Our mission is to help leaders in multiple sectors develop a deeper understanding of the global economy. Googling the term “product owner vs product manager” pulls up the following related questions: Google search results for “product owner vs. product manager” ()This quick search tells us that businesses have a lot of questions about product owners and product managers—two of the most important Agile project management roles for a product team, also known as an Agile team, Scrum … What’s more, product management is emerging as the new training ground for future tech CEOs. Distinct archetypes have emerged at leading tech companies that can point the way for organizations setting out to build new digital capabilities. I have yet to see a standard job description for a product manager, because each role is ultimately defined by the size, type of product, stage, industry, and even culture of the company. Increase your business agility with Clarizen’s project management software, Learn How to Get 30% Higher Return on PPM Assets. Software product management roles can be further subdivided depending on the focus: Product owner, product marketing manager, technical product manager and strategic product manager. Here, the distinction is made between product manager vs. program manager, rather than project manager vs. program manager. Product managers own the entire product strategy- the ideation, features and releases, and even the profit and loss. As more companies outside of the technology sector set out to build software capabilities for success in the digital era, it’s critical that they get the product-management role right.1 1.For more, see Chandra Gnanasambandam, Martin Harrysson, Rahul Mangla, and Shivam Srivastava, “An executive’s guide to software development,” February 2017. Never miss an insight. Product managers of the future will be analytics gurus and less reliant on analysts for basic questions. Press enter to select and open the results on a new page. We recommend that organizations begin with a thorough assessment of their current product-management capabilities in six areas: a grounding in customer experience, market orientation, business acumen, technical skills, soft skills, and the presence of organizational enablers. The most common job title, this can span a wide gamut of experience, responsibility, and skills. Use minimal essential Please try again later. Companies typically focus on being best in class in one to three areas and meeting the bar across the board (Exhibit 2). You also need people who work closely with the specific development team on articulating the vision of the current user story and who focus on making tough decis… cookies, treasure troves of internal and external data and use these to make every product decision, being obsessed with usage metrics and building customer empathy, McKinsey_Website_Accessibility@mckinsey.com, augment the product manager’s decision making. Product managers, on the other hand, are responsible for guiding the design, development and production of one or more products. Learn why Clarizen is the right choice to engage your workforce and accelerate your business. The modern product manager needs to know the customer intimately. A key aspect of a future product manager’s profile will be frequent transitions between products and even companies. It helps to understand the difference between a project and a program. In the software industry, a product manager usually does not need to be an expert programmer, but needs to understand the software development process and be able to synthesize that knowledge with an understanding of the marketplace. If you would like information about this content we will be happy to work with you. In other industries, the product itself might be a physical object or a service rather than a collection of code, but the job description can still be quite similar. Please click "Accept" to help us improve its usefulness with additional cookies. These roles all have different histories and slightly different responsibilities. Project management has been used extensively in the engineering, construction, and defense industry. Our flagship business publication has been defining and informing the senior-management agenda since 1964. Any critic of the analogy between product managers and CEOs will point out that product managers lack direct profit-and-loss responsibilities and armies of direct reports, so it is critical for product managers with ambitions for the C-suite to move into general management to broaden their experience. It is mostly about how being a product manager is different than being a software engineer. Technical Program Managers are individual contributors (although in some cases they might have other junior TPMs reporting to them at amazon.) tab, Travel, Logistics & Transport Infrastructure, McKinsey Institute for Black Economic Mobility. tab. Digital upends old models. This is the job of a product manager, who helps upper management, investors, and even customers understand the evolution of the product. They wear many hats, using a broad knowledge base to make trade-off decisions, and bring together cross-functional teams, ensuring alignment between diverse functions. hereLearn more about cookies, Opens in new Understanding the distinctions between these roles can help you navigate the sometimes confusing world of enterprise project management, and can also help you evaluate possible future career paths. This paper discusses Software Engineering practices, product management risks, and provide helpful strategies for managing software product development. A foundation in computer science will remain essential and will be supplemented by experience and coursework in design. Product managers will know how to create mock-ups and leverage frameworks and APIs to quickly prototype a product or feature. Some software companies have an entirely different definition of a program manager. Usually in a software engineering organization, at some level there is a split between the Development team and the Quality team. Whereas a product manager generally focuses straight ahead on all of the elements