many different factors in play in order to strike a good balance:

  • The list of responsibilities for the Product Owner Role at your company
  • The cohesiveness of the team you are working with
  • The amount of cross-team collaboration that must happen with your team and projects
  • If you have a Scrum Master or Team/Tech Lead etc.

One way to achieve a balance is to bake-in the “Innovation Sprint” (read here) that allows PM’s to focus on future needs of the product, instead of the daily grind. Everyone will know that the product teams get to choose what they want to do for two weeks.

It’s important to note that in this model, delivery is valued above all else, which can cause issues. But because the other 5 sprints are focused on delivery, businesses can afford to back the product teams for that innovation sprint. It’s a great time to plan roadmaps, try new technologies, and give everyone a chance to try something new.

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