The notion of product is important in Scrum. Many qualify it as a product development approach rather than a project management framework. The product owner role is responsible that the production of the Scrum team meets the requirements of the customers and deliver value for the organization. This role is often compared to the role of product manager. In his article “Mapping the Product Manager Role to the Product Owner Role”, Sriramasundararajan Rajagopalan discusses if a product manager is the same as a product owner.
Sriramasundararajan Rajagopalan starts his article by presenting the responsibilities of the product manager in the product development activities based on the RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) approach. The same matrix is build for the product owner. The conclusion of these two analyses is that Scrum adds much more accountability to the product owner role compared to the product manager role. Sriramasundararajan Rajagopalan think that there is a conflict between the main focus of the product manager that is on market research and product strategies and the requirements of the product owner role that need to collaborate heavily with the Scrum team. How can the same person have enough time perform successfully these two activities, especially in organizations where the product manager not only manages one product but a suite of products within a product portfolio?
The conclusion of the article is that “It is evident that the traditional product manager may be pressed to manage the expectations of the external client and address the questions for the internal teams if he or she is expected to switch over to the responsibilities of a Scrum product owner. When organizations require key opinion leaders (KOLs) who currently serve as product managers to take on the product owner roles espoused by Scrum, then these organizations need to not only redefine the responsibilities of product manager but also create the product owner role for Scrum to succeed.”