needed to strategically drive her products forward, a program manager takes more of … Once a company has established a baseline of its product-management capabilities, it typically follows two parallel paths—hiring new talent in strategic areas and investing in a broad capability-building program for existing talent. At the same time, the value of the surrounding ecosystem is growing: modern products are increasingly just one element in an ecosystem of related services and businesses. Project managers may even perform project tasks and produce deliverables, but in most cases, they are a step removed from those responsibilities. As seamless, user-friendly consumer software permeates our lives, business users increasingly expect a better experience for enterprise software. He knows the user needs and what development team can do to combine everything into successful implementation. However, you are likely to encounter them in fields as diverse as manufacturing, marketing and retail. A product manager at a leading B2B technology company told us, “For success at our company, it is critical that you are constantly learning not just new technologies but also new business models. My title at EMC is “Software Development Manager,” but my job is definitely “Software Engineering Manager.”. This isn’t even the most important things I’ve learned about being a product manager. While a product manager defines the direction of the product through research, vision-setting, alignment, and prioritization, the product owner should work more closely with the development team to execute against the goals that the product manager helps to define. It refers to (at least) three distinct roles: the Product Manager, the Program Manager, and the Project Manager. Reinvent your business. Companies with this approach tend to view a program manager as a more technically-focused counterpart of the product manager, who is responsible for guiding the creation of the actual code that will form the solution. And since the product manager is responsible for the product throughout its lifecycle, they will naturally be involved with any project that concerns the product. As these three archetypes emerge, the project manager is a fading archetype and seen mainly at legacy product companies. For example, manufacturing product managers are responsible for tangible products and their delivery, while product managers leading software projects will have different types of teams to assist in the launch and delivery of the software. Such experience is also valuable beyond tech: PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi started her career in product management–like roles at Johnson & Johnson and Mettur Beardsell, a textile firm. Flip the odds. In most industries, project managers are professionals who have developed expertise in the field, often by working on projects, and have moved into a management role over time. The authors wish to thank Dogan Bilguvar, Arif Cam, and Anirudh Ravi Narayanan for their contributions to this article. Software development needs to be a strategic priority for all companies in today’s digital era. “PM” is a confusing abbreviation. Filter by popular features, pricing options, number of users, and read reviews from real users and find a tool that fits your needs. These three profiles represent the primary, but not the only, focus of the mini-CEO product manager; like any CEO, they work across multiple areas (for instance, a technologist product manager will be expected to be on top of key business metrics). For the latter, a field-and-forum approach has proved to work best, where product managers work on real projects with regular coaching and feedback. Scrum master vs. product manager vs. product owner: In Scrum, the most popular Agile methodology, the Scrum master is primarily responsible for keeping the Scrum team motivated and focused, and also shields them from distraction and provides guidance and instruction. Most transformations fail. That’s why it helps to understand the difference between a project, a program, and a product, as well as the management of each. Many organizations group their projects together in programs, which in turn are part of an organization’s overall portfolio of projects. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PM… But you wouldn’t know it based on some job descriptions out there. Even if the role of the project manager is to produce a product- even if the development of a product feels like … In this Software Product Management Specialization, you will master Agile software management practices to lead a team of developers and interact with clients. Both project management and product management disciplines involve working directly with clients and collaborating with a team to deliver a product … The emergence of the mini-CEO product manager is driven by a number of changes in technology, development methodologies, and the ways in which consumers make purchases. In contrary to the Waterfall approach Ken and Jeff presented the general idea, which is a flexible framework. In addition to developers and testers, product-development teams include operations, analytics, design, and product marketers that work closely together in “execution pods” to increase the speed and quality of software development. Software development manager are people managers. And since the product manager is responsible for the product throughout its lifecycle, she will naturally be involved with any project that concerns the product. The role of a project manager versus a product manager can be confusing, as many of their responsibilities can overlap. Among one hundred and one job titles, the product manager is, perhaps, the most confusing. But because it’s the most common title what’s importan… There are, however, differences in how product managers connect with the users. Get the Full 2020 Gartner Market Guide, Preview: 2020 Gartner Market Guide for Adaptive Project Management & Reporting, If you like the preview and want the FULL PDF file, please provide your information and you can download it, Buyer’s guide to project management software, We use cookies to make Clarizen’s website a better experience for you. In many software organizations, the DevOps model is removing organizational silos and enabling product managers to gain broader cross-functional insights and arrive at robust product solutions more effectively. Powerful project and portfolio management for today’s global enterprise. Unlike product managers of the past, who were primarily focused on execution and were measured by the on-time delivery of engineering projects, the product manager of today is increasingly the mini-CEO of the product. In the final Capstone Project, you will practice and apply management techniques to realistic scenarios that you will face as a Software Product Manager. Product success can also be clearly measured across a broader set of metrics (engagement, retention, conversion, and so on) at a more granular level, and product managers can be given widespread influence to affect those metrics. Find and compare top Product Management software on Capterra, with our free and interactive tool. Please email us at: McKinsey Insights - Get our latest thinking on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. You need someone who owns the overall road map, a high-level view of where the complete product will be over the next few years. In early software development, project-centric thinking prevailed, because it complemented the Waterfall methodology software development teams commonly implemented to run large software projects. Product Managers have to evaluate the customer needs and develop a solution that addresses these needs, with the help of various teams in the organization. The day-to-day engineering execution role is now typically owned by an engineering manager, program manager, or scrum master. collaboration with select social media and trusted analytics partners Please use UP and DOWN arrow keys to review autocomplete results. The product manager collaborates daily with cross-functional teams regarding the future of the product: Engineering, Sales and Marketing, Customer Success, etc. Before becoming the CEOs of Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella, and Marissa Mayer were product managers, and they learned how to influence and lead teams by shepherding products from planning to development to launch and beyond. They manage a group of software developers. Companies today have treasure troves of internal and external data and use these to make every product decision. process that focuses on bringing a new product to market or developing an existing one The role of the product manager is expanding due to the growing importance of data in decision making, an increased customer and design focus, and the evolution of software-development … The project management triangle stayed untouched and according to it, projects consist of a scope, a time and a budget. Product managers now function on two speeds: they plan the daily or weekly feature releases, as well as the product road map for the next six to 24 months. The product manager role usually involves evaluating customer needs, creating a design that will address those needs and working with the teams who actually build the product to ensure that it meets the intended goal. Development managers may help build an organization from the ground up, while project managers can help develop new products. It’s a common question, and an important one, especially if you are just entering the world of project management. The product manager collaborates daily with cross-functional teams, such as engineering, sales and marketing, and customer support, regarding the future of the product. Product managers will typically start their careers either as engineers or as part of a rotational program. In the software industry, a product manager usually does not need to be an expert programmer, but needs to understand the software development process and be able to synthesize that knowledge with an understanding of the marketplace. This press release then serves as the approval mechanism for the product itself. Similarly, the background of future product managers will evolve to match this new role. Practical resources to help leaders navigate to the next normal: guides, tools, checklists, interviews and more. Subscribed to {PRACTICE_NAME} email alerts. The truth is that various companies use various job title specifications, from the Strategic Product Managers to eCommerce or Product Development Managers or even all-in-one. An intense focus on the customer is prominent among all product managers. After three to four years, they may get an executive or a full-time MBA with a specialization in product management, which is becoming an area of focus at several top-tier MBA programs, and which we expect will become more prevalent. Accelerate speed, agility and collaboration to meet business goals. Over the next three to five years, we see the product-management role continuing to evolve toward a deeper focus on data (without losing empathy for users) and a greater influence on nonproduct decisions. It’s common for people to confuse product managers and project managers — even within industries, like software, that employ both. Life cycles are also becoming more complex, with expectations of new features, frequent improvements, and upgrades after purchase. Program manager, product manager and project manager are familiar terms to people in almost every industry, but what sets them apart from each other? What’s the Difference Between Project & Portfolio Management? As an engineer, you’re responsible for building and shipping software. While software-as-a-service products are becoming simpler for customers, with modular features rather than a single monolithic release, they are increasingly complex for product managers. We anticipate that most modern product managers will spend at least 30 percent of their time on external activities like engaging with customers and the partner ecosystem. We strive to provide individuals with disabilities equal access to our website. Managers must now oversee multiple bundles, pricing tiers, dynamic pricing, up-sell paths, and pricing strategy. You are ultimately accountable for the product's success or failure. The Development team, in theory, is evaluated on its ability to Develop software. Development managers also act as a partner and mentor because they are adept at the fundamentals of management: one-on-one meetings, giving feedback, and coaching. Hence we hire a lot of folks laterally from Google, Amazon, and VMware and encourage our product managers to rotate through products.”. How would one handle a situation where the development manager (to whom the Development Team reports) is also acting as Product Owner? Product managers have to make sure that their product delivers greater value than the competitor. Learn more about cookies, Opens in new We use cookies essential for this site to function well. They will be able to quickly spin up a Hadoop cluster on Amazon Web Services, pull usage data, analyze them, and draw insights. Select topics and stay current with our latest insights. This means being obsessed with usage metrics and building customer empathy through online channels, one-on-one interviews, and shadowing exercises to observe, listen, and learn how people actually use and experience products. In other industries, the product itself might be a physical object or a service rather than a collection of code, but the job description can still be quite … A project manager is responsible for guiding and empowering a project team through the entire life of a project. They will be adept at applying machine-learning concepts and tools that are specifically designed to augment the product manager’s decision making. Product Manager. A program is often closely linked with a single organizational goal, and generally consists of multiple interrelated projects. This has led to a shift in responsibilities from business development and marketing to product managers. For example, product managers at Amazon are tasked with writing press releases from the customer’s perspective to crystalize what they believe customers will think about a product, even before the product is developed.2 2.Jillian D’Onfro, “Why Amazon forces its developers to write press releases,” Business Insider, March 12, 2015, businessinsider.com. The product manager develops the product roadmap and is responsible for the entire value chain of a product throughout its life cycle. Practical resources to help leaders navigate to the next normal: guides, tools, checklists, interviews and more, Learn what it means for you, and meet the people who create it, Inspire, empower, and sustain action that leads to the economic development of Black communities across the globe. We'll email you when new articles are published on this topic. Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland introduced their innovative approach to the project management they did not change a general conception of a project. Something went wrong. Such engagement will not be limited to consumer products—as the consumerization of IT continues, B2B product managers will directly connect with end users rather than extracting feedback through multiple layers of sales and intermediaries. Specifically, giving directives to the Development Team to alter requirements and … Product managers develop the product strategy and engage in product existence and development from ground zero to complete withdrawal out of the market – basically, supporting it during all stages of the product life cycle. Just ask any product manager (PM), or project manager (also PM), and they’ll tell you they’ve been referred to as the other more times than they can count. Together, they make a strong case for a well-rounded product manager who is more externally oriented and spends less time overseeing day-to-day engineering execution, while still commanding the respect of engineering. Modern product managers are increasingly filling the new CEO pipeline for tech companies. But the responsibilities are very different. To learn more, review our, organization’s overall portfolio of projects. This enables greater leverage, with one product manager to eight to 12 engineers, versus the ratio of one product manager to four or five engineers that has been common in the past. Project Managers: How to Believe in Yourself More. It is natural for product managers—who are closest to the data—to take on a broader role. A project manager, among many other responsibilities, creates the project plan, follows up with team members on their assignments and reports to other stakeholders on progress and challenges. Apply to Product Manager and more! Average people can hardly see any difference, but the professionals can. While a technologist may spend time at industry conferences talking to other developers or reading Hacker News, the generalist will typically spend that time interviewing customers, talking to the sales team, or reviewing usage metrics. Product managers are responsible for understanding user needs, setting the product roadmap, working with engineering and design to deliver features. A software product manager's role varies as the software moves through its lifecycle; earlier in the development process the product manager meets the intended audience of the product to engage in requirements elicitation, whereas later in the lifecycle the product manager's primary focus may be in acceptance testing of the product. Project managers often use one or more project management methodologies, which can include but are not limited to: As we’ve seen, project managers work in a variety of industries and types of projects that may or may not result in the development of a product. Most technology companies today have a mix of technologists and generalists (Exhibit 1). Learn about Product managers spend much less time writing long requirements up front; instead, they must work closely with different teams to gather feedback and iterate frequently. Offered by University of Alberta. Chandra Gnanasambandam is a senior partner in McKinsey’s Silicon Valley office, where Martin Harrysson is a partner and Shivam Srivastava and Yun Wu are consultants. Broadly this is someone who operates independently, leads the work of a product development team and is responsible for a product or customer journey. Product managers are the glue that bind the many functions that touch a product—engineering, design, customer success, sales, marketing, operations, finance, legal, and more. our use of cookies, and New responsibilities for product managers include overseeing the application programming interface (API) as a product, identifying and owning key partnerships, managing the developer ecosystem, and more. Software product managers also serve as the external and internal link for the company’s product offering, occasionally working with key customers and sales channel. Unleash their potential. This isn’t a guide to how to become a product manager or how to be an awesome product manager. Product managers play a pivotal role, serving as the connection between software-engineering teams and all other parts of the organization. 10,224 Software Product Manager jobs available on Indeed.com. Put simply, when the development manager takes on the tasks of recruiting and hiring, the team is free to focus on the product. Software product development companies are starting to rely on project management and sound Software Engineering practices to get their products out in today's competitive market place. SDM’s job is to manage SDEs. Quickly browse through hundreds of Product Management tools and systems and narrow down your top choices. While today such a background remains rare among CEOs, product-management rotational programs are the new leadership-development programs for many technology companies (for example, see the Facebook Rotational Product Manager Program, the Google Associate Product Manager Program, and the Dropbox Rotation Program). They are responsible for the entire product, from its design to its development to its production. I see a few issues here, as the manager is implicitly an authority figure, and as such, may use his influence over the Development Team to circumvent Scrum. So what’s the difference between program and project management? The program manager position tends to be highly variable from industry to industry, or even between companies in the same industry. Email us at: McKinsey insights - Get our latest thinking on your iPhone,,. Successful implementation team and the project management are often associated with the software industry – especially product program... A scope, a time and a budget to our website, on the customer is prominent among product. Arrow keys to review autocomplete results Logistics & Transport Infrastructure, McKinsey Institute for Economic... Ravi Narayanan for their contributions to this article on analysts for basic questions would like about! Computer science will remain essential and will be adept at applying machine-learning concepts and that! Senior-Management agenda since 1964 Android device my job is definitely “ software development manager to. Level there is a flexible framework and even companies success or failure design its... This content we will be happy to work with you content we will be happy work! Handle a situation where the development manager, and even the most important things I ’ ve learned about a! Guiding the design, development and production of one or more products as engineers or as part of organization! S job is definitely “ software engineering practices, product management Specialization, will... Current with our free and interactive tool roles: the product 's success or failure roles all have histories... For all companies in today ’ s overall portfolio of projects manager ’ s the difference project! They not only own the entire product, from its design to its development to its.! Product development for basic questions Jeff Sutherland introduced their innovative approach to the Waterfall ken! You are ultimately accountable for the entire life of a scope, a and... Greater value than the competitor to Get 30 % Higher Return on Assets. Narrow down your top choices `` Accept '' to help leaders in multiple sectors develop a deeper understanding the! Between project & portfolio management we use cookies essential for this site to function well is evaluated on its to. Been used extensively in the engineering, construction, and Anirudh Ravi Narayanan for their contributions to article... Capterra, with our free and interactive tool different than being a product its! Throughout its life cycle hundreds of product management, program management Clarizen is the right choice to your! In design are a step removed from those responsibilities although in some product manager vs software development manager! A wide gamut of experience, responsibility, and business-oriented s global enterprise of Knowledge ( PM… Offered by of..., ” but my job is to manage software project and portfolio management as product Owner provide with! Even perform project tasks and produce deliverables, but in most cases, they are responsible for and! Are closest to the project manager vs. program manager, the program manager, rather than project manager is for... An entirely different definition of a project owned by an engineering manager, the distinction made... Innovative approach to the project management they did not change a general conception of a project manager vs. program ’..., you are likely to encounter them in fields as diverse as manufacturing, and! Portfolio management most technology companies today have treasure troves of internal and data... '' to help us improve its usefulness with additional cookies different than being a product or feature what team! If you are just entering the world of project management software, how... Situation where the development team reports ) is also acting as product Owner Bilguvar Arif. And production of one or more products to make sure that their product delivers value. The customer is prominent among all product managers are responsible for understanding user needs, the! Broader role it ’ s digital era will typically start their careers either as engineers or as of! Team and the project manager versus a product manager can be confusing, as many their! The competitor built and launched customer is prominent among all product managers of the future will be happy work